The Czech Beer Festival 2012

Enjoy a brew (or two, or three...) at this year's Beer Fest, May 17 - June 2 in Holešovice
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***COMPETITION***
Attention beer lovers! We have 10 Tolars worth 45 CZK each for two lucky winners who send the correct answer to the following question to comps@expats.cz: how many days, in total, does the Czech Beer Fest run for?
We will draw the winners on Wednesday afternoon.
….and the winners are… Lucy Wells & Guido Francoijs. Congrats!!

Ready or not, here it comes! The Czech Beer Festival is back. The 5th annual (admission free) festival is coming home in a sense, back to the Exhibition Center in Prague-Holešovice where it was first held in 2008. Many will be pleased not to have to make the journey to last year’s Letňany location. You will find the Exhibition Center at tram stop Výstaviště, accessible by trams 5, 12, 14, 15, 17, and night trams 53 and 54.
 
The massive exhibition center will provide seating for up to 10,000 people, and there will be 200 staff in national dress serving, pouring, and generally helping you enjoy the beer tent atmosphere. From 12:00 to midnight each day you will be able to choose from a huge selection of Czech beers along with food provided by Vyšehrad 2000 and Fastgood. For those looking to keep the party going, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there will be an after-party from midnight to 05:00 in Křižík pavilion C.
 
Running with the slogan “Czech Beer Connects”, there will be several themed events to celebrate minority groups and Czech communities from around the world. First, on May 21: Pink Monday, a day to honor the gay and lesbian community. Then, the entire weekend between May 25 – 27 is the Worldwide Meeting of Compatriots, dedicated to Czechs from all over the world coming together to drink Czech beer. Finally, on May 28, the Vietnamese community will be recognized with Dragon Day.

The festival will keep the beer flowing with its Tolar payment system. One Tolar is equal to 45 CZK (roughly 1.80 EUR/2.40 USD/1.50 GBP) and are sold in packs of 5, which can be bought at your table from your server. In the main tent, beer will be served in 1-liter mugs only and costs 2 Tolars.

For the sophisticated, the not-so-sophisticated, the geek, the enthusiast and the all-around beer lover, make your way to Křižík pavilion C where you will find a rotating selection of beers from Czech microbreweries and small regional breweries. If liter after liter gets to be a bit much in the main tent, this is where you can taste a wider range of styles, and pour size will be more civilized. You may end up spending a few more Tolars, but this will be compensated by selection and strength.

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Breweries to Watch For

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If you happen to get lost in the wide range of beers available, keep an eye out for these must tries: Únětice, my current favorite, has a 12º unfiltered světlé that is so well balanced and drinkable that I would be happy to sit back with few liters. Kout na Šumově is another outstanding brewer, some might even say the current best in the Czech Republic, and I would not put up a fight over that claim.

Pivovar Dvůr Chýně will also have a presence at the festival. Chýně is a little town just on the outskirts of Prague and makes a range of very good beers. I’m sure Chýně will bring a ležák to the party, but look out for some of their other offerings and you will be glad that you did.

The Pernštejn brewery in Pardubice is sure to bring out their bottom-fermented Baltic-style porter, which is worth a try, but can be found around Prague quite easily. If Pernštejn offers a wider selection, go for their very well made non-filtered kvasňák, my favorite from this brewer.

A few of the heavy hitters that you are sure to come across are Kocour, who seem to be taking over the world with their impressive lineup. You can’t go wrong with their Sumeček, 70 Quarterback, Stout and many more. I also expect Matuška to bring out their star-studded lineup; with beers like Raptor, California APA, and their Pšeničné, you’re sure to find one you can’t put down.

From Prague, I imagine you will see a few beers from the well established Pivovarský Dům. Hopefully even something from the many other brewpubs in Prague; this would be a great chance for the new (and quite good) Staroměstský Pivovar U Tří Růží to show off what they are doing and get a little exposure.

With the many exciting things that have been happening in Czech brewing the 2012 Czech Beer Festival proves to be the best one yet. Get out there and taste as many of the wonderful choices as possible. What beers are you most excited to try?

Key Information
 
Where: Exhibition Centre Prague-Holešovice
When: May 17 – June 2
Hours: 12:00 – Midnight
Admission: Free
Currency: Tolar (45 CZK = 1 Tolar)

Reservations: Private parties, travel agents and hotels can make reservations through the Czech Beer Festival website. Keep in mind that reservations are only accepted for parties of 6 or more and there is a fee of 2.00 EUR/2.50 USD per person; also 12 Tolars must be bought for each person.

See you there, and enjoy!


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