Prague Beer Capital of Europe
When in Prague, you need only ONE word: pivo and perhaps one more: pivnice. These two words are your passport to understanding Czech: beer and beer garden. Prague and beer go hand in hand. The Czechs drink an average of 150 liters beer per capita annually. This means that they are the biggest beer consumers in the world. It seems as if everyone has his own favourite beer: Pilsner, Budweiser and Budvar are the most popular. Each pivnice specializes in a particulal brand.
Prague-Now tip: Go on a beer sampling tour: try seven different types of beer and learn the rules for beer tasting: aroma, flavour, body and aftertaste.
When you order a beer in a Prague pivnice, you will always get a sturdy half-litre glass mug unless you ask for malé pivo, a small beer. Czechs tend to swallow it in gulps rather than sip it slowly and gracefully. As soon as your glass is empty, staff will ask if you want another. However, in ‘tourist traps’ a second glass is put in front of you without asking first. It is good to know that the beer garden need not be an OUTSIDE GARDEN, it is simply a place where you drink beer and socialize with the locals. A beer mat is used as an abacus, a vertical line for each glass of beer and when you have paid a horizontal line through the vertical ones.
Cheaper than Water
The price of pivo ranges from €1 to €4, depending on whether you are in the centre or on the outskirts of Prague. Where in the world is beer cheaper than soft drinks or mineral water? No wonder grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers and tourists all drink beer in a pivnice any time of the day. As in most cities tourists are easy prey. When a 0.4 liters mug is placed in front of you, you are sure to be in the wrong place. Only tourist-catching pubs serve this quanitity and of course at tourist prices!
Whether you drink Budvar, Pillsner Urquel, Flek, Kozel, or Staro Pramen: Na Zdravi, cheers!