Not many people know that the good king — a title conferred upon the Duke of Bohemia posthumously — is considered the patron saint of another revered symbol of the Czech lands: beer.
Because Bohemian hops were so valuable, Wenceslas decreed the death penalty for anyone caught exporting the cuttings, widely endearing himself to local hop growers and brewers.
The Czech Brewery and Malt Association annually celebrates this blessed day for beer lovers by organizing a Days of Czech Beer (Dny českého piva) where breweries nationwide tap St. Wenceslas specials in his honor.
Dozens of breweries and microbreweries have prepared events, brewing tours, tastings, and competitions. The list of participating breweries and individual beer specials (including a map of Prague locations that will be serving Wenceslas-themed brews) can be found at www.dnyceskehopiva.cz.
The event kicks off Wednesday, September 26 and runs through Sunday, September 30th.
Organizers say this year’s festival is more important than ever; with domestic beer consumption down they hope to promote draft beer while reviving Czech pub culture.
Our pick of the Days of Czech Beer locations?
Svijany has brewed a special batch of Dux beer for the occasion, a thick, dense amber that will be served at the Svijany chateau accompanied by a beer-themed fashion show, while Staropramen is getting in on the act early in Prague with a brewery open day this coming Saturday.
The history of brewing beer has a thousand-year tradition in the Czech lands. The oldest brewery was founded in Břevnov monastery under the rule of Prince Boleslav II at the end of the 10th century.