Czech Republic beer was first brewed more than five thousand years ago, a fact not many beer fans are aware of. More than fifteen different kinds of beer were brewed in that time period, a fact the rest of the world didn't know until the early twentieth century. The discovery came from deciphered Sumerian clay tablets, and even though some historians often reject the accuracy of these translations, many others believe them to be true. Some evidence points to harvests of hops—used in the beer-making process—dating back to the first century and exportation of those very hops happening less than fifty years later. All this points to the well-known fact that many breweries in the Czech Republic create award winning beer that is shipped, literally, all over the world.
The very first brewery in the Czech Republic was opened in the town of Cerhenice in the Bohemia region in 1118 AD. The famous Saz Czech hops owe their name to the city of Zatec, the main hop-growing district in the Czech Republic in northwestern Bohemia. Lower in the alpha acids adhumulone and cohumulone than traditional hop varieties, and also lower in the stronger beta acids colupone and lupulone, Czech hops are richer in resins, tannins and fragrant oils, creating a much more appealing taste for beer drinkers. Czech Republic beer also owes its fine taste to the expert barley malting process refined over the centuries. A sweeter, more delicate flavor with a clean aftertaste is the result of this barley in the final Czech beer products. Moravia, particularly the Hanna District, is the biggest area cultivating barley in the nation.
Plzen is the original home of Pilsen beer, or as many know it, Pilsener Urquell. One of the most famous breweries in Czech Republic is in Plzen where tours of the facility can take up an entire day after tasting, exploring and learning the history behind it all. Plzen Brewery Museum recounts the history behind Czech Republic beer. The building itself is a fifteenth-century malthouse and home to the Prazdroj Brewery. A tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery is essential for beer enthusiasts in Plzen. A tour through the brewhouse offers a look at the "Hall of Fame," coopers' workshop, the beer cellars, and a final stop for some serious beer tasting. Dining at the onsite restaurant offers a chance to pair great Czech cuisine with terrific beer.
Czech Republic is also home to the very first budweiser made in Budweis in the Bohemian region. It is brewed in the Budweiser Budvar Brewery and shipped all around the world. The record for per capita beer consumption, not so surprisingly, goes to the Czech Republic where more than 281 pints are consumed annually by each person. Coming in second to Plzen for best breweries in the Czech Republic is Ceske Budejovice. The town has been brewing Czech beer since the thirteenth century, where kings imbibed inside magnificent castles across the lands. The largest number of Czech beer craftsman still reside in Bohemia where the best conditions remain for executing the finest brews in the nation.
Brewery tours throughout the Czech Republic are not a new thing. Czech beer is considered a solid element of Czech culture, and it is through visitors experiencing this fundamental part of the nation's culture that they begin to understand how very important Czech Republic breweries are. There are literally scores upon scores of breweries in the Czech Republic. Many a Czech brewery can be found throughout the distinct regions of Moravia, Bohemia, and Sumava. Prague, Plzen and Ceske Budejovice are three famous cities brewing a variety of incredible Czech beer and are each a star of their own region. Most of the best Czech beer can be found in areas coinciding with many other major attractions, making a Czech Republic beer tour an easy way to hit many hotspots while enjoying some tried and true brews.