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BeerTalk

24 Days of Czech Beer Culture Our Very Own Christmas Calendar

   
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This Christmas season, we’ll post each day about a special part of Czech beer culture that we love. Whether a pub, microbrewery, or beer, it’s something brings us, and we hope others, great joy. Our list will culminate on Christmas Eve with our vote for the best pub in Prague.

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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.

December 11th: For today’s Christmas Calendar post, we venture to the hills of Prague 6 and Břevnovský Klášter’s taproom, located in the old monastery’s former granary. If drinking and dining in historic Czech places is your thing, a trip to this charming monastery and small park is well worth it. The monastery (and most likely a brewery) was founded in 993, and almost all the subsequent landmarks of Czech history bear witness in the surrounding stone walls. Their taps pour classics such as their lovely dark lager, pale lager, IPA, Imperial lager, plus they’ll have a few other bottles of seasonal specialties to try. You can purchase all of these in bottles to take home for a humbling price. Getting in the holly jolly mood with Czech beer and history is one box to tick for 2018!

December 12th: Our 12th post celebrates a taste of Bavarian culture with Vinohrady’s Dno Pytle. Translating to ‘the bottom of the bag’ in English, this pub has some better surprises than what you might find in Santa’s bag. A quaint pub with robust wooden furniture, a menu of sausages upon sausages, and decorated with Bavarian flags and memorabilia, Don Pytle is a great choice if you’d like to sample some beers brewed across the German boarder. The owner makes a point of traveling westward to small Bavarian and Franconian towns to bring back to Prague some of the finest local microbrews. Among Dno Pytle’s 8 taps, you’ll also find Czech microbrew classics like Raven and Hendrych, with a few fridges of Czech and German bottled craft beer. Jovial and slightly on the rowdy side, the atmosphere is always lively.

December 13th: Today’s Christmas Calendar post brings us to Štěpánská street and the bustling pub of U Šumavy. With a home tap for Černá Svině, a lovely example of Czech dark lagers at their best, and located just a 10 minute walk from Václavské Náměstí, U Šumavy is a great place to drink and dine when you’re in the center and you’d like something authentic and normally priced. 11 shiny bronze taps grace the entrance way, with 8 of those pouring a rotating selection of regional microbrews. Hand-stamped wall paper and sturdy wooden furniture take you back to the First Republic, a time of booming breweries and honorable presidents (unlike now). The food is hearty and humble, and is just what Mr.Claus needs to plumpen up for his big night out. 

December 14th: For today’s Christmas Calendar post, we’ve chosen our company Bohemian Brews Beer Tasting Tours because we’re proud of what we do and believe that we give the most genuine and culturally rich beer experiences in this city. We’re here because we love two things: beer and people. Our most important goal is to build enthusiasm and awareness of local microbreweries, so that when our guests return to their homes, they give that small brewer a chance. Drinking brews from small scale microbreweries supports families that are doing something because of their love and dedication, just like us. One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of our job is seeing people come together, sharing in one of the world’s oldest beverages. Our team is made up of lovable individuals that are unique and each bring something new to the table, and we’re honored to work with them. So this Christmas, we’ve got a lot to be grateful for…our customers, who keep us going, our microbrew partners, and our awesome team.

December 15th: Like many eager children across the world right now, we’ll be counting down the upcoming days till Christmas by revealing one of our top 10 favorite things about Czech beer culture. So today, for #10, we’ll pay homage to Pilsner Urquell and Lokál U Bílé Kuželky.

A perfectly poured Pilsner Urquell is a beautiful thing. Even in Prague, as many have tasted, the quality of Pilsner Urquell varies greatly across taps and many do not do this iconic beer justice. So that’s why when in need of a thirst quenching and smooth authentic Pilsner, we love Lokál U Bílé Kuželky. The food ain’t bad either. Old school Czech cuisine has made a resurgence here, thankfully, and Lokál has led the way with their soups, sauces, and sausages. There’s a reason why lagers are the world’s most popular beer style, and this Pilsner is it. If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating history of Pilsner Urquell and lagers, our Malá Strana Beer Tasting Tour is a great way to taste your way through Czech beer history. Not a bad gift idea or Christmas wish for someone planning a trip to Prague!

December 16th: We’re counting down the days in our Christmas Calendar with our #9 Top 10 post, a beloved classic. Sousedský Pivovar Bašta is an institution of fresh Czech lagers and scrumptious duck in the neighborhood of Nusle and Náměstí Bratří Synků. Even since the pub has expanded long ago from its one room, this cozy brew pub is almost always packed. 8 taps pour 3 beers brewed in house (a pale, amber, and dark, with the amber being their speciality) and the rest are either Czech microbrews or Belgian classics. Steaming plates of old school Czech classics that Santa would happily choose over milk and cookies like chicken heart goulash, roasted duck leg, and schnitzel with potato salad float out of the kitchen in the hands of scurrying waiters. An added bonus, even Scrooge wouldn’t mind Bašta’s prices!

