Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Prague’s Christmas Beer Markets 2008

Last year saw the inauguration of Prague’s Christmas Beer Markets (Vánoční pivní trhy), much like the Christmas markets that appear all around Europe at this time of year, only with a serious malt-and-hops theme. Taking place in a vast pavilion at Prague’s Výstaviště exhibition grounds, the first edition featured craft and specialty beers from around the Czech Republic, as well as brews from Slovakia’s Kaltenecker.

This year, the Christmas Beer Markets will return in a more refined locale: inside Prague’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which will host the 2008 Christmas Beer Markets on December 20, 21 and 22.

The final details are still being set, but the early outline for this year’s festival sounds terrific.

From the announcement at

The 2008 Christmas Beer Markets will take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Nebovidská 1, Prague 1—Malá Strana; tram 12, 20 or 22 to Hellichova) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, December 20–22.

There are two four-hour sessions on each day: from 13–17 and 18–22.

Entry will be limited to 300 participants at each session.

The entry fee for each session is 150 Kč and includes a commemorative .3-liter glass and a beer.

The entry fee for the whole day — two sessions — costs 250 Kč.

Entry to all sessions over all three days costs 500 Kč.

Tickets can be purchased at the hotel or at selected beer-friendly pubs in Prague: První pivní tramway, Zlý časy, Obžérství and Tlustá koala.

The final beer list is not yet set, but it will include specialty and Christmas brews from around the Czech Republic, as well as rarities from Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Slovakia.

To accompany the great beers, the Mandarin Oriental will also offer its outstanding classic Czech cuisine, Asian dishes, selections of cheeses and desserts.

In addition, the Christmas Beer Markets should include exhibits on homebrewing, beer festivals, and foreign breweries, as well as beer tastings and presentations on beer and gastronomy.

Beers at the Christmas Beer Markets will be both bottled and on tap. Guests will be able to buy bottled specialties to take home.

This is realy taking things up a notch from last year’s Christmas Beer Markets, not least in terms of the location: the Mandarin Oriental is a very special place, composed of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture and newer additions, with its luxurious day spa housed in a former 14th century monastery. The wine cellar where we have our regular beer tastings and seminars as part of the hotel’s Czech Beer Academy is one of the prettiest and most atmospheric such spots in Prague, and the hotel’s Essensia restaurant serves some of the best Asian cooking in the country.

For most of us, this will be a rare chance to step into a refined world.

More details to follow soon. Mark your calendars now.


The New Gambrinus 11° Excelent Pale Lager


The Christmas Beer Mass at Klášterní Pivovar Strahov


  1. Such a shame that I will already be in France by that point as it does indeed sounds like a terrific few days.

  2. Last year was a grand time: the only thing lacking was the atmosphere and the availability of food. Both of those seem to have been taken care of by the new location.

    Bring on the wider selection of beer!

  3. I will try:)
    The tickets should be available from next week. Confirmed asap…

  4. That sounds fantastic. I’m jealous!

    If they limit it to 300 particpants per session , will there be huge queues down the street?

  5. It is but a simple all-day train ride from Münster, amigo.

    As for the lines out the door, somehow I doubt that will happen, though I’d love it if it did. Could there be that much interest in craft beer here?

  6. JKA

    This year’s location was much fancier and the food selection was vastly improved, but the organizer(s) completely missed the boat on the main point at the opening session, THE BEER! Unlike last year, instead of a sizable selection of Czech brewers and their wares being represented, the patient guests who waited until the late starting time were offered sludge like Krusovice Christmas beer, pitiful Bakalar semi-dark, as well as the more palatable Pardubicky Porter and Bernard dark kvasnicove. Furthermore, while we were in line to get in we were informed the reason for the late start was that the beer tap wasn’t ready. As in, they only had one table with taps being operated in the front hall by two incompetent little poofs for the army of thirsty scammed guests who had to not only wait for the late start but also in another long line to exchange their real cash for printed cash coupon vouchers. What a great set up! Very well thought out Mr. Beer Pro organizer. What wasn’t ready in reality was all the tables of overrated food the hotel was hoping to sell. The situation was only slightly better in the second hall. Thank God there were tables selling fine German and Scottish bottled beer to compensate for the fact that there was only one Czech beer tap which was dispensing nettle beer and other flavored beer concoctions. My friends and I were in shock. No real Czech beer for sale and no where to sit down and drink it. Give me last year’s version anytime. I’ll bring my own food.

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