Beginner’s guide to Czech Beer

Czech gold is not a precious metal mined from the ground, but rather a clear brew made from hops and malt- beer. As wine is to the French, gelato to the Italians, or fish and chips to the British, so is beer to the Czechs. No Czech night out is complete without a beer in the hand, whether from a bottle, can, or a proper draft from a pub. Nothing short of gluten intolerance suffices as an excuse for passing on this truest, noblest, and oldest of Czech traditions when visiting their country.

Roll over Belgium, Germany, and Ireland. If you wish to call yourselves the world’s beer-drinking capitals, then you must drink, and no one can put away a beer like the Czechs! They lead the world in beer consumption at 143 liters per person per year (including infants), 20% ahead of runner-up Seychelles. Germany trails in 4th place, Ireland in 7th, while big-talking Belgium is waaaaaay back in 23rd. Burn!

What is it about Czech beer that makes it so drinkable? Well, it’s a number of things, from the recipes, brewing styles, alcohol content, Czech spring water, and then there’s the main reason: beer in the Czech Republic is cheaper than water. That’s right. This is one of the only places in the world where you can take basic H2O, add hops, malt, sugar, and yeast, let sit, and then lose value.

The low prices are practically traditional here. It’s joked that the government can do anything as long as they don’t raise the price of beer. The Czech minister of finance, Andrej Babiš has even proposed slashing VAT on beer in half. If they tried raising the price, I’m betting we’d witness the second Boston Tea Party, except with beer canisters in the Vltava River, Czech style. “Throw the beer in! There, that’s showed them… Alright, now fish it out. They get the point.”

Joking aside, as a newcomer to Prague, you’ll want to partake in a true Czech cultural beer experience, so I’m going to give you a few recommendations on what to try. It’s impossible to rank the various beers from best to worst, as preferences vary person to person, so instead I’m going to list 5 worthwhile varieties with a brief description of each so that you might find something to suit your own individual taste.

To kick us off, the flagship of all Czech Beer varieties:

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner can be found worldwide. Dating back to 1842, it is the world’s first mass-produced golden beer and the measure by which all pilsners worldwide are judged. If you haven’t tried it where you come from, it can be found on virtually every corner in Prague, in a pub, convenience store, or street food stall. It’s smooth, full-flavored, and has a dry bitter finish. Less potent than an IPA, Pilsner appeals to people who like mid-range bitterness.

Kozel Černý (Kozel Black)

While Kozel’s light beer varieties are solid enough, its dark lager is one of the most heavily consumed beers in The Czech Republic. Guinness haters will shy away from this beer on first glance, but the Kozel Černý is a far cry from stout beers. Its texture is that of a light pilsner. It has a full caramelized malt flavor and a bitter-sweet finish. It is possibly the smoothest beer you’ll ever drink; so soft it’s virtually impossible to trigger a gag reflex. Even non-beer drinkers occasionally enjoy this one for its sweeter tones.

Budweiser

You heard me right. Believe it or not, Budweiser is a Czech beer from the town  České Budějovice, or in German- Budweis. If you think Budweiser is a watery, bottom-rung beer, it’s likely because you’ve only ever tried the American knockoff version, which, if you bring to a Czech gathering, will likely get you beaten half to death. Before judging, you must experience the true Budweiser flavor, which comes in many varieties but usually, a light, flavorful, mildly bitter Pilsner that thrives amid the massively high standards for beer in the region.

Fénix (Phoenix)

To widen the selection here is my favorite Czech wheat beer. Fénix is basically a beer lemonade alternative with a citrus finish, a smooth wheat flavor, and a light bitter aftertaste. It’s just about the best thing in the world for a hot summer afternoon (or even morning, if you’re really doing it Czech-style).

St. Norbert’s

There is only one place where you should buy St. Norbert’s beer: the original Strahov Monastery micro-brewery, near the Prague Castle in the Czech Capital. This one is rather broad-spectrum as you can find an amber lager, dark lager, and an IPA at any time of year, as well as a rotating seasonal special, and I honestly cannot say which is the best, but this beer is stronger than the normal Czech lagers in both alcohol and bitterness. It makes a great addition to a Czech goulash, pork knuckle, or heavy meat dish.