December 17th: For #8 of our Christmas Calendar Top 10, we’ve chosen a place where Santa should most certainly load up his sack full of goodies- Lenta’s legendary beer shop, Base Camp. This tiny shop is jammed packed with beers at some of the best prices in Prague. Fridge after fridge lines the walls, and where you don’t see a fridge, you’ll find crate upon crate full of bottles. The selection is fantastic; they’ve got every main Czech microbrewery, plus lots of regional breweries that no one else stocks. Base Camp also has a nice international selection, and again, the prices are great. Service is knowledgeable too. Two draw backs are the limited seating (unless the room dedicated to Michael Jackson is open), and there’s no beer on tap. Regardless, it’s a good place to stop for a few last minute gifts.

December 18th: Our #7 in our Top 10 Christmas Calendar is a small flying microbrewery that began just 2 years ago, Černý Potoka. This small microbrewery, run by a talented and humble gentleman we’ve had the pleasure to meet, specializes in American style hop-forward ales. Even as New England IPAs have taken Czech taps and shop shelves by storm, very few consistently showcase hops as the authentic American versions do. Černý Potoka’s Cloud Scanner should be on every devout NEIPA drinker’s to do list. It’s just like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, opaque and hazy, and extremely aromatic. Černý Potoka’s other ales are also consistently excellent, and whenever we see them, we always order a glass because we know we won’t be disappointed, despite actually not being say the most devout of hop-heads. Regardless of your beer tastes, this is contemporary Czech microbrew culture at its finest.

December 19th: The #6 in our Christmas Calendars top 10 is just a stone’s throw from the Charles Bridge in Malá Strana, Roesel. Hidden down a passage way, this pleasant cafe offers respite from the thick crowds with its cozy atmosphere and refreshment via their 3 taps of beer from the microbrewery Clock. Service is always stellar, their beer served in good shape, and they also make a nice Cup o’ Joe. Roesel also specializes in cakes and serves a changing menu of tapas style snacks, weekend brunch, and food centered events. One of the few places in the area that locals happily go.

December 20th: The days are dwindling till Christmas arrives, and today the #5 post of our Christmas Calendar is found on top of Krymská street, Bad Flash. This bustling bar serves a tantalizing selection of Czech craft microbrews, plus a fine selection of beers from abroad. Behind their bar, you’ll notice nicely stocked fridges with an astounding variety of beers from abroad, which are actually affordably priced. The upbeat vibe brings a packed house most nights, and even Santa would agree that Bad Flash is one of the few places serving good beers in Prague with a hip atmosphere.

December 21st: Cobolis  Our #4 Christmas Calendar post is a newcomer on the block, Cobolis. This pivovar among the panelaky currently brews some of the best lagers in the city, with their 10; and 12; showcasing that lovely Czech malt body and hoppy Saaz character that makes Czech lagers so dangerously drinkable. Their ales, so far, are nicely done as well; the styles we’ve tried have   been properly hopped and true to form, accomplishing so far what few microbreweries do well here. And for those of us on the look out for some good Czech eats, the cuisine at Pivovar Cobolis is hearty and delicious, and wallet friendly. A hop and skip from Prague’s people packed center, take the red line to metro station Ladvi and Pivovar Coblis is just above.

December 22nd: With Christmas just around the corner, #3 of our Christmas Calendar takes us to our favorite local microbrewery, Vinohradský Pivovar. There are few places in Prague that we so easily and happily recommend to our guests for an authentic Czech meal and beer. Service is always friendly and we like how their menu changes with the seasons. Since their lagers are brewed just steps away from your seat, they have that unique freshness that makes the best of Czech lagers so irresistible. They’ve expanded their house brews to include more top fermented styles and their stout suits this time of year perfectly. The charm of drinking and dining in a microbrewery never gets old! 

December 23rd: Bridging the world between wine and beer and #2 of our Christmas Calendar, we venture to the Moravian town of Mikulov and the brewery Wild Creatures. Reflecting the environment around her, brewer Jitka Ilčíková powers her brews with the wild yeasts from her environment and found on the fruit she harvests from her family farm, be it grapes, apricots, or cherries. A vintner by training, all of Jitka’s beers are spontaneously fermented, which is an exciting rarity in this neck of the woods. Jitka also has put Czech Republic on the map of spontaneous and wild beers here in Europe, which is no easy feat. We’re already looking forward to tasting what her 2019 bottles hold!

December 24: The top spot in our Christmas Calendar goes to our favorite addition to Prague’s beer scene, Prague Beer Spot. Newly opened this autumn, this cozy pub offers a well curated selection of Czech and international craft beer, both on tap and in their fridges. The staff is a lovable bi-lingual team of beer experts and are always happy to recommend or share their beer knowledge with a curious ear. We love the tasteful, classy interior, especially the art deco details. Their kitchen, despite currently having a small menu, serves a rarity in Prague - authentic (and amazing!) halušky. They’re working on expanding their food menu, and we’re quite eager to see what they can cook up. A very welcome addition to Malá Strana, and a spot we’ll be frequenting in 2019. We’d like to thank our readers and we hope our Christmas Calendar was inspiring to anyone planning a trip to Prague. Merry Christmas to one and all!

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