The saying that ‘hops are our gold’ will be confirmed by locals and visitors alike when they come to taste our nation’s pride and joy.
But where should one go to find the rarest hoppy treasures, to enjoy classic or more quirky flavours, to revere ancient traditions, or a new and inventive approach to brewing? What we have compiled for you is a list of the top ten ranked Central Bohemian breweries, to excite you, with products of the finest quality as well as an honest approach to the craft.
Pivovar Antoš Brewery
When your beer gets written up in books, it has to be something special. And beer from Slaný most definitely is! The renowned historian Bohuslav Balbín recognized this long ago and made a mention of beer brewing in Slaný in his writings ‘Miscellanea from the History of the Czech Kingdom’. The city has been associated with brewing for centuries, and the Antoš family – Ondřej Antoš was active in the field back in 1536 – bring clear confirmation that Slaný was not only a royal city, but also the realm of brewing. It was an important local event when the local Count founded the brewery, which kept running until 1884. Many years later, in 2010, the ancient tradition was revived and the Antoš brewery re-established. The Antoš brewers faithfully follow the craft and knowhow of their ancestors and brew beer only from the highest quality local ingredients.
Minipivovar Němý Medvěd Craft Brewery
The ‘Mute Bear’ will delight your taste buds, including some you may yet discover having. The proprietors of this craft brewery seek to conjure up a friendly atmosphere and a good mood all round. That is achieved with first-class beer of their own making and a carefully selected complement of competitive products. If you’re not a beer buff yourself, this beer & burger bar also pours quality wine from local suppliers by the glass, or conversely, a delicacy from afar – a rare rum with a Caribbean pirate pedigree. You can sate your hunger with the Bear’s specialty, homemade burgers, for which the place is famed far and wide.
Pivovar Lobeč Brewery
From time to time, we witness some genuine architectural miracles. One such happened in 2015 in Lobeč u Mšena thanks to RIOFRIO co. Its architects managed to bring back from the dead a brewery with a fabulous history. The building, now classified as a technical monument, was the setting of a five‑hundred-year long tradition of beer-brewing in Kokořínsko, with the first written mention of the Lobeč brewery dating back to 1586 and the Renaissance core of the existing building dating from around 1600. The brewery had its heyday in the early 20th century, but nearly perished nevertheless. Yet the story has a happy ending (or a joyful restart?) and Kokořínsko is now all the richer for having this brewery complex, adorned with a whole lot of prestigious architectural prizes.
Friendly Brewery in Malešov
Malešov brewery is a wondrous combination of opposites – old and new, traditional and novel, full of ancestral values and youthful invention, valuable historical architecture and modern minimalist design. Bringing all this together and achieving symbiosis required a huge dose of talent, enthusiasm and devotion. All these ingredients were brought here by a group of friends, who in 2002 took on a tricky task – to remodel the crumbling medieval fortress of Malešov, near Kutná Hora. Once having rescued the Gothic building, they faced their second goal – to revive the ancient brewery, where beer had been brewed as far back as the 16th century. This challenge, too, was successfully met by this group of friends, and so you can once again enjoy beers brewed using traditional methods in the sensitively renovated building.
Velké Popovice Brewery
Follow the Popovice billygoat! Few animals are so inherently associated with Czech beer as the billygoat. The Velké Popovice beer and the local brewery have been in the public mind for many, many years. Beer was brewed here as far back as the 14th century, although the town was ‘put on the map’ of leading domestic breweries only later, by Baron František Ringhoffer. In 1870 he built the brewery, which was the third largest in Bohemia in the early 20th century. The brand got its logo thanks to a wandering French painter – the artist stayed in the village for some time and as his farewell left the company its future emblem, the billygoat picture. When you go to Velké Popovice on an excursion, you’ll even get to see the living version of their horned mascot, called Olda.
Poddžbánský Pivovar Brewery
In the picturesque landscape of the Džbán foothills lies Mutějovice, a small village with a rich history and some excellent beer. This is made with great love and care, from ingredients of the finest quality and to traditional recipes, in the Poddžbánský brewery. Here you can delight in some genuine beer feasts – the restaurant has its own unfiltered yeast beer on tap, with a real edge to it! If you get to feel peckish, you’re sure to enjoy the choice of delicacies on the menu, be it popular Czech classics or a light salad or fish special.
Family Brewery Zichovec
Might there be some daredevil and dreamer among your ancestors, who used to brew beer, long ago? It does help to have family roots, shared memories and experience to follow up, and founding the Zichovec family brewery was prompted partly by ancestral heritage – after a local reeve, Krahulík, who ran a renowned coach inn. Zichovec brewery was founded in 2012 by the reeve’s descendants, and they have been brewing with love ever since, as borne out by the refined quality of their beer. The devotion to the craft has paid off. In 2016 the Zichovec brewery got a younger brother, a brewery in Louny.
Hostomice pod Brdy Brewery
Why build a new brewery on a greenfield site when there are lots of unused premises with amazing history and their own tales to tell? The brewer and current proprietor of the Hostomice brewery asked himself just that question. His answer was to restore a long tradition in Hostomice pod Brdy, where beer was first brewed as far back as 1407, and where the brewery building has stood since 1857. There is no better and more meaningful feeling for a brewer than to breathe new life back into a standing, but lapsed brewery. We can safely say without exaggeration that the re-commissioning of the brewery in Hostomice amounts to paying due homage to our ancestors and their craft.
At first glance – or rather at first swig – you will be in no doubt that this 2016-founded microbrewery in Slaný takes an honest approach to the craft, while using the latest technologies. Enthusiasts who like to experiment and test new and unusual tastes will find this ‘Factory’ their seventh heaven. The menu here really offers a wealth of choice, with not only domestic beer classics, but also a large selection of unusual specialities, less familiar in our Czech shires. And since it can no longer be said that beer and refined style don’t go together, all the hoppy delicacies are there to be enjoyed in a tastefully designed industrial setting. Having quenched your thirst for beer, go for the next gourmet experience, the culinary sorcery of the local restaurant, which includes dishes typical of Czech cuisine, as well as juicy steaks and much acclaimed burgers.
Where can you get away from the rat-race, and all-pervasive stress? How about the pension Nový Rybník, with its modern and refined tastefully reconstructed historical building of a former fishing bastion, surrounded by a garden with a pond, soothingly cradled in the arms of mother Nature, in the Brdy environs. To make the delightful experience complete, what else would you need but a glass of proper beer with a reassuringly snowy head? Here, such wishes come true without further ado; just voice your desire and a dewy pint will land on the table in front of you. The premises near the village of Obořiště include a gastropub restaurant and a microbrewery, where they make their own beer, called Baštýř.