Pilsner Urquell: Czech Republic’s favorite brewery

Photo by casadaphoto
Photo by casadaphoto

Pilsner Urquell: Czech Republic’s favorite brewery

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

In 1842, Bavarian brewer Josef Groll put Pilsen on the map for what would soon become a world-famous beer style, pilsner. This pale lager is brewed at the Pilsner Urquell, a veritable beer lover's mecca. Quench your curiosity for the Czech Republic’s famous export and take a tour through the Gambrinus brewery or the underground storage cellars for an inside look at what goes into this popular beer.

The Gambrinus Brewery tour lasts two hours and features a newly opened tour called “How Beer is Brewed.” Sample beer that is still maturing and visit the historical open fermentation room on this in-depth look at the multitude of creativity used to make beer.

The Brewery Museum tour will take you into an authentic brewhouse from the 15th century. Learn about the city of Pilsen itself, see the smallest jug in the world and marvel at the Gothic malt house. This adults-only experience will educate you about the local brewing industry.

Visit one of the largest historical underground systems in Central Europe on the Pilsen Historical Underground tour. In 50 minutes, you’ll explore some of the eight-plus miles of corridors while almost 39 feet below the surface where some of the beer is stored.

For a more in-depth look at brewing and a great group trip, book a four-hour “Journey of a Brewery Apprentice” experience. During this time, you’ll be in the historic cellars practicing traditional brewing trades. Learn the skills of an iceman, cooper, malt house worker, beer tapper or cellar master and find out which one would have suited you. Compete against your friends for the best brew of the day (minimum 15 people)!

Once you’ve had your fill of beer, venture out into the town and explore this Bohemian gem. The Republic Square is home to Gothic and Renaissance buildings. The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew boasts the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic. Another impressive structure is the Great Synagogue, one of two remaining in this city. It is the third largest synagogue in Europe and is both a place of worship and a concert hall. If you have children with you, head to the Pilsen Zoo where almost 1200 species are represented. Wine lovers don’t have to feel like they’ve missed out either, because you can hit up the Bohemia Sekt Winery that is in its seventh decade of producing sparkling wine.

Spend some time learning about world-famous pilsner beer right at the source. Sample the Pilsner Urquell Nefiltrovany flavor and compare it to the various other European beer you’ve tried. Learn about the craft of brewing, then spend the rest of the day enjoying the town. From quenching your thirst for beer to taking in the historical sights, Pilsen is full of entertainment.

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