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Rod Horak of Cheers Cultural Travel (CCT)

"Kde se pivo vari, tam se dobre dari" (" Where beer is brewed, life is good")

I agree with this old Czech proverb. I grew up in the former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) in a formerly German speaking border region Jeseniky (in Czech), or Sudetenland (in German). It was here in the land of pivo (beer) and meat where I began tasting and developed a passion for beer at quite an early age* (please see Notes below for details). As a teenager shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I escaped my homeland where my natural sense of wanderlust was suppressed by the red comrades (i.e. communists) who did not like the idea of their citizens socializing with their neighbors on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain. After defecting, I continued to taste beer and wine in Austria where I temporarily resided in a refugee camp before I moved on to my new homeland, the United States.  I have now been residing in New York for over two decades and have been giving insider tours of NYC in Czech and English in addition to leading small private tours to the Czech Republic. I graduated from the International Tour Academy in Denver, Colorado and bring over 15 years experience in the international tourism to the table.


Having grown up in a beer culture and tasting and studying various types of beer made me an avid beer enthusiast. My enthusiasm drove me to gather my wonderful friends with whom I had the great opportunity to travel and visit breweries, brewpubs and beer fests in Austria, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Iceland, and England as well as in many states in the United States. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and after the Velvet Revolution in Prague, which brought democracy back to the Czech lands, the country flourished and became a stage for the craft beer revolution. This changed the Czech beer making landscape resulting in the origination of many new independent breweries making some of the best lager on the planet! (Indeed a glass of Czech craft beer is a delight that may change the way you have been thinking of beer).


I have followed the new development through regular beer trips and beer tastings in many of the approximately 140 independent Czech breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs.
During my beer travel in the Czech Republic, I grew acquainted with brewers, home brewers and beer industry specialists and the idea to organize my own beer tour was born. My native knowledge of the Czech language and culture combined with my thorough research result in fun, off-the-beaten- track, insider tours that still retain their educational value.


Being a globetrotter in the true sense of the word ** (please see Notes for explanation), I believe that unforgettable travel experiences should include peeking beyond the scene and doing what a majority of people on a conventional tour may miss. Whether cheering "a cold one"  with the locals in a lively Czech pub over a tasty goulash or enjoying a glass of Malbec and a succulent steak in Mendoza, I believe in thinking global and going local and make all the effort to deliver just that on my tours! Do you also believe that one of the most pleasurable ways to discover a country's culture is by biting into a juicy schnitzel and washing it down with the best local brews? Or having a great time conversing with friends over a glass of local wine in a medieval wine cellar? Add the beautiful architecture, castles, and chateaux to the excellent beer, wine and mouthwatering local cuisine - and you will experience the true pleasures of travel on our tours.


When not traveling or leading tours, I teach adult immigrant community (I graduated from CUNY and hold Masters in Education) and pursue my other passions, such as cooking (I am a self-taught gourmet cook), eating meat (baked, boiled, fried, or sautéed) and of course, drinking beer, wine and enjoying stand-up comedy shows.
So beer my humor, get your beerings and I hope to meat you soon (yes these are all the right spellings) in the Czech Republic! Cheers!


Rod Horak, Founder


Notes:

*During my young years in the Czech lands, it was quite common for the parents to send their children to a local pub/ dive to get a kettle of freshly tapped lager to bring to Sunday lunch to wash down the traditional schnitzel, roast pork, sausage or whatever type of carnivore’s pleasure was on the menu that day. It was not unusual and even expected that on the way home from the pub, mummy’s and daddy’s little helper sank his face into the thick rich foam sitting on top of the pivo (beer) aka “liquid bread” and had a little private beer tasting on the street. These tastings usually resulted in arriving home with a slight beer buzz well before the age of 18.

**My love of travel goes beyond my profession. My extensive background in traveling has equipped me with a unique understanding of what a captivating tour should be all about: I bathed in beer followed with a beer lunch in a cave, toasted and sang to the accordion with local wine makers in their ancient wineries amidst bucolic Czech countryside, tasted the best wine selections in the baroque chateaux wine cellars inherited from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, camped on a safari in the middle of Tanzanian wilderness, swam in New Zealand’s hot forest rivers (yes, they do exist!), climbed an ancient Inca trail in the high Bolivian Andes, drove a jeep through Chilean Patagonia, rode a moped in the Vietnamese rice fields, danced with the Maasai tribes in Tanzania, sea kayaked the numerous archipelagos of Maine, flew around the Angel Falls in the Venezuelan Amazon, got almost killed by a landslide while mountain biking in Ecuador, heard bears walking around my tent at night while camping in the Alaskan wilderness, climbed an active volcano at night in Guatemala and much more....


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