December 1st: To get this Christmas season off to a cheery start, our first Christmas favorite is Únětický Vánoční Special, now out on beer shop shelves and in some pubs. Like a velvety ginger bread pudding Christmas dessert, this beer could be paired with many Christmasy dishes and cookies, and could make even the Grinchiest of folk love Christmas.
December 2nd: Our second Christmas Advent Calendar post is one of our favorite eating establishments, Letná's Mr. Hotdog. American cuisine never tasted better, especially with a cold, crisp, and buttery Vinohradská 11 pale lager to cut the grease. Anything with that amount of melted cheddar on it rocks anytime (thinking of the various basket o' fries). Their sliders are our favorite burger hands down in this city, and you can't beat the dogs and their flavourful toppings.
December 3rd: Our 3rd Christmas Calendar post is a favorite neighborhood eatery that feels like home. When you want something different to pair with your pale lager, Arepas De Lyna serves up delicious homemade Venezuelan cuisine alongside chilled mugs of Únětický 10; and 12. Our favorites are their fried plantains, and con todo arepas (a corn tortilla filled with a creamy chicken salad), and the cheese empanada is a hit with our tiny tot. If you’re lucky enough to visit when live music is playing, you’ll be for sure in good spirits.
December 4th: With that roasty, coffee, and caramel character that so perfectly fits into the Christmas season, we arrive at our 4th post on our Christmas Calendar, Černá Svině, an epic Czech dark lager from the family owned and operated Minipivovar Šnajdr in Kostelec nad Černými Lesy.
It’s got everything you need for this Christmas season; strong notes of coffee intermingling with rich caramel malty tones, and at 13° or around 5.3%, it does make you more jolly. Always on tap at a favorite pub U Šumavy, you can also get bottles of these little piggies to go. If you haven’t tried a Czech dark lager yet, get in touch with your dark side this Christmas season, and you’ll be surprised.
December 5th: Day 5 of our Christmas Calendar brings us to the village of Všeradice, one hour by train southwest of Prague. Home to the microbrewery of Vsěrad, our attention was first caught after sampling many of their pale and amber lagers in our local bottle shop. Hoppy but well balanced and with that unique fresh character that makes Czech lagers so remarkable, they've always been a favorite in our fridge. So we took a trip and were impressed by the charming interior, hearty cuisine, and once again, the lovely lagers. The surrounding nature is perfect for a bike ride or hike, with the promise of heavy duty cuisine and frosty mugs as a reward.
December 6th: Offering respite in the Staropramen soaked hood of Smíchov, we make our way to Ale Bar for our 6th Christmas Calendar post. Operated by a kind team of beer lovin' chaps, Ale Bar has been livening up the beer scene on Prague's Western bank for over a year now. 8 taps pour a selection of Czech microbrews from across the country, and generally, the selection is good. Expect lots of Zihovec, Falkon, Clock, and since they are friends of the Chroust brewery duo, they almost always have their newest beers on tap. But, we do have one Christmas wish for Ale Bar on our list: will you please get rid of those kegs of Krušnohoř and Liberbeer? They're about as fresh and tasty as last year's Christmas cookies.
December 7th: Today for our 7th Christmas Calendar post, we stick close to home with our local beer shop, Galerie Piva. Pavel, the owner, tapster, and die-hard beer enthusiast, is always happy to recommend something new and share his knowledge. His fridges are well stocked with the newest Czech microbrews from Zihovec, Chroust, and Crazy Clown, for example. For fans of easy-drinking-and-no-thinking styles like pale lagers, you can always find a few good ones, like those 1.5 liter bottles of Únětické. Prices are good too. His taps always pour 1 pale lager and 2 new Czech microbrews, so you can sip something while you debate what to stock your fridge with. A good place to shop for the most grinchy of grinches on your list.
December 8th: The 8th day of our Christmas Calendar brings up uphill to the scenic streets of Vinohrady and Once Upon a Beer. This spacious basement pub has 8 taps that pour Czech microbrews as well as craft beer from abroad. Expect Raven and Chroust, as they always have a tap dedicated to each microbrewery. In case you’re in need of sturdier stuff, they have a nice selection of rum and Scotch. Service is amicable, knowledgeable, and English friendly. Tomáš, the owner of Once Upon a Beer, often hosts beer tastings and other beer-centric events, so check their Facebook page or our monthly events calendar for more info. A good spot for a winter warmer in Vinohrady!
December 9th: The small family run flying brewery of Chroust is our 9th Christmas Calendar post. This brewery duo turns out new styles with zeal and always seems to be on the cutting edge of brewing trends. You can find their beers in almost all the good multi-tap pubs these days, and their bottles line many a shop shelf with intriguing flavors and styles. Currently, our favorite is their Champagne Sour, an Imperial Berliner Weisse made with champagne yeast and Müller Thurgau grapes. Their Apple Strudel Brown Ale was festive, and could do nicely with Christmas cookies and other desserts. Not all their beers are brilliant successes, but we admire their ambition and innovation. A bottle or two isn’t a bad gift idea for the curious drinker.
December 10th: Our 10th Christmas Calendar post brings us to our own site, PragueBeerGarden.com, a source of free info in English about Czech beer for tourists and residents alike. We’ve been working on this site almost 10 years, and next year brings new stuff. More writers will join the team and we’ll have a new design. One feature we’re proud of is our handy pub map that points out all the pubs and breweries we’ve reviewed, which is easy to use when you’re out and about searching for a good beer.