Beer is a traditional Czech beverage. It is said that the average Czech drinks about 300 pints of beer annually. That means close to six beers a week. But how did beer appear in the Czech Republic and what was its journey?
Beer is as old as civilization itself. One of the first mentions of beer indicates that it probably came from the North Caucasus. Here, archaeologists found 5,500-year-old drinking straws. At first it was thought that these were sceptres or decorative supports for a canopy. Only a chemical analysis of the inside of the tubes revealed the truth. The traces of barley starch within suggested they were probably festive straws for drinking beer from a large communal vessel.
The tradition of drinking beer was introduced to Bohemia by the Slavs during the Migration of Nations. At first, beer was brewed only in monasteries, where hops were also later grown. One of the first monasteries associated with beer is the Benedictine monastery in Břevnov, which was built in 993 by bishop Vojtěch.
Beer production in Bohemia eventually expanded beyond the monasteries and it found such popularity among the middle classes that even the nobility became interested in it. In the 16th century, laws had to intervene in disputes between the common people and the nobility. In 1517, therefore, the Treaty of St Wenceslas was issued, which put an end to the monopoly of the townspeople on brewing beer.
Beer is so popular in the Czech Republic that people cannot imagine life without it. For example, Prince Soběslav I. had ordered a weekly allowance of a bucket of beer and honey for each of the officials (the canons) in Vyšehrad. In old records it is also written that even the lowest servants of the Ostrov Monastery were served bread, cheese, and beer for breakfast. And what about beer today? Beer is still one of the most popular Czech drinks. No wonder. It is often cheaper than water in restaurants.
The largest number of breweries was in Bohemia and Moravia in the 16th century. Everyone drank beer at the time. Beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since that time, beer has been called liquid bread (tekutý chleba). Another very important milestone in the history of brewing is the year 1842. Why? This was the year that the Burghers’ Brewery in Pilsen was founded. And after the fall of communism there was an expansion of the brewing industry, in recent years microbreweries have also flourished.
Beer in the Czech Republic is so popular that we even bathe in it. Try it for yourself. Beer yeast has a beneficial effect on the skin and the hop and peat extracts have soothing, moisturising, and tonic effects. Apart from the unlimited beer on tap, what else awaits you at the Original Beer Spa?
- a bath of beer in a whirlpool oak tub
- a bed of wheat straw for resting
- a private sauna
- oak pails for cooling
- fresh homemade beer bread (pivní chléb)
Book your extraordinary experience and enjoy the effects of beer to the fullest. We look forward to seeing you in the heart of Prague.