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Walls, strongly built
City fortifications belong among the oldest of city monuments. They are the evidence of their importance and the social standing of their citizens, proof of their construction and organisational abilities.
Beer is one of the oldest drinks known to mankind. In Bohemia beer was always made from malt, hops and water and everybody that had the opportunity and the raw materials could brew it, i.e. the feudal lords and church dignitaries. Many royal towns were established in the 13th century with various privileges, and one of the greatest was the right to brew beer. In the 14th century, the brewing and malting trades were separated from each other and two different guilds were created
Where there's beer, there's happiness!
Czechs like to think that their beer is the best in the world, and those that don't agree with them should come and taste it. Czech beer tends to be more full-bodied and bitterer than foreign brews, and usually arouses the desire for more. There are many different types of beer. Apart from the famous brews such as Pilsner Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen, there are also many local brands each with their own specific taste. In the past, for example in the 18th century, there were more than 1,200 brands. Today there are fifty. You can visit most of the breweries and taste their beer at the very source. There are also about twenty restaurants with their
own micro-breweries, where you can follow the brewing process for yourselves. Maybe the most famous is U Fleků, which has been brewing beer since the year 1499.
Those interested in beer can acquaint themselves with its production, history and traditions in museums of brewing. The most well known is in Plzeň. The museum is in the city centre in a brewery house. It is advisable to link a visit to the museum with the Beer World project, which includes a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery. There are also museums of brewing in Chodová Planá and in the U Fleků brewery restaurant.
For several years now Czechs have held the world record in the amount of beer consumed per head of the population. They drink on average 160 litres a year, that is thirty litres more than the second biggest beer-drinkers, the Germans. The Czechs gained this title after the division of Czechoslovakia.
The first school of brewing in the world was founded in this country at the end of the 18th century. Since 1816 there has been a university-level college of brewing, and since 1868 also a secondary vocational school specialising in brewing.
Plzeň is the recognised birthplace of Pilsner lager, which the whole world has sought to copy. Indeed, there are hundreds of beers in the world using the name Pils, Pilsner or Pilsener. However, the world's first and only original and authentic Pilsner is Pilsner Urquell. Beer-lovers from all over the world come to Plzeň, which has become something of a brewing Mecca. Another famous beer-producing region is South Bohemia, which has justifiably become known as a very hospitable region. The most famous brewery in the region is Budvar in České Budějovice.
During the summer, there are beer festivals and festivities in many towns and cities across Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The most popular are those in Plzeň and České Budějovice, but there are many other events organised by the smaller breweries in the other regions.
Beer cycling routes
Beskydy Radegast Cycling Track, 53.3 km - a circuit taking in 40 pubs and restaurants devised by the Radegast brewery. It begins and ends in Nošovice. The highest point of the route is at Malá Prašivá at a height of 706 metres above-sea-level. Otherwise the route leads through an easily negotiable landscape by the Žermanice and Těrlicko reservoirs in the foothills of the Beskydy Mountains. The route links up to the Těšín Silesia Euroregion international cycling route and the Beskydy-Carpathian route. There are information boards, bicycle stands, free maps and even postcards of the pubs where you will also get a stamp to prove you have been there.
South Bohemian beer routes - these are recommended signposted routes, which can be taken with the help of special maps for this very purpose.
Types of beer:
alcohol-free - max. 0.5 % alcohol
low alcohol - max. 1.2% alcohol
light - max. 7°
tap - max. 8-10°
lager - max. 11-12°
special - min 13°
porter - min 18°, black
° indicates the extract content in the wort (in %)
yeast - fermenting wort is added to finished beer before bottling or barrelling
flavoured - with the addition of flavouring, spirit or other alcoholic drink (up to10 per cent max.)
pale - made from pale malt
dark and tawny - made with addition of roasted malt
top-fermented - produced using yeast for top fermentation
bottom-fermented - almost all domestic beer is made by bottom fermentation, making them thinner and lighter in colour.