Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Tag: beer festivals

A Belgian Beer Festival in Prague, 23-25 October

God bless the good souls over at Svět Piva and the Mandarin Oriental: this month brings another big beer event, this time focusing on the land of Cantillon. From Friday, October 23, through Sunday, October 25, the hotel will host a Belgian beer festival called “Belgium in the Glass and on the Plate,” sponsored in part by the Flanders Tourism Information Office.

The early details:

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The Slunce ve Skle Beer Fest 2009

If you couldn’t make it to the Slunce ve skle beer festival last Saturday in Plzeň, here’s a YouTube video from the day. In a word: Awesome.

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Czech Beer Festival and More


On Friday, the Czech Beer Festival kicked off at Letňany exhibition grounds (last year’s version is pictured above). It’s fair to say that there was some chaos at the opening: when Velký Al from Fuggled and I arrived a half hour after things got started at 3 p.m., there was only one beer available on tap. Tent #6, which was supposed to have Kout and other indies, had nothing going. Nor did any other tent besides #3. It sounds impossible: at a beer festival, beer fans were going thirsty.

But within an hour or so, the situation righted itself. Several great beers from Náchod’s Pivovar Primátor started flowing, including the brewery’s new 11° pale lager. Within a short while we were even sampling Kout na Šumavě 10°, a desítka with as much character as most 12° beers in these parts.

It’s very different from last year’s festival in that there is no entry fee. Most beers are 40 crowns, though this year the strong beers, like Jihlava’s 18° Jihlavský Grand, are served in .3-liter glasses, which makes far more sense than serving them by the pint. You definitely should check it out before the festival closes on May 31.

But there’s more.

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UPDATE: The Christmas Beer Markets 2008

There’s more information about the Christmas Beer Markets taking place next weekend, December 20, 21 and 22, right here in Prague. Not only will some of the best Czech brewers bring their holiday and seasonal specials to the capital, but next weekend’s festival will also include a handful of great names in brewing from around Europe.

If you’re at all interested in craft beer, you won’t want to miss a single one of the festival’s just-announced foreign brews.

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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.

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Czech Beer Fest Update

Max Bahnson has an interesting post about the opening ceremonies and the first day at the Czech Beer Festival, along with some good insight and opinions on what works and what doesn’t. Please read.

From where I sat, the first day seemed to go very well, especially given the scale of the event and the fact that this year’s is the first. There were some great beers that are never seen on draft in Prague. There was a friendly, festive atmosphere with lots of catching up. Honza Kočka from Pivovar Kocour Varnsdorf dropped by. Tomáš Erlich from SPP showed up with friends from Poland’s Bractwo Piwne (still in town from the recent Days of Polish Beer at Pivovarský klub).

The most rewarding thing? To my eyes, the beers from small producers were by far the most popular.

But it turned out I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The next morning, I got a call from the festival organizers.

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30 Great Brews: The Czech Beer Festival Beer List

A couple of days ago, we wondered out loud what beers would be present at the first annual Czech Beer Festival, which takes place 23 May–1 June 2008. As we asked then,

Will Janáček serve its Comenius? Will Jihlava offer Jihlavský Grand? Or will it all be 10° and 12° světlý ležák, the pale lagers that dominate 95% of all local consumption?

We now have the answers: Yes, Yes, and No!

Color us at least slightly impressed: We’ve just received the finalized beer list from the organizers and not only are Jihlavský Grand and Comenius ready to be tapped, but several other great brews from small producers should also be waiting for you over at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds. (We also have a 3-D map diagram thingy you can print up to help plan your session.)

Here are the beers that are supposed to be there, organized by tent and/or brewing group.

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More on the Czech Beer Festival

In just nine days, the first annual Czech Beer Festival takes its shot at establishing a springtime Oktoberfest in Bohemia. Not only are the first advertisements starting to show up, but I’ve just received confirmation that the beer list has expanded well beyond Pilsner Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen. In fact, it seems a slew of smaller producers will be represented.

According to the organizers, the beers on tap now include 16 brands. First, the usual suspects:

  • Budvar
  • Pilsner Urquell (SABMiller)
  • Kozel (SABMiller)
  • Gambrinus (SABMiller)
  • Radegast (SABMiller)
  • Staropramen (InBev)
  • Ostravar (InBev)
  • Braník (InBev)

That leaves us with nine smaller producers, some of which are rather unusual picks. (As in there’s no Bernard.) Witness the fitness:

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Get Ready for the Czech Beer Festival 23.5–1.6


Around the Czech Republic, pivní slavnosti — beer festivals — regularly bring big crowds to brewery grounds, city halls and convention centers. And yet they often have a few problems: the ones in Prague usually only serve one kind of beer. The ones on brewery grounds usually serve their brews only, and only in cheap plastic cups. And the festivals with a variety of beers usually take place in remote locations.

Enter the Czech Beer Festival, set for its maiden voyage this spring. Taking place May 23 through June 1, the Czech Beer Festival will bring in beer from a variety of producers to vast tents set up at Prague’s Výstaviště exhibition grounds, the same place that held Prague’s Christmas Beer Markets, only in a slightly different area and on a much, much larger scale. As in: employing more than 200 servers. Some 100,000 custom-designed beer tokens, produced expressly for the festival by the Czech mint and together weighing over 1,000 kilos — more than a long ton — will be put into circulation. There will be seating for at least 10,000 guests, as well as plenty of standing room under the trees. At any given time, two large bulls will be roasting on spits. And there will even be a beer for dogs.

“We want to create something like Oktoberfest,” said Jan Hübner, the festival’s organizer. “Only with Czech beer.”

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