I recently went on a trip with my wife and my parents to eastern Europe. Our first stop was Prague, near the birthplace of the pilsner. I did a little research before hand to find some craft breweries within the city and the top brewery on my list was Klášterní Pivovar Strahov. Easily the the most beautiful setting to any brewery that I’ve visited it’s located near the castle complex situated on the west side of the Vltava River overlooking the Old Town in Prague. After taking a tour of the castle grounds we were ready to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a cold beer on a very hot day.
The history of Europe boggles my mind compared to our relatively young country. The history of this brewery is no different. The area in which the current brewery is located in was built in the 12th century as the Strahov Monastery and the first record of a brewery on the site comes from the late 13th century. It wasn’t until the early 17th century that a new building was created to house a fully functioning brewery. In the year 1907 the brewery was closed and it wasn’t until the year 2000 that a major renovation effort was made to the whole complex. Then, in the spring of 2016, we arrived to take our small part in that long history.
After taking a short hike from the main gate of the Prague castle we arrived to the front gate of Strahov. It was a particularly hot day and we weren’t the only ones looking for a beer. The courtyard of the brewery was completely full, so we headed indoors to the restaurant and grabbed a table. The restaurant reminded me of a german beer hall with low curved ceilings and large wooden tables. The food options were hearty, and I had a pulled pork sandwich which was excellent. Their menu recommended beers based on the meal you ordered which really let me know that we were at a true craft brewery.
They had five beers on tap. Three were year round and two were seasonal. The year round selections were an Amber Lager, a Dark Lager, and an IPA. The seasonals were an American Pale Ale and a Weizen. I was able to try everything except the American Pale Ale since I figured I could get one of those back home! In a country known for their lagers those beers didn’t disappoint. The Dark Lager had roasted notes of toasted malt, deep brown in color, a light body, with a slightly dry finish. The Amber Lager was rich and full of flavor. It was hazy amber colored with a light body and a clean refreshing taste. I didn’t have a lot of their Weizen but it came in a beautiful glass and the taste I had was crisp and wheaty with a slightly sour aroma. My favorite beer was their IPA. It’s always interesting to try IPAs in places that aren’t necessarily known for them, but it’s a hard style to mess up. It was very balanced with a clean, malty, hop taste and a fruity, melon aroma. I’d recommend giving it a try if you’re ever in the neighborhood!
Overall I was pleasantly surprised at my introduction to craft beer in eastern Europe. Most of the other places we tried in which they brewed beer only had one or two options, usually a light lager and a dark lager. It was nice to find a place that had a little more to offer among their styles. If you can stand to wait I would recommend sitting outside in their courtyard. After our meal we did grab a hightop table to stand by and enjoy one last beer, but it would’ve been nice to have the entire meal outside. If you’re not concerned about being in the brewery itself there are restaurants near it with their beer on tap, some with great views of the city. If you’re ever in Prague hike up the hill and stop at Klášterní Pivovar Strahov; you won’t be disappointed!