Thursday, April 09, 2009
Of Prague: Or at least nearby Plzen
Our friends who we met in Prague had a car with them, spending their vacation driving around Germany mostly. Once the car was parked, it needed to mostly stay parked, so we took but one day trip outside the city. After a few days of mostly sitting olde-style beer halls and drinking delicious Czech beer, there was only one option for a day trip: Go to a small town and drink delicious Czech beer. So it was that we found ourselves in Plzen, town for which Pilsener beer around the world is named, and more specifically home of Pilsner Urquell. We took a tour of their facility, which has some very cool old copper tanks they don't use any more, and some big modern copper tanks they do use, and a big modern bottling facility. And a silly movie about how great their ingredients are and how dedicated to quality their brewmaster is, just like the movie you see at Miller brewery in Milwaukee.
It was fine, but seemed maybe not to have been worth the drive, until the tour went down into the labyrinth of huge cellars where they used to cool the beer in casks in the olden days, before refrigeration was quite so easy. They still make some unfiltered, unpasteurized beer there, using the olden days methods, of which beer paying visitors are allowed a small sample. Surely the atmosphere added a bit, drinking in a hand-dug cavern full of giant barrels of beer and creepy recently added electric lighting and cooling systems, but it was maybe one of the tastiest dixie cups of beer your correspondent has ever tasted. We went out for a meal in the town of Plzen just afterwards, but the Pilsner Urquell tasted about the same there as it did in Prague.
The above picture, by the way, was taken illicitly without flash while the tour guide wasn't looking. Please don't tell on us.