In the Czech Republic, people take their beer (pivo) seriously. Supposedly, the Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than any other country in the world. It’s easy to understand why when beer is cheaper than water here. I always heard this saying, but never believed it to be true until I came to Prague. Over here, they actually charge customers for water while beer has a whopping 30 Crown price tag (equivalent to $1.50 in the US). Another interesting thing about the Czech Republic is that there are no open container laws. It’s not uncommon to see couples walking through the park sipping on their pivo.
I guess the Czech’s serious devotion to beer is what makes the Pilsner Urquell Brewery so interesting. Their history of beer making dates back hundreds of years and they have perfected it along the way. Personally, Pilsner Urquell on draft is my favorite beer. However, the bottled pilsners in the US don’t even stand a chance.
Our class was lucky enough to take a stop in Plzeň, in order to experience the Pilsner Urquell Brewery tour. We learned what it takes to make the perfect batch of beer… yeast, hops, barley, and soft voda (water). After learning about the beer making process, and walking through the chilly 5 degree Celsius fermenting cellars, we got to taste our own unfiltered and unpasteurized beer straight from their oak barrels. I can’t say that it was the tastiest, but we made sure to stop for some normal filtered pilsner’s before we left town. I’m glad we traveled to Plzeň, the heart of the Czech Republic’s favorite beer, because here beer is not only a beverage, but also a culture in itself.