Will Travel for Beer: A Trip to Pilsner Urquell
With less than 100 km separating Max and I from the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, the decision of whether or not to visit the prestigious brewery and home of the first golden pilsner was an easy one. Each country has its history and traditions and an important part of the Czech tradition is beer, particularly Pilsner.
I opted for the guided trip from Martin Tour that provided transportation from Old Town Square in Prague directly to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in the nearby town of Pilsen. Also included was a guided tour in English of the brewery, a historical overview of the Czech Republic on the bus and come to find out, a Pilsner souvenir glass.
The hour and a half bus ride flew by between the history lesson and the beautiful scenery. We were soon pulling through the infamous double arched gates that have been present on the Pilsner label since 1842.
The ticket office is a former malthouse and provides replicas of what the old brewery workshops looked like.
Meeting up with our guide, we were given an overview of the brewery from its beginnings in 1842 prior to boarding the bus to the packaging hall. The full-length glass windows allow for a glimpse into the bottling process of the factory. The capacity of 60,000 bottles an hour will leave your head spinning as you follow the bottles along the conveyor belt.
Following our tour of the bottling production, we were taken to the Old Brewing Hall, which now serves as a type of museum. There is a cinematic production on a revolving platform in addition to an interactive exhibit of the four ingredients of beer, barley, yeast, hops and water.
After understanding the Pilsner production and history, it was time to visit the caves underneath the brewery. We had been warned (and had forgotten) to bring jackets so the 8°C (46°F) was certainly a blast of cold air. Lining the cellars are the barrels where the beer ferments and matures and part of the tour is getting to taste the unpasteurized and unfiltered Pilsner straight from the barrels.
If you find yourself in Prague and are a fellow beer aficionado, the trip to Pilsen to visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery is worth the half day trip! To stand in the spot where Pilsner has been brewed since 1842 is fascinating and a trip down to the caves is a unique experience to try Pilsner in its purest form.
To reach Pilsen from Prague is an hour and a half by bus through Martin Tour or two hours by train. The train station in Pilsen is only a short walk from the brewery. The guided tour of Pilsner takes approximately an hour and half and the entrance fee is CZK 150 (~ $8).