Evan Rail wrote a pretty interesting article in the NY Times about seeking the ultimate Czech beer on a tour. I’ve gone with my dad on one of these trips – one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.
As usual, such articles are prone to provoke debate about which beers are really, in the words of my good friend Denis Faye, “all that and a ham sandwich.”

The article points out a few of the Czech Republic’s great beers and a couple of microbreweries to boot, but as usual, people’s tastes differ, so I figured I’d add a couple of my favorite off-the-beaten-path beers to it, just to mix it up a little:

  • Žatec – Žatec is the Czech hops capital, so it isn’t much surprise that beer brewed there would be excellent. The trouble – or perhaps the challenge – is to get it on tap locally because it doesn’t seem to travel well. I tend to prefer dvanactkas myself (that’s how I roll), so I really liked their “Baronka”
  • Pivovarský dvůr, ChynÄ› – just outside of Prague, out near the airport, lies the village of ChynÄ› and the excellent, almost criminally overlooked Pivovarský dvůr. Great food, excellent kvasnicový pivo and proximity to Prague (maybe 10km from Prague 5 and 6) make this a great destination for a bike ride. Getting back, however, is always more difficult.
  • Holba – out in the Beskydy Mountains, they serve a lot of Holba. The Beskydy are a beautiful destination, regardless, but getting Holba on tap is a pretty good additional reason to go.
  • Platan – The town of Protivín owns the Platan brewery, which makes a tasty desítka. The thing about Platan is that it really travels poorly, so bottled Platan or even when it’s served on tap in Prague is a pretty bad calling card for the beer. Served locally, it’s one of my favorites. Another plus is that you can go from Plzeň to ÄŒeské budÄ›jovice via Protivín by taking the scenic route through the mountains and Strakonice.

Man, talking about all these beers makes me thirsty. And it makes me want to go on another one of these “Beer Hunter” tours.

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