Thursday, August 25. Arrival and check-in the hotel in the Czech capital Prague, one of the most captivating and vibrant cities in Europe with a fascinating and turbulent history given by its location at the crossroad between Eastern and Western Europe. This metropolis overflows with splendid churches, palaces, bridges and, of course, historic brewpubs, atmospheric beer halls and state of the art microbreweries, all within a walking distance from our centrally located hotel. After you settle and rest, we will explore some of the city's many architectural jewels and brewing history with a local English- speaking guide. Afterwards we delight in local and international specialties in one of the traditional, historic pubs and visit other atmospheric beer cafes on the way.
Friday, August 26. Today you have the option to explore the city on your own and take advantage of the many attractions it has to offer. Of course, personalized suggestions will be made on various cultural events, shopping options (such as beer souvenir and memorabilia shops, Bohemian fine crystal, marionettes etc) to suit individual interests, as well as offering additional advice on interesting places to enjoy beer and traditional Czech food. On tonight's pub crawl we visit a pub offering over 200 various Czech bottled beers from both large and small regional brewers as well as one of the local beer establishments which offers unusual Czech beers not found anywhere else (such as banana and poison ivy). We taste their special 'giraffe' beer - a huge beer for 6-10 people enjoyed on tap at a table
Saturday, August 27. We leave Prague for Pilsen, our home for two nights. This is a well-known and festive city and a home to the original Pilsner, where in 1842 the first batch of modern pale pilsner was produced. On our way through the Czech/Central Bohemia countryside, we visit the gothic 14th century Karlstejn castle, a majestic fortress which served the Holy Roman Emperor and the Bohemian King and dramatically situated on a rock cliff overlooking the picturesque landscape. After arrival in Pilsen, we enjoy music and savor unique beer specials at the Pilsner Beer Festival, one of the most exciting events of its kind in Europe taking place on the historic Pilsner Urquell Brewery premises and on the town's colorful and architecturally attractive square. We will indulge in the local Western Bohemian cuisine, similar to German accompanied with the fantastic Pilsner golden lager with a sharp bittersweet finish, in addition to various other types of exceptional lagers, such as Gambrinus Excellent, a new type of brew made with rich caramel malt through triple fermentation. We will continue the festivities and taste the special unpasteurized Pilsner in some of the numerous beer halls, brewpubs, and microbreweries and which are ubiquitous in the historic downtown of this beer loving city. (such as the oldest historic pub in Pilsen serving best venison goulash and beef and cream sauce in town or the more modern PUB where you can tap your own beer!)
Monday, August 29. We leave for Chyse historic brewery (1839-1841) adjacent to a beautiful baroque chateau and its collection of hunting weapons. After the castle tour we will tour the brewery premises and follow with a delicious lunch in their country pub and tap room. We will taste their Prokop beers brewed according to the old Bohemian recipe, naturally with no preservatives, filtration or pasteurization. After lunch we continue to the picturesque Cesky raj, a natural labyrinth of fascinating rock formations filled with castles and forests. We lodge and spend a romantic night in an atmospheric historic castle, now a hotel dramatically perched on a rock cliff overlooking the lovely Bohemian countryside. We will enjoy local dark and pale gold lager known for its orange-blossom flavor, accompanied by delicious grilled meats eaten peasant style with no utensils in a traditional rustic brewpub adjacent to a local brewery.
