Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Homebrewing in the Czech Republic

Q: I currently live in San Diego, California, but am moving to the Czech Republic in March, 2009. I am an avid homebrewer here in the USA but I was wondering if you know how accessible brewing supplies would be in the Czech Republic?

A: Until recently, homebrewing in the Czech Republic has had a very low profile. The intimate networks of homebrewers here would often buy or barter their ingredients directly from contacts at small commercial breweries and brewpubs, or even purchase leftover malt from giant breweries like Pilsner Urquell.

Lately, however, Czech homebrewing has really started to pick up the pace.

You can still buy your malt, hops and yeast directly from one of the 120 breweries and brewpubs in the country, or you can order your stuff online from, a site which offers Czech, German and British malts, Czech hops (Sládek, Premiant and the great Žatecký poloraný červeňák), brewing kits, equipment, and several types of both ale and lager yeasts.

Moreover, you can contact other homebrewers and find out more of what’s going on through, part of the Svět piva empire.

Coincidentally, any would-be homebrewers in Prague should note that this coming weekend marks the “D-Day of Czech Homebrewing” with a day of seminars and a homebrew tasting competition taking place on Saturday, December 13, at SPŠPT, home to the brewing technology school in Prague. Entrance is free.

D-Day of Czech Homebrewing
Saturday, December 13, starting at 10 a.m.
Podskalská 10 (near tram station Výtoň and Karlovo náměstí)
Praha 2

If there’s anything you might want to bring to the Czech Republic from the States, it’s hops — while lovely Saaz varietals are, naturally, ubiquitous here, finding American C-hops or virtually any other varietals in the Czech Republic is nearly impossible. Bring a bunch of Cascade, Centennial or Chinook (or Columbus, Amarillo or Simcoe) with you and trade them to other homebrewers at next year’s festival. Will we dare to call it Czech homebrewing’s V-Day?


Czech Christmas Beers: Vánoční Speciál from Janáček


Czech Christmas Beers: the 17° Sváteční Speciál from Broumov


  1. Ok, I am going to ask the ignorant question – mainly because I couldn’t find anything about Premiant and Sladek hops on the internet. So does anyone have any details about these hops?

  2. Superb! Thanks for that.

  3. The question needs to be asked: why would you want to home brew in Czech Republic? I can understand the appeal of brewing your own, and have sampled some fabulous home brews in the US, but given the quality, variety and cost of buying Czech beers it would somewhat negate most of the reasons – the exception being the simple passion for brewing one’s own beer.

  4. I can see a lot of reasons why people would want to homebrew here. The first is just a matter of taste: if you want to drink something other than a pale or dark lager, it’s probably easiest just to make it yourself. If you like C-hops, it won’t matter how many obscure Czech brews you track down, because there’s only one Czech beer made with American hops at this point. And if you want to drink ales, you pretty much have to brew your own. (Counting wheat beers as “ales,” we’ve got, what, maybe 12 ales in the country? Versus about 400 lagers, perhaps 300 of which are fairly similar pale lagers.)

    For myself, it’s about learning more about this wonderful beverage: I feel I have to go back to getting my hands dirty in order to continue my education in beer. It’s one thing to drink beer. It’s another to write about it. But making beer is quite different indeed.

    I’ve done it before. I’ll be doing it again.

  5. Does this then present an opportunity? a fine Czech Stout perhaps, or more Czech Ales, or would this be a radical change for the average Czech beer drinker, those 400 lagers seem to survive in the domestic market.

  6. No, there wont be aradical change for regular drinker. But it could “open eyes” for the more open minded. There going to be to at least two piko breweries, probably more in a near future. What they will brew? LAgers to make living, but ales and more “advanced” beers.
    And yes, homebrewing can help to make it easier.

  7. David, Pivovar Nachod recently brought out a stout, a very good one at that, as is the Kanec Stout from Pivovar Zamberk, and of course Kocour also make a lovely stout – so there seems to be a niche market for such brews. On Saturday night I persuaded a couple of people in the pub I was in to try the Primator Stout and they loved it, I think a lot of people just need a little push in the right direction.

  8. interesting stuff. I had no idea…

  9. Homebrew supplies in CZ

    For homebrew supplies in CZ, specially in Prague, you might want to try Bulovky Pivovar/Richter Brewpub, (only in Czech I’m afraid), Owner Frantisek Richter is representative for various suppliers of raw materials and other sorts of supplies.
    Alternative, try to get in touch with Jan Suran, probably via Pivovoarsky Dum – he may have some interesting connections.



  10. Brewpub U bulovky does not sell homebrew stuff anymore as they are busy with their main business and they are going to open new brewpub next year. Pivo Praha also doen sell anything, we do together seminars…

  11. mike004

    >Brewpub U bulovky does not sell homebrew stuff anymore as they are busy with their main business and they are going to open new brewpub next year.<
    Great news! Any idea where the location of their new pub will be?


  12. Yes, it’s out in Prague 11 where the Slavnosti piva, jídla a kultury took place in September, at Metro Opatov, if I remember correctly. It’s supposed to open in April.

  13. joe

    Now I am quite excited about coming over. I have brewed beer for a few years now and the appeal is in discovering new recipes and different ways of making beer. I just brewed a winter lager, a dark amber beer with ginger and spices. I shared it with my friends and they were amazed that beers exist like that.
    Evan is correct in that there is a limited # of styles of beer to be found in the CZ. Don’t get me wrong, I love the pale lagers but I also love a more varied selection. I love a good ale in the spring, a good hoppy IPA, a great stout (made with fresh roasted coffee too:) I roast my own coffee as well) but from my experience beers like these are very hard to find.
    I did find good prices on 1 lbs bags of hops so I wonder what I should bring. Either 3-4 lbs of Cascade Pellets, or a varied selection of Vanguard, Sterling, Cascade and Willamette Pellets ? Any suggestions?

  14. Hmm, who could use 3-4 pounds of Cascade hops around here…

  15. for test batches I have now Amarillo, cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops. MAy be Willametes? I’d like to have some. What woukld be the price?

  16. joe

    So maybe I will just bring a sample of all 4…I wish Warrior or Columbus were on sale, they have a high AA rating (12-16%) and I really like the finish on them:(
    Honza, I would either trade them for some beer you brewed or sell them for $4/2 oz…2 oz is good for most batches of beer I have found (if it is a 5 gallon/18.5 liter batch)…I remember the days when hops were $1/oz

  17. Translation: 78 Kč (at current rates) for just about 57 grams.

  18. joe

    Unfortunately hops in the states are somewhat expensive. I looked at the site above and found the Czech hops to be approx. 50 KC/100 grams but here in the states Saaz hops tend to be around $4-$6/2 oz (120 kc/57 grams) I hope the Czech hops are good:)

  19. I’d imagine Czechs consider homebrewing even more mental than British people do. Interesting article, Evan.

  20. Ric

    This may be a controversial suggestion: For the serious home brewer, consider growing your own hop varieties so that you don’t need to rely on buddies coming from abroad. Several homebrew stores and online shops in the US are about to sell their seasonal hop rhyzomes from just about any variety. They grow quickly and should be planted sometime early spring. Although they can flower in the first year, they will yield more the following summer. The agricultural laws regarding imports are another story.

  21. MIke

    well its been over 12 months since i moved here, Praha, and the urge to get some beer on the go is getting hard to resist i brought my two pressure barrels over from the uk but im stuck for a good bucket to brew in so a trip to the shops is in order.

    This weekend I will be helping a czech mate start brewing pilsner style beer from a kit less than 5k from Plzen, was at the pilzner fest with him and the beer was not all that, tried primator last weekend and its good but is it live beer?

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