How to drink beer like a true Czech regular

Beer is the most popular beverage in Bohemia, and you’re more likely to hear "Let's go for one!" than "How are you?" Unsurprisingