Red Corner: The Beer Trails of Bohemia and Moravia

Czech beer is some of the best in the world–or so claim the experts.

One such self-described authority on the subject is New York Times writer Evan Rail who recently traveled to the Czech Republic to imbibe his way through a tour of the country’s finest beers. And what a beer-loving country it is! The small nation, according to Rail, is blessed with 100 breweries producing 450 types of beer. If this seems excessive, consider for a moment that the Czechs consume more beer per capita than any other nation–a whopping “320 pints annually for every man, woman and child.”

As you might imagine, a trip to the Czech Republic is something of a pilgramige for beer aficionados.

Rail’s journey takes him to Ceske Budejovice where the original (and far superior) Budweiser was first brewed. Although the Czechs are currently locked in a legal battle with their American imitator and can only release their product in the States under the Budvar name, the real stuff can be had for less than a dollar back in the homeland.

Rail also visits Plzen, the home of the Czech Republic’s most famous beer. Pilsner Urquell has been brewed since 1842 and is credited as being the world’s very first Pilsner. Its taste is impressive, award-wining, and expertly captured by the words of Rail who writes that its “unique bittersweet taste” is “a combination of the town’s soft water and regional ingredients like Moravian malt, Zatec hops and proprietary strain of yeast.”

If this is making your mouth water, check out the rest of the fine article as Rain discovers microbreweries, brewery hotels, and a variety of tasty beverages strewn across the Czech landscape.