Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Tag: vessels

Traditional Czech Beer Vessels and Thoughts on Beer Culture


In the Czech lands, the typical serving unit for beer is a půllitr, a half-liter glass just a nudge beyond an American pint in volume and weighing in around .88 imperial pints. That is the normal beer for grown-ups, while our most common small portion is .3 liters, or just a hair over a British half. Occasionally you might see a one-liter vessel called a tuplák, much like the Maß served in Munich at Starkbierzeit. Some brewpubs serve their beer in meager .25- and .4-liter portions, and some, like Brno’s Pegas, offer a standard portion of .6 liters (over 20 U.S. ounces).

But regardless of size, Czech beer is generally served in just one material: glass. Of course it wasn’t always this way. In historical terms the traditional Czech vessel was not the see-through půllitr, but rather the korbel (above), usually made out of clay.

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Bamberger Zwergla


There’s a lot more to Bamberg than just Rauchbier — the town is said to produce brews in some 50 different styles, including the buzz-worthy U, aka Ungespundetes, an “uncorked” or “unbunged” style of Kellerbier best-known in the versions from Mahr’s and Spezial, as well as very good wheats from places like Kaiserdom. If you’re tempted to take something home with you, the very last chance before you leave town is a small shop in the train station with bottles of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier as well as one of the local oddballs: Zwergla from Brauerei Fässla.

The Fässla pub was one of my favorites on my first trip to Bamberg, if only for the atmosphere, as I got caught up in conversations with the Stammgäste there. And while Zwergla’s “Lil’ Dwarf” moniker is fairly distinctive, I couldn’t remember ever trying it. Grabbing a bottle in the Bahnhof, I figured I’d check out what I missed and compare it to some beers from back home.

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