During my recent day trip to Pilsen I got to tick something special off my travel bucket list – a Pilsner Urquell brewery tour. This historic spot was the birthplace of Pilsner, my favourite type of beer…and I got to sample it from the source. Here’s how that awesome day went:
As I passed through the gates on my Pilsner Urquell brewery tour I got chills. The arches I had stepped through are the very same found on every Pilsner Urquell bottle. This put a smile on my face and made me feel, in some odd way, that I was home. I had dreamt about this moment since my first sip of Pilsner Urquell and now it had arrived. As you can tell this was not like visiting the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam, SAB in Cape Town, or Miller in Milwaukee for me. Yes, those were awesome but this Pilsner Urquell brewery tour was so much more.
What makes Pilsner Urquell so Special?
I suppose I should explain what makes this Pilsner Urquell brewery tour special to me and the world. Beyond the crisp and distinct taste, drinking it will forever remind me of the first time I visited the Czech Republic and how much fun I had. From floating down a lazy river in Cesky Krumlov to playing guitar with new friends, and celebrating after being lost in the Old Quarter in Prague, Pilsner Urquell was there. Drinking it will forever remind me of these simple and fun times.
As for what sets Pilsner Urquell apart from other beer – it is light, bitter, and golden in colour thanks a recipe that has remained unchanged since 1842. It was created after the city of Pilsen was fed up with poor quality beer. This anger boiled over in 1838 when 36 barrels of bad beer was destroyed and emptied into the city streets. That is commitment to quality.
It is also the grandfather of beer as 9 out of 10 beers consumed are derived from its original recipe and process.
After registering at the modern welcome center my Pilsner Urquell brewery tour began with boarding a Pilsner branded bus and heading to the modern-day brewery. This space, although impressive, is like any other massive brewery floor. I was more interested in what was next door as well as underneath it all.
After a Pilsner Urquell brewery tour of the modern facility we moved onto the historic facility next door. This is where the original pilsner was first made in large quantities.
Beneath it all
After a modern interactive display and a short film (much like what you will find at the Heineken Experience) on how water, hops, and barley are used in the brewing process, our Pilsner Urquell brewery tour moved underground. There we wandered a series of tunnels and wound up in an area with large oak barrels filled with Pilsner Urquell. Delicious, golden, unfiltered and unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell – and we got to sample it. The special brew, made exactly how it was over 170 years ago, is something you can only get in Pilsen…and it’s a beautiful thing.
As you can imagine, tasting this unfiltered and unpasteurized version of Pilsner Urquell blew my mind. Man tears may have formed, but there was no time for that. Our Pilsner Urquell brewery tour continued with a visit to the old ice room and then, just like that, our time was up. We had one more pint of unfiltered Pilsner at the bar and said a sad goodbye.
The Last Drop
Although this stop was a special one for me, it should be on every beer lovers bucket list. Pilsen in itself is worth a day trip from Prague as it has much to offer and gets you away from the hordes of tourists in Praha. A Pilsner Urquell brewery tour is tops on what to do in town and should not be missed.
Thank you Pilsner Urquell. Touring your brewery has already added to my fond memories of the Czech Republic and has solidified why I love your beer so much.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour Good to Know
Tour cost: 199 CZK
Tour times: Limited in English so be sure to check ahead!
Don’t Miss: Pilsner unfiltered and unpasteurized straight from the source!
What say you?
Thoughts on this Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour?
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— Pilsner Urquell Brewery on Twitter —
Although I was provided a complimentary Pilsner Urquell brewery tour from Czech Tourisim,
the experience, opinions, and several pints from the source are my own.