Czechs are literally crazy about beer! Thanks to this czech beer guide you will learn the essentials and all you need to know before getting drunk in Czechia. I spent the whole year living in the magical city of Prague, tasting beers from local breweries. Now, would love to share my knowledge and advices.
Czech beer essential guide
First of all, before you get drunk in Czechia, you need to know about 6 facts about czech beer. You will learn about the beer drinking etiquette in Czechia, which as you can imagine, is important in a beer famous country. Besides, check the unique serving ways according to the beer foam kinds. In a beer culture, not just foam is important, but also the temperature and a proper glass. All these, makes the czech beer quality fantastic and worth discovering.
Czech beer kinds
Czech breweries offer variety kinds of beer. There are 4 main types of beer in Czech republic and hundreds of other types and variations.
The most popular is simple lager, light beer often called Pilsner because first beer of this kind was made in Pilzen – city one hour far from Prague. If you have time don’t hesitate to go there and visit the brewery, try beer straight from the barrel in the brewery’s basement. That brewery makes the most popular beer Pilsner Urquell. The name means something like “the original source of Pilsner”. Around the world you can taste different types of Pilsner type beer. Now you know where the recipe originated from.
Popular in Czech Republic is also dark beer, in Czech: tmavé. Czech people consider it as a girl’s beer because usually it’s sweeter. I also heard sayings that girls drink it because it makes boobs bigger. Well, for the same reason probably many boys don’t even taste it…
Some breweries make “řezané pivo” which is a mixture of half-dark and half-light beer. Is it for boys or girls? Probably it is an option for both. Who knows, maybe it makes bigger something else…
Another popular kind is Pšeničné Pivo – wheat beer – my absolute favorite type. It’s not bitter and very refreshing. Especially in summer, they tend to serve it with a lime.
Exploring breweries you can meet many kinds of special beers for example: pale ale beers IPA and APA, various fruits beers, coffee beer, chocolate beer or even made out of nettles. You can find the strangest tastes possible and what’s importnat, you never get bored with Czech beer. Some places serve small “shot” glasses of beer to give you a bit of few kinds before you decide which one you want to continue with. Isn’t this country amazing?
Czech beer degrees vs. alcohol
Now let’s talk about degrees. Don’t get mistaken with the signs of the beer is you see 12 or 14. It’s not percentage of alcohol. Degrees in Czech beer culture are according to the Balling scale which is a measure of gravity or density on the day the beer was brewed. It’s expressed as a weight percentage of sucrose and is used to indicate the percent by weight of extract (sucrose) in a solution. Enough of theory, now practice.
For instance 10 degree states that a beer is 10 degrees Balling (or Plato scale) and it means that if the extract in solution were 100% sucrose, it would be 10% of the total weight. In the same time higher degree equals higher percentage of alcohol. Respectively a 10 degree beer is about 4% alcohol and a 12 degree is about 5%.
The most popular beer in Czechia is 12 degrees, which is the regular lager. 10 degrees is also lager beer but weaker extract and it’s considered less filling (you can drink more of it). Although 12 has more flavor, extract. Simplifying, 10 degrees is more like a water, where the higher in degrees you go, the more flavor, extract you get. Higher beer degrees are not only stronger in taste but also in the amount of alcohol – 16° is 6.5% alcohol and 19° has 8%. Too complicated? This is centuries old Czech beer culture!
Try them all and let me know about your impression.
Want to know where to drink the best beer in Prague?
Do you like local crafts?
As fan of responsible traveling and sustainability, I like to support local producers, bee-keepers and appreciate regional traditions around the world. When traveling I am trying to buy products from local farmers and manufacturers. I love locally crafted beers, cognac or wines. Buying locally support the region economy, decreases CO2 emission as the products didn’t travel far. Therefore, I highly encourage you to always buy locally!