Just a 2-hour-drive from Nuremberg lays Pilsen (Plzeň), a city of 170,000 in Bohemia - the Eastern part of Czech Republic. As its name implies it is the birthplace of the well-known Pilsner beer. Beer has been brewed here for over 700 years now but the Pilsner beer we know today wasn’t created until 1842. Back then, as a result of shoddy beer quality in Pilsen, much of which had been disposed of quite radically by unsatisfied customers, the German brewer Josef Groll was invited to the country to up the standards of brewing. The results of the altered ingredients as well as the new brewing and storage techniques was perceived as spectacular and did not only appeal to the palate of the locals but quickly spread throughout the whole continent and later on the whole world. Little has been changed since and the Pilsner beer you can drink today will almost taste as it did 200 years ago.
For us Pilsen is a lovely day trip from Germany being in the vicinity of northern Bavaria. And unlike Prague the town is actually easily navigable by car as well. There’s a lovely old town with several sights of its own plus pristine surroundings and a surprisingly nice zoo but apparently it’s the beer sights that are the main drag – and highly recommended. We really enjoyed the tour of the huge Pilsner Urquell brewery which includes stunning insights into the modern brewing process of one of the most famous beers in the world.
Written by Anna-Barbara Schmidt