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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