With the growth of industrialization that enveloped Prague in the late 1800’s, a large population of workers thirsty for a refreshing beverage after a hard day’s work set the stage for the foundation of Staropramen. Today, Staropramen remains one of the most recognizable, widely distributed Czech lagers, filling super-market shelves and pub taps across the world. Naturally, visiting their new Visitors Center and learning a bit about this Prague lager tops the list of things to do when in Prague.
When you decide to take a Staropramen tour, your experience will take place in the Staropramen Visitors Center. Located within their brewery complex on Nádražní street in Smíchov, this newly built, high tech Visitors Center is more of an exhibition about Staropramen beer than a tour. Lasting about 35 minutes, you walk through about 4 rooms, beginning with facts about the founding of Staropramen, the brewing process, and lastly bottling and shipping. To make the tour dynamic, there are swiftly appearing videos, a wide range of sound effects, holograms, and all sorts memorabilia to catch your interest. The character of Josef Paspa, the famous brewer who modernized Staropramen’s brewing process, essentially becomes your tour guide, popping up through the exhibition and delivering facts in a grandfather-like voice.
In the first room, you’ll have a chance to learn about the historical foundation of Staropramen. Next, you meet Josef Paspa, the legendary brewer, and see the brewmaster’s office. The 3rd room is where the process of brewing is explained, as well as some basic info about the ingredients used. In this room, there are copper mashers and kettles, as well as some samples of ingredients like hops and barley. The facts about beer brewing are delivered in an easy to understand manner, which is also informative. Lastly, you’ll see the beer production line and learn about beer shipping logistics.
Overall, this tour is an informative experience. All the information is easily understood, and not heavy with beer making jargon. One disadvantage is that the tour is timed. If you’re too slow, or want to have a second look, the lights fade out when it’s time to move on. To clarify, during this tour, you do not enter the brewery itself. This is more of an educational exhibition in Staropramen’s Visitors Center.
Possibly the most enjoyable part of the tour is the end- which involves you choosing which mug of Staropramen’s brew you’d like to sip in their very classy Visitor Center’s pub. This pub serves the best Staropramen in all of the city, in a new, but still traditional Czech pub. Decorated with old memorabilia, and manned by knowledgable and talented staff, all the Staropramen beers are on tap. This beer is also included in the price of your ticket.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Prague, and quite a few hotels are located around the Staropramen brewery, in the neighborhoods of Anděl and Smíchov. However, Smíchov is in general not the the nicest of neighborhoods to stay in.
Staropramen’s in-house brewery restaurant, Na Verandách is a contemporary Czech pub with all of Staropramen’s beers on tap. Serving traditional Czech cuisine, as well more continental European dishes, this large restaurant is a member of the Potrefená Husa restaurant chain, which you can find all over Prague and the Czech Republic. The quality of food at Na Verandách, like all Potrefená Husa restaurants, is decent, but not exceptional. The portions tend to be on the smaller size, and the prices are more than the average Czech restaurant. Their menu is quite diverse- almost anyone can find something to suit their tastes. For a beer snack, they’ve got appetizers like fried stuffed peppers, chicken wings, and Czech classics like nakládaný hermelín. For main courses, they serve goulash, svíčková (beef in a cream sauce), traditional Czech duck, as well as pasta dishes and salads. Well staffed, the service is quick, but sometimes a bit cold. With over 200 seats, there is a smoking as well as non-smoking section, and a pleasant garden in the summer.
How to get there
Staropramen Brewery and visitors center are located on Nádražní street, and the closest tram stop is Na Knížecí. One stop from the metro station Anděl, take trams 6, 20, 14, or 12. The entrance of the visitors center is on Pivovarská street, which is perpendicular to Nádražní street.
Travel links (Czech Republic)