That should give any beer-loving Prague newbie a kickstart in Czech beer flavors, but beer  in this country is a never-ending topic, so stay tuned for more! Future topics will include what pubs to visit, Czech drinking traditions, the pilsner brewing process, and more! I welcome questions and comments.


If you’d like to learn more about beer in depth whilst partaking, we can arrange a private tour with one of our beer meisters.

Email: t4c@c4c.cz

Telephone: (+420) 776 672 077

Or visit our website for more information: http://www.tour4charity.com

And, as always, take a look at our T4C charity beneficiary: http://www.c4c.cz

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The Chance 4 Children (C4C) Charity Initiative

The backbone of the Tour 4 Charity project is raising money for Charity, and choosing the right organization to support was of utmost importance to us. As much as we need to maintain the highest quality tours and service to represent our chosen charity, we also needed a charity of repute; with a positive public image to flagship our program. Rather than approach a world-famous international franchise, we decided to invest in a local community group with whom we could work hand-in-hand and maintain close contact.

To meet our high standards, we chose the local NGO “Chance 4 Children,” (C4C) a project that’s been operating in the Czech Republic since 1996. It began as the joint hobby of its two founders, Manfred and Rafael, and has since grown into one of the most productive, effective, and wide-reaching NGO’s in central Europe.

Chance 4 Children operates three programs, each one different, yet with a singular focus: improving the lives of disadvantaged Children. The first program, “Robin Hood” began as a small collection and redistribution initiative for a single orphanage, but has since grown to reach 383 orphan institutions in The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, and Bulgaria, providing over thirty million dollars’ worth of aid throughout.

Three years after Robin Hood came the birth of the next program, “Dr. Clown,” a laughter therapy program for children in hospitals- a concept inspired by the world-renowned social activist Dr. Hunter Doherty Patch Adams. Chance 4 Children employs a team of professional clowns to visit critically ill children undergoing intensive treatments in hospitals and help them have a fighting chance at recovery, using laughter as their key medicine. More than just clowns, these men and women train in child psychology and specialize in empowering children who are otherwise stripped of all choice to undergo long, often risky or painful drug treatments.

Doctor Clown has since secured the support of one of the world’s largest and most popular toy brands- LEGO who have donated over 300 pallets, enough to fill two football fields. As of now, every one of the 476 hospitals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia combined are equipped with LEGO and DUPLO, allowing approximately 26,000 hospitalized children access to toys every day.

In 2003 began C4C’s latest and possibly most impactive project: “Springboard to Life” an education initiative. The environment in which orphaned children are raised sadly lacks the essential nurturing, education, and life-preparation provided by the stable family. Instead, constantly surrounded by peers, they develop a toughness and mob mentality, which, outside of their homes, leads to a life of crime, drugs, prostitution, and gangs for a tragic 60% majority of these youth.

“Springboard to Life,” as the name implies, is designed to equip orphans with the necessary life-skills for when the time comes to fly the nest and integrate into society. A team of qualified, professional teachers make a full-time job of visiting children’s homes and teaching them a wide range of practical skills such as Computer IT, hairstyling, baking, music (fill in more), a curriculum that ends with a valid diploma to help them find legitimate jobs and become valuable members of society. For the kids currently participating in this program, the bar of success has literally been doubled from a mere 40% to over 80% chance of success.

The sky is truly the limit with this work and the only thing to hold it back is finances. Funding is an endless black hole that can never be filled. There is always room for more. With a yearly audit proving a steady 95% turnover rate, C4C is certainly a legitimate cause worthy of our support. We hope that in time Tour 4 Charity will be a major contributor to this worthy project, and help them significantly expand their reach.

In the meantime, there are many ways in which you can lend support to the cause. Visit their web page www.c4c.cz to learn more about them, their latest projects, and how you too can make a difference in the local community.

#1 Recommended Day Trip Outside Prague

One of the greatest things about the Czech Republic, in my opinion, is that there is no single city or area with a monopoly on the amazing sights, activities, food and drink, history, and culture. The countryside is absolutely saturated with amazing areas to visit that cater to practically any variety of preferences or demands. It’s more than worth it to escape the capital and beaten path sights to visit some of these hidden and often overlooked gems away from the crowds.

