On my third and final day in the Czech Republic I decided to take a day trip to the town of Pilsen. It is located in the western part of the Czech Republic about an hour and forty minutes by train. Pilsen is famous for being the birthplace of the Pilsen style beer. I was going to visit the brewery and do a tour of it.
When I woke on the morning of Monday the 29th it was snowing. I was extremely excited because I hadn’t seen snow yet. I ate breakfast and then set out on my journey to the train station, which was about a 45 min walk across town. I could have figured out the tram or taken the subway to get me closer, but I wanted to experience Prague in the snow. Walking through Prague in snow was like experiencing the city for the first time. The snow changed the aura and my perception of the city. Prague is already beautiful, but snow covered roofs and buildings made it even more beautiful. The snow also created a hushness to the city, making it extremely relaxing to walk through. On the train ride, my eyes were glued to the window as we passed snow littered landscapes.
The Pilsner Urquell Brewery: The city has actually been brewing since 1295, but the Pilsner Urquell Brewery was founded in 1839 with the first beer brewed in 1842. The story is, that prior to the opening the citizens were so dissatisfied with the quality of the beer the town was producing they brought the barrels into the street and broke them all. The brewery recruited a German named Josef Growl to help them with their problem. He introduced a new technique for drying the malts, thus saving the town and helping to invent the Pilsner style beer. The tour took us to different areas. We first learned about the importance of the beer, we then toured the bottling plant, a massive facility that outputs an insane amount of bottles (Czechs drink more beer per person than any other country in the world; it’s only a country of 10 million). We then toured the historic brew house and the current brew house. The last stop was the brewery cellars, with fermenting tubs and gigantic oak lager barrels filled with Pilsen beer. The cellars were the coolest part. They were all hand dug. At some points the ceiling reached about 20 feet, maybe more. It is a massive underground network of caves and passageways. We also received a cup of unfiltered straight from the barrel beer. Can’t say I noticed a difference, but maybe others were able to. Overall the tour was extremely informative and great insight to an area so special to the Czech’s.
After the tour, I wandered around the city, got lunch at the Christmas markets in the main square. The main square is dominated by a massive Gothic Cathedral called the Cathedral of St Bartholomew. Then, got back on the train and made my way back to Prague.