The Czech Republic is famous for the volume of beer (pivo) the nation consumes. The favourite drink of locals and tourists alike is lager and none is more popular than the classically Czech brand Pilsner Urquell, which is produced at an historic brewery in Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech).
An hour’s drive from Prague, Pilsen is the capital of West Bohemia and was European City of Culture in 2016. Beer has been brewed in the city since 1295, but the story of Pilsner Urquell begins with the building of the Prazdroj Brewery in 1842. This was the year that Josef Groll developed his unique method of brewing, which is still used in making Pilsner lager today.
A guided tour of the brewery leads through the brewing process, from the vast copper storage vats in the factory through the 1930s brew house before traveling to the state-of-the-art bottling facility, which is capable of handling 120,000 bottles an hour. Every tour lasts one hour and 40 minutes and ends in the historic cellars with a tasting session of several unfiltered pilsners straight from the oak cask. To learn about another traditional Czech craft, combine a visit to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery with a tour of the Bohemia glassworks in Nizbor.
U Prazdroje 7, Pilsen. Opening hours daily 7am–11pm. Tour tickets adults 180 CZK; seniors & students 108 CZK; family 396 CZK. Pilsen is an hour and 15 minutes southwest of Prague and is best accessed by car along the E50.