Sunday, August 28. After a pub night on the town, we will definitely need some rest. We travel west to Chodovar Brewery, a beautiful large historic brewery near the German/Bavarian border where we will take a dip in beer in the Real Beer Baths, an original curative spa therapy combining remedial effects of beer, warm mineral water, ingredients for brewing beer, and classical as well as special rejuvenating massages. The unusual beer spa, a treat rarely found outside the Czech Republic uses procedures that have curative effects on the complexion and hair, relieve muscle tension, and support immune system of the organism. Your rejuvenating bath/massage and drinking cure will be followed with a tour of the splendid historic family brewery whose premises are adjoined by a brewery garden for 3,000 guests and a spot where the European championship in rolling oak barrels takes place. The brewery tour will be followed with a lunch in a one-of-a-kind restaurant serving regional culinary delights (such as venison) located in an ancient cave cellars reached by an exciting walk through a labyrinth of underground passages cut in rock. If available, the unique "beerrarium" can serve as an alternative eating option. It is here where beer technology meets gastronomy. Located in their Old Malt House, the restaurant's beer menu includes a large selection of interesting brews compiled by a beer sommelier (a graduate from the Brewer Academy in Munich) and carefully paired with regional culinary delights which were also enjoyed by the Czech president. After lunch and energized, we set off for Loket, a picturesque medieval gem set on a fortress hill surrounded by a river bend. We will enjoy local brews in a small historic microbrewery accompanied by a beer meal and local traditional music. After dinner, our local English-speaking guide will take us on a mysterious night tour of the magnificent medieval castle. After the night tour, we return to our hotel in Pilsen.
Tuesday, August 30. We leave Bohemia for Moravia and its elegant regional capital Brno, the second largest city, and our next and last stop for two nights. On the way we stop at the historic Cerna Hora Brewery founded in 1548. This is a medium sized, independent regional brewery making various types of excellent lagers, such as Black Hill produced based on an original recipe of carefully selected home-grown ingredients and extracts of 33 different types of herbs like centaury, gentian, licorice and cinnamon. We will take a class where you will craft and brew your own batch supervised by a local brew master. During the process we will have time to tour the brewery, enjoy local cuisine, possibly outdoors, taste the local brews, and have an option to take advantage of their bowling facilities. After the beer class and tasting we check-in in centrally located hotel in Brno. You can choose to relax or, if you still have the energy, continue the festivities in the local numerous brewpubs and beer halls!
Wednesday, August 31. We take a local train and enjoy a pleasurable ride through the idyllic rolling hills of Moravia and walk up to one of the most enchanting castles and one of the best preserved gothic- renaissance fortresses in Europe, Pernstejn. This majestic, never conquered chateau-fort overlooks the surrounding deep forested hills and houses an arsenal of weapons and armaments. After lunch accompanied by a local draft in their medieval castle pub, we return by train to Brno and take a short city tour (including the Capuchin Monastery catacombs holding the mummified monks and the dungeon labyrinth underneath 13th century Spilberk fortress) followed by a hearty dinner in an atmospheric microbrewery/historic brewpub serving excellent Pegas citrusy wheat beers as well as pale and dark unfiltered lagers. We will follow with a pub crawl and visit more beer cellar pubs.
Thursday, September 1. After a late breakfast, we depart Brno for Prague on a fast Pendolino train while enjoying the Czech countryside as well as a "cold one" from the onboard restaurant. After a two and a half hour ride you can enjoy the rest of the day in Prague. This day is for last minute shopping (hard to find beer) and sightseeing. Our farewell dinner tonight will provide us with the opportunity to savor some of the hearty local fare (the last opportunity to order that venison goulash and fresh applestrudel!) and to cheer to the Czech culture with a mug of cold Czech lager before we depart the following day.
Friday, September 2. Depart Prague and the land of beer by air. Of course the possibility exists to extend your trip and continue on your own. Again, Prague is only about 3-4 hours by train from Vienna, Berlin, or Munich in the heart of Central Europe.
Prague pub crawl, Pilsner Beer Festival, historic breweries and microbreweries, medieval towns and castles
August 24, 2011 - September 2, 2011, 9 days - 8 nights
On our beer, microbrewery and pub crawl tour, you will drink beer in Prague's historic and lively beer halls and brewpubs. You will tour the Pilsner brewery in the Czech capital of beer Pilsen, home of the original Pilsner beer, and a showcase of the country's rich brewing history. You will attend the Pilsner Fest, a Czech answer to the German Oktoberfest or a beer festival in another charming historic town. Study beer production with the brewmaster and brew your own beer. Bathe in a beer spa, a rare treat not available on most beer trips. Enjoy beer tastings in the local microbreweries amidst the bucolic and idyllic countryside filled with historic and cultural monuments, castles and chateaux.
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