The Bohemian side of beer
April 30, 2013
PRAGUE -- In the year 1516, Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria initiated the Bavarian Purity Act, which stated that beer should only be brewed from yeast, barley, hops and water.
This act is one of the reasons that Germany is in the limelight when it comes to the frothy beverage. While no one can argue the rightful superiority of Germans when it comes to brewing, the variety of beer offered can be somewhat lacking.
A hankering for an IPA or a coffee stout can leave a person restless when it comes to finding those beers in Germany.
A quick trip across the border and a visit to the Prague Beer Museum Pub, however, can quell the proclivity for variety. More pub than museum, this establishment offers 30 draft beers on tap ranging from English pale ales to exotic blueberry and chocolate-flavored concoctions.
The revelry is refined as .15-liter samples are delivered to the table in wooden paddles offering a tasting of five beers at a time. While the samples change with the season, the variety will have your palate swimming in ales, porters, stouts and lagers.
A surprising personal winner during a recent tasting was the "Opat Pepper," a refreshing light brew with a strong pepper taste without the bitter aftertaste. Sample the "Kout tmavy" coined "dark as sin" for an explosion of creamy flavor with a caramel aftertaste.
The "Nomad IPA" balances citrus, pine and spicy herbs for a hoppy finish, while the "Opat Chocolate" lager pours dark with an amber head and lacing. Chocolate and malty up front, yet finishing with bitterness makes this beer the perfect after-dinner drink.
But keep in mind, this isn't a place to get drunk, it's an institution for education of the finest beer products offered in the Czech Republic. A visit to this hidden gem allows beer enthusiasts to sample the more obscure and adventurous beers produced locally by smaller Czech brewers.
Outside of the Prague Beer Museum Pub, local pubs and restaurants line the streets offering an array of pilsners, the most famous brew of the region, along with its complimentary sidekick, the Bohemian black lager. (Budvar and Kozel are two popular brands).
Additionally, numerous tourists' organizations run beer tasting tours and pub crawls through the historic city. A quick Google search can point you in the right direction.
Whatever brew you choose, and how you choose to consume it, variety is the spice of life in Prague.
An old Czech proverb states "Kde se pivo vari, tam se dobre dari" (where beer is brewed, they have it good) and while life is good nearly everywhere in the Czech Republic, for the connoisseur, life is better knowing where to go while visiting Prague.