Here I will share my personal number one recommendation for a day trip outside the Czech capital. And the winner is:

Kutná Hora tower-597020_640

While Český Krumlov is certainly a match for Kutná Hora in history, sights, and charm, and a magnificent treasure of the Czech lands, I give the prize to Kutná Hora because its close proximity to Prague makes it more conducive to the needs of the time-limited traveller. It is small, compact, and easily accessible by public transport making it the perfect stop for anyone looking for a quick and convenient countryside history fix.

Boasting sights unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else in the world, Kutná Hora is not only worthwhile but a must for travellers who love the small, quaint town scene. A UNESCO world heritage town since 1995, Kutná Hora certainly lives up to the repute of such a title. There is no shortage of historic sights. Once the economic powerhouse of central Europe with the richest silver deposits in the continent, Kutná Hora became a  rival for the title of Capital of the Czech lands and attempted to compete with Prague in grandeur and extravagance.

Though long past, the golden age of Kutna Hora is visible now in its churches, historic town center, Hradec Silver Museum, open mineshaft, Jesuit College, Charles Bridge, and opulent baroque sculpture scene. Though all these things are enough to make a worthy trip in themselves, they are overshadowed by Kutná Hora’s two main attractions: the unrivaled macabre artistry of the Sedlec Ossuary and the ominous magnificence of St. Barbara’s Cathedral.

My advice: on your next Czech trip, set aside one day, take your friends or family, and treat yourself either to a tour or a walk around with a guide booklet. Leave lunch behind and enjoy the cultural food experience of a local establishment. While I recommend a full day, this can be done in a half-day if the situation demands. Either way, Kutná Hora is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip, and an experience you’ll never forget.

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Join us for a private tour out to Kutna Hora. We can cater for a small or big party.

Email: t4c@c4c.cz

Telephone: (+420) 776 672 077

Or visit our website for more information: http://www.tour4charity.com

Origins- Tour 4 Charity

Hi, everyone. My name is John Paul Franke, JP to my friends, and I’ve been a tour guide in Prague for about 4 years now. I’m absolutely addicted to this city, the culture, sights, sounds, and the rich history. My career as a guide is a result of my true passion: performance. Coming from a theatre background, I love to put on a show for a crowd and entertain, inform, and amuse them with history, anecdotes, jokes, and witticisms that keep them laughing, lighthearted, and enthralled.

After making my guiding debut in a big franchise company, I decided to branch out in the hopes of starting something new and fresh. I am currently launching a new project focused on two things: First, providing tourists with the highest-quality historical infotainment; second, reinvesting into the community through a charitable cause. Thus I have launched my first-ever career-baby: Tour4Charity.

Charity has always been a part of the business world, especially in the upper-echelons and corporate circles. Businesses give to charity for many reasons: image, social responsibility, tax deductibility, and even the goodness of their hearts (and so do individuals), but the Tour4Charity concept focuses its entire business model on fundraising for charity.

We are starting with one tour- a three-hour journey through Prague’s historic center- and hope to soon expand our repertoire to perhaps half a dozen tours, each one contributing to our chosen beneficiary, the Chance 4 Children NGO.  With our model of smaller groups and friendly, personable guides comes adaptability, efficiency, relaxation, and informational depth that many of the bigger corporate franchises cannot provide.

Our first big clue that this concept is a winner and truly can work was when the Hilton Hotel chain in Prague picked up the idea and made it the key focus of their C.S.R (corporate social responsibility). As of now, we have 100% 5-star rating on TripAdvisor at 85 reviews, and the people who take the tour rave about the quality and concept. We are pushing forward to expand our reach and make touring for charity a popular concept, first in Prague and eventually world-wide.

I love my job. I love being active in the streets and being under the open sky. I love socializing, performing, entertaining, and storytelling with crowds of people; hearing them laugh at my jokes and react to my stories, and engaging in conversation on the way. If I have my way, this is what I’ll do for the rest of my life.

Wish us luck, and if you like our concept, join us on your next trip to Prague! Leave behind the loud unwieldy groups and come for a quiet, relaxed, entertaining trip that will not only show you the best the city has to offer but gives the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing directly to the local community and the future of disadvantaged and needy children country-wide.

Find out more at:

www.tour4charity.com

www.facebook.com/tour4charitycz