Prague Castle festival offers best of craft beer

Prague Castle is hosting a two-day festival of mini breweries. The annual event, which kicks off on Friday afternoon, will offer the cream-of-the-crop of Bohemian and Moravian producers as well as three Austrian mini brewers. Altogether, visitors can taste 130 different kinds of beer.

Illustrative photo: Khalil BaalbakiIllustrative photo: Khalil Baalbaki Over the past few years, Czech mini breweries have experienced a boom. There are currently over 430 mini brewers in the country and their number keeps growing. Czech mini brewers produce around 400,000 hectolitres of beer a year, which amounts to around two percent of the country’s overall beer production.

In the course of the festival, visitors to Prague Castle will get the chance to sample beer produced by mini breweries all around the country. Jan Šuráň is the president of the Czech-Moravian Union of Mini Brewers, which organises the festival:

“We established the festival seven years ago to present beer from mini brewers to the public, because there were not that many small breweries at the time. It is a beer tasting event rather than a festival. When you arrive, you will get a glass of your own and you can start tasting different sorts of beer.

Jan Šuráň, photo: Alžběta Švarcová / Czech RadioJan Šuráň, photo: Alžběta Švarcová / Czech Radio “This year there will be 66 breweries from around the country, from Varnsdorf in North Bohemia to Dolní Bojanovice in South Moravia. There will also be samples of the Vienna lager, so I am really looking forward to comparing the Czech and Austrian production.”

One of the Czech Republic’s first mini breweries was established in 1993 in Bělčice nad Orlicí near Hradec Králové. Today, we can find small breweries all around the Czech Republic, including Mikulov and Hodonín the winemaking region of South Moravia and Luční bouda in Krkonoše, which is the highest situated brewery in Central Europe.

According to Mr. Šuráň of the Czech-Moravian Union of Mini Brewers, the biggest advantage of mini breweries is that they produce fresh beer that doesn’t need to be filtered or pasteurised and therefore it tastes better.

So what are the latest trends in the production of Czech mini breweries? Jan Šuráň once again:

The Mini-Brewery festival at Prague Castle gets underway on Friday afternoon and runs until Saturday evening. You can find more information at pivonahrad.cz.

“The sector of mini breweries is really lively and trends are changing really fast. A few years ago it was India Pale Ale, a very bitter beer, which is still popular today.

“What is becoming popular these days is the so-called Sour Beer and there is also a new trend of Barrel Aged Beer, a beer that ages in bourbon or whiskey barrels, so the production is really very varied.”