Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Czech Beer Expressions

The sign above the door at the taproom of the Vyškov brewery, maker of the very good Jubiler and Generál beers, somewhat ominously recommends that guests have a final brew before leaving. “Have another glass of beer,” it says, “who knows what awaits you outside!”

While the German beer expression “Hopfen und Malz — Gott erhalt’s!” is fairly familiar among the international beer set, most Czech beer expressions — usually in the form of rhyming two-liners — are unknown outside of the country. Nearly every pub here is decorated with the traditional brewer’s greeting, Dej Bůh štěstí, or “God give happiness.” But there are many more, many of which are listed in Good Beer Guide Prague and the Czech Republic. A few favorites:

Lepší pivo v žaludku, nežli voda na plících.
Better beer in the belly than water in the lungs.

Kde se pivo vaří, tam se dobře daří.
Where beer is brewed, things go well.

Kde se pivo pije, tam se dobře žije.
Where beer is drunk, life is good.

Do půlnoci u pěny, od půlnoci u ženy.
On the suds until midnight; after twelve, on the wife.

Kdo pije mok pěnivý v posteli je lenivý.
Whoever drinks foamy liquid is lazy in bed.

Píme pivo s bobkem, jezme bedrník! Nebudeme stonat, nebudeme mřít!
Let’s drink beer with bay, let’s eat pimpernel! We won’t get ill, nor will we die!

Pivo dělá hezká těla.
Beer makes a beautiful body.

Pivo hřeje, ale nepálí.
Beer warms, but it doesn’t burn.

Pivo hřeje, ale nešatí.
Beer warms, but it doesn’t clothe.

Vláda, která zdraží pivo, padne.
A government which raises the price of beer will fall. (Jaroslav Hašek.)

Lepší teplé pivo než studená Němka!
Better a warm beer than a cold German girl! (Jára Cimrman)

Pivo mladé čep vyráží.
Young beer bursts from the tap.

Teprve pivo udělá žízeň krásnou.
Only with beer does thirst become beautiful.


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  1. I liked the one with the cold German girl. Prussian, I assume!

  2. Working hard on my beautiful beer body that’s for sure!

  3. Fantastic!

  4. Dej Bůh štěstí can also be translated as God give luck. I heard once that the expression was used by brewers a long time ago because until the whole process was finished they had no way of knowing if the beer would turn out good or they would have to throw the whole batch away.

  5. pivnizub

    “Teprve pivo…” is also known as “Jenom s pivem je žizen krásna” !
    “Studena němka” was presumably from DDR, I guess ;-)

  6. When you’re out of beer
    you’ll die of thirst

  7. quack-duck

    Když chceš pivo píti
    musíš utopence míti

    one of my favourtes. Seen in a hospoda in Kutná Hora.

  8. quack-duck

    Když chceš pivo píti
    musíš utopence míti

    roughly translated

    if you want to drink beer
    you must have utopenci (=pickled sausages that go well with beer)

  9. Justin Quinn

    Translation of Vyskov sign, with added ingredient:

    Sit back and have another beer.
    Who knows what’s brewing outside here?

  10. Justin Quinn

    Do půlnoci u pěny, od půlnoci u ženy.
    On the suds until midnight; after twelve, on the wife.

    Till midnight suck on foam; past midnight, try your luck at home.

    Both of which skew the Czech towards sex.

  11. Radone

    If you live in Czech Republic and watch football regularly, please email at, for an interesting opportunity. Thank you.

  12. fonzi

    Another two from Jára Cimrman:

    Do hospody s umytýma nohama.
    – Wash your feet before you enter a pub.

    and the second one (which was written after tenth beer or so):
    Chlast = slast.
    – Booze = bliss. (sounds way better in Czech)

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