Pub Review

U Sumavy The Charm of Retro Czech Style and Timeless Beer

   
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With one foot in the door, guests are greeted with the most welcome site a pub could have; 11 impressive and shiny taps. Of the 11 beers on tap, 7 pour a rotating selection of regional microbrews, and 4 always serve Budvar 12° pale lager, Pilsner Urquell, Albrecht 10° pale lager, and our favorite, Černá Svině, Černokostelecký Pivovár’s phenomenal dark 13° lager.

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We love their dark lager. It starts with a wonderful aroma of toffee and caramel, and is well hopped, nicely balancing the sweetness of the rich body, which again has notes of caramel. There’s even a tiny bit of smoked character to this beer as well, adding further to its complexity. A dark lager like this is remarkable and no small accomplishment, especially in a world that’s currently got a taste more for IPAs than old school styles that Czechs brew best.

U Šumavy certainly has that authentic retro Czech charm. Decorated with antique plaques, portraits, photos, old beer coasters, bureaucratic documents and Czech advertisements, U Šumavy’s decor spans everything from the days of Franz Joseph to the turbulent 1980s. A labyrinth of old style rooms, all adorned with hand stamped ‘wallpaper’ and humble wooden tables and chairs, U Šumavy is a spacious pub, with a devout following of local beer lovers and happy tourists.

To accompany your beers, U Šumavy has a hearty menu of Czech specialities. In the back you’ll find a fridge displaying tasty little jars of their beer snacks (think cheese marinated in oil, pickled sausages, and pâtés). Their menu is quite diverse, but one thing is clear; meat’s the name of the game.  Deer meat, a huge array of pork dishes, and Czech specialties like tartar steak, roast duck and svíčková are all on the menu. For meatless dishes, they have a fried cheese platter and a salad with goat cheese. Frequently on the weekends, U Šumavy has special menus celebrating a Czech holiday or other occasion, which are often a bargain for your wallet.

U Šumavy is a unique pub because it’s operated by the same folks who run Černokostelecký Pivovar (and two other similar restaurants, U Vodoucha and U Slovanské Lípy, both equally good) which is a special Czech brewery for a number of reasons; they brew the old school Czech way, making lovely beers with genuine passion and conviction. Černokostelecký Pivovar hosts various festivals and other beer themed events at their brewery, which is located in the village of Kostelec nad Černými Lesy half way between Prague and Kutná Hora.

If lagers are your choice of beer for an evening, U Šumavy should be on your list of pubs to visit since at least half of the beer on tap are usually lagers. Their tap selection also includes ales, but not as dominantly as many multi-tap Prague pubs.

Service might seem a little gruff at first, but they’ve got some hustle where it counts; you won’t be thirsty for long. Don’t expect smiles, but as those of you acquainted with Czech service know, if a frowning or expressionless server is the only problem, well it could be much worse. And their staff does warm up to locals and repeat customers, even those with simple Czech.

On any given visit, you’ll find families, friends having a celebratory meal, lone gents reading tabloids, or a patron snoozing over a half-drunk mug of pale lager. Diversity is what makes Czech pubs such a unique place and prove that beer is truly a unifying force.

Located almost on the corner of Štěpánská and Ječná 6,7,10,13,16, and 22 to the stop Štěpánská. The metro stations and I.P. Pavlova and Karlovo Náměstí are also about a 5 minute walk away in either direction.

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Beers on Tap

Beer name Strength Brewery Style
Černá svině 13° tmavý speciál 13° Černokostelecký Pivovár Lager
Matuška Apollo Galaxy 13° Matuška Ale
Albrecht 10° 10° Albrecht Lager
Beer Factory Nevada Ale 11° Beer Factory Ale
Lucky Bastard Moravia 12° 12° Lucky Bastard Lager
Pilsner Urquell 12° Pilsner Urquell Lager
Budějovický Budvar Svetlý Ležák 12° Budvar Lager
These are some of the different beers that U Sumavy had on tap on our visit.

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