Pilsner Urquell Brewery
More than half a million visitors from around the entire world arrive at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery ever year to learn about the past and present of this global lager. That makes the Pilsner Urquell Brewery one of the top ten most visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic. Come and familiarize yourself with the legend, whose name is carried by more than 70% of the world’s beer.
Tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Beer from the Pilsner Urquell Brewery circulates to more than 50 countries around the world and as many as 11 million hectolitres are produced in its brewhouses every year. When you visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, you’ll get the chance to see both historic and present-day brewhouses and modern bottling plants with a capacity of 120,000 bottles per hour. You can then taste the ingredients from which the famous lager is made in an exposition dedicated to the senses. A labyrinth of hand-carved historic cellars, measuring an incredible 9 kilometres, will lead you down the path to some much welcomed refreshment in the form of unfiltered and unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell beer. It’s here you will find barrels of lager made of oak from which your fresh beer will be drawn.
Apart from the traditional tours, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery also offers a diverse range of experience programmes. One of the most popular is the Pilsner Urquell Draft Beer Workshop, where you can master the correct principles of beer tapping, taught by experienced barmen, during this three-hour course. The Brewery even offers you the chance to rent a place for yourself in a traditional “šalanda” (a room where beer workers once ate and rested). In addition, you will find a brand-name gift shop located on the premises. These same gifts may also be purchased at the Tourist Information Centre on the main city square (Republic Square), which is the ideal place to get your hands on some souvenirs from Pilsen.
A tradition of breweries
The first beers were made as soon as the city of Pilsen was founded in 1295. In was then that the Czech king Wenceslaus II granted some of Pilsen’s city homes the right to brew. This financially lucrative prerogative allowed its holders to sell beer in their own homes. The top-fermented beers, however, came in varied levels of quality. Allegedly, the reproach about the unsatisfactory standard of these beers went so far as to have 36 barrels of beer poured out on the city square in 1838. The effort to better the quality of their beer led the Pilsen brewers to the idea of founding a new brewery and calling in a brewmaster who would produce a beverage with a delicious, new taste.
The birth of a world-famous, light beer
Thus, in 1842, the Bavarian brewmaster Josef Groll arrived in Pilsen, where he received a simple task. Brew a high-quality, tasty beer. Groll got to work, and on the 5th of October 1842, the first batch of Pilsen lager saw the light of day. According to the story, the beer tasted so extraordinary that even the brewmaster himself was surprised. All that’s important is that he laid the foundation of beer so good that this bottom-fermented Pilsner lager quickly grew in popularity, not only in Pilsen, but far beyond the city’s borders as well.