Soak in a therapeutic lager bath at the Purkmistr Beer Spa in the Czech Republic


THEY love beer so much in the Czech Republic that they not only drink more of it than any other nation in the world, they also bathe in the stuff.

Which is why, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I’m sat naked in a larch tub wallowing up to my neck in lager.

 The Purkmistr Beer Spa, on the outskirts of Pilsen, lets guests take a bath in some of the Czech Republic's finest lager

5

The Purkmistr Beer Spa, on the outskirts of Pilsen, lets guests take a bath in some of the Czech Republic’s finest lager

It’s actually watered-down and heated to 35C with various herbs and enzymes that are supposed to do wonders for skin, hair and muscles.

But on a little table beside me at the Purkmistr Beer Spa, on the outskirts of the city of Pilsen, there is also a pint glass of cold, foaming lager.

And even better, there is a tap next to it so I can keep pouring more.

To be honest, I’ve barely been without a drink since arriving in this landlocked country. For tourist chiefs in South Bohemia have organised six different Beer Routes, where you can visit 38 breweries.

 The beautiful Brewery Hluboka have been making beer since the 15th century

5

The beautiful Brewery Hluboka have been making beer since the 15th century

But first you have to understand that, unlike most British beers, Czech ones should be poured with a big “two fingers” head of creamy foam on top.

There is a complicated scientific reason for this involving carbon dioxide and something called lipid transfer protein 1. But let’s just say it makes the beer taste better.

The breweries range from giants such as Budêjovickÿ Budvar — embroiled in a 77-year worldwide battle with American “upstart” Budweiser over who owns the trademark name — to the tiny prize-winning Krajinská 27 microbrewery nearby, where they first made beer in 1482.

READ  Getting fizzy with it: the Italian wine route that sparkles

But while Budvar exports 70 per cent of its production to 80 countries, down the road at the Brewery Hluboka, where they have been making beer since the 15th century, owner Michael Machákovi sells 70 per cent of his four unfiltered, unpasteurised lagers in the adjoining restaurant.

 Sample some of the country's finest beer during your visit

5

Sample some of the country’s finest beer during your visit

I tried them all over a delicious lunch of meat and dumplings before slowly strolling up the hill to Castle Hlunoká, a fairytale neo-Gothic building dating back to the 13th century.

Later it was on to the ultra-modern Glokner Brewery, opened in 2013, with seven beers piped directly into the adjoining pub and restaurant where again you dine in gut-busting style.

In the pretty little town of Trebon is the Bohemia Regent, founded in 1379, whose excellent lagers are now exported to Britain.

But one of the most interesting places to drink is the University of South Bohemia in Ceské Budejovice, where they not only teach brewing but also brew four barrels a week for students and visitors to their beer museum.

 Beer lovers have the chance to visit some of the countries oldest breweries

5

Beer lovers have the chance to visit some of the countries oldest breweriesCredit: Alamy

Tutor Dr Monika Brezinová explained how there were 1,570 breweries in the country at the start of the 20th century. Two world wars and the Soviet occupation saw that slashed to just over 300.

But a craft beer boom over the last decade has reversed the trend so there are now 480, 434 of them micro-breweries. They don’t just produce traditional lager, either.

READ  Pistes in our time: What’s new for the 2019-20 ski season

The American trend for IPAs has led to experiments with toast beer, onion beer and even a bitter-sweet marijuana beer, although Dr Brezinová quickly points out, it doesn’t use the hallucinogenic part of the plant.

One brew, Flamingo, contains astaxanthin, a powerful anti-oxidant which the makers boast has anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory effects, and all sorts of other health benefits. They even claim it is kind to your liver.

 Take a trip to Trebon, South Bohemia to admire the interesting architecture and colourful facades

5

Take a trip to Trebon, South Bohemia to admire the interesting architecture and colourful facadesCredit: Getty – Contributor

But no beer trip to the Czech Republic is complete without visiting Pilsen, a fascinating city which in 1842 lent its name to a new type of pale lager with the opening of the famous Pilsner Urquell brewery.

The country’s largest, it now produces three million litres every day. Just one of the 150 huge tanks outside contains so much beer you would need to sup ten pints a day for 164 years to empty it.

READ  Visit Thailand’s adorable isle of Koh Samui and its new elephant sanctuary

We were lucky enough to be in Pilsen during the annual Sun In A Glass beer festival, with 71 local microbreweries — and, oddly, a Guinness stall — doing a roaring trade, while a half-decent rock band played in the sunshine.

Buy a little quarter-pint glass for a quid, and you can sample most of the beers for about 30p each. Now that’s certainly worth Czeching out!

GO: CZECH REPUBLIC

GETTING THERE: Ryanair flies to Prague from Stansted, with fares from £10 one way. See ryanair.com.

OUT & ABOUT: See visitpilsen.eu and jiznicechy.cz/en.

MORE INFO: See czechtourism.com.

World’s largest beer festival, Oktoberfest, brings together thousands of people in Munich






READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here