The history of Purkmister brewery goes back a long way. Beginning in the year 1341, Purkmistr was first brewed in the town of Domazlice in the Sumava Region of the Czech Republic. Therefore, this beer was first called ‘Domazlice’, and this brewery in Domazlice is the oldest in Bohemia. In the more recent past, this brewery fell under hard times, and greatly deteriorated. In 1996 Purkmistr moved to Cernice, a suburb of Pilsen, and began to build what you can experience today- arguably some of the Czech Republic’s best beer, in a top class facility that promotes beer tourism.
Today, Purkmistr still uses traditional Czech recipes. The high quality of the ingredients are extremely important, and you can easily taste this in your beer. Several different types of the highest quality malted barley, and the famous hops from the Zatec region, are normally used in their beer. Their brewing process also calls for soft Pilsen water, which has been an important ingredient in making Pilsner Urquell famous for over a century and a half.
Purkmistr uses a traditional process and a 2-3 mash technique. One batch takes 12 hours. The next step happens in the brewery cellars. Here, the main fermentation takes place in open fermentation vats for 7-9 days. During this phase, alcohol forms, and carbon dioxide is released. After this, yeast settles in the bottom of the vats and the beer is pumped into 13 lager tanks, where it ‘lagers’ for one month. This phase can be longer for speciality beers.
Purkmister’s brewing process uses 2 to 3 types of Zatec hops. The most important of these hops is ‘Zatecky polorany cervenak’ (Zatec semi-precocious red) a variety which is more than 500 years old. To ensure the optimal color and flavor of individual types of beer, the malts are mixed in precisely balanced proportions.
All beer is brewed on the premises, and even in the restaurant. In the back of the restaurant, there are 2 large copper mashers, which are currently used.
All Purkmistr beer is unfiltered and unpasteurised- which allows the beer to keep all of its natural nutrients. This gives each beer that extremely ‘fresh’ taste, making it unique among other types of Pilsner. You’ll also notice that Purkmistr beers are all slightly cloudy, and less clear than other beers- again, this is because they aren’t pasteurized or filtered. This beer is even ‘healthy’; it contains high levels of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin B complex, so drink up!
These are the beers we got to try on our visit:
Purkmistr is a large complex, centering around a top quality brewery, which includes a 4 star hotel, an excellent restaurant, a bowling alley, and facilities for conferences and banquets. Purkmistr is located in Selska Naves, a peaceful area a bit south of Pilsen in the suburb of Cernice. There is also the possibility to have massages, and buy different ‘relax’ packages. For example, they have a holiday package for bicyclists who also enjoy beer. Located in the center of Pilsen is the Wellness Center Gondola, where you can privately rent their sauna and whirlpool.
At the hotel, secure parking is available, and LAN/WIFI internet connections. Bowling is available a good price, and up to 8 people can bowl on each of their 3 lanes.
Drinking beer at Purkmistr is a must, as well as trying some fine Czech food. So, be prepared to eat and drink a lot, but save some energy and time for enjoying some other things at Purkmistr. You can also go a brewery tour, and learn a bit about beer brewing. The brewery tours, which are extremely informative, are offered in both Czech and English. During this tour, you’ll see where they make beer, as well as sample two kinds, and have a chance to try some barley, which is quite tasty.
If you’d like to try some sport while drinking beer, Purkmistr has a nice bowling alley. If you want to do some more active sports, the area surrounding Purkmistr is great for cycling, just ask the reception about bike trails or renting bikes. You can also go horse riding in the area, as well as hiking. There is also a lot to do and see in Plzen. And, if you need to relax, consider going to the Gondola Wellness Center, where you can have a sauna, and relax in a whirlpool. Be sure to book this in advance- it’s quite popular. Purkmistr can also arrange massages for you, which are great and very affordable.
In their restaurant, they always have on tap Svetly Lezak 12° (light beer), Tmavy 12° (dark beer), Polotmavy 12° (semi-dark), Pisar 12° (wheat) beer, and Radni 14° (a special stronger beer). On 2 taps, they have special beers, such as pumpkin, cherry, or cappuccino. These special beers might sound odd, but they are defiantly worth a try. There isn’t a brewery that does such a fantastic job of balancing unusual flavors with the best tastes of traditional beers. For a complete and current list, see their website. They also sell bottled beers in the hotel lobby.
Not only can you drink fantastic beer at Purkmistr, but also eat well. As mentioned, Purkmistr restaurant has a large variety of beers on tap, so you’ll surely have an enjoyable time finding a good beer to go with your food. If you’re interested in trying all their beer, they offer ‘a flight’ which includes all of the beers available on tap. This is a unique restaurant, serving some of the best Czech cuisine Prague BeerGarden has ever tried.
They have an extensive menu, and serve mainly Czech food, but also some more international dishes. Sadly, during our visit it was only possible to eat so much….but everything we ate was delicious. The soups are hearty and thick. Their ‘nakladany hermelin’ or pickled cheese is excellent, and truly authentic. The pikeperch tastes fresh. Their ‘Purkmistr Bread Burger’ is one of the best Czech creations- they’ve done an excellent job of taking an American classic, and completely turning it into something Czech, and delicious. The beef steaks are fantastic and cooked to perfection. You can try Czech specials, like goulash, svickova (beef in a cream sauce), roasted pork knee, duck, and deer. There are also a large number of vegetarian dishes, and a children’s menu.
The service is great too. The waiters are friendly, pleasant, and professional. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations. This restaurant is incredibly popular among the people of Pilsen, and considering the large number of guests of the hotel, it’s quite possible that it could be full.
Plzen is Czech Republic’s 4th largest city. It’s located about an hour west of Prague by car. Plzen is probably most well known as the birth place of the special beer type ‘pilsner’. Plzensky Prazdroj, the largest brewery in the Czech Republic, is located in the center of the city, brewing their world famous Pilsner Urquell. However, Plzensky Prazdroj is not the only great beer brewed in Plzen. Gambrinus, another popular Czech beer, is brewed right next door to Pilsner Urquell. Plzen has a zoo, Synagogue, historic churches, and is also home of Škoda Investment. If you’re a fan of out door sports, the area is full of great cycling paths, hiking, fishing, and horse riding.
Getting to Plzen from Prague is quite easy, and you have many options- train, (which leaves Prague quite often everyday), or bus, which is also offered by many different companies, and leaves prague often too. For example, you can take a Student Agency bus from Zlicin, the end station on the B Metro line, which is quite cheap, and takes about an hour. Once you arrive in Pilsen, have a look at a map- you need to take bus #13 to the Southern suburb of Cernice, and get off at the stop ‘General Lisky’. Here, you’ll see a sign pointing down the hill. Walk about 10 minutes, and the brewery is on your left.
Travel links (Czech Republic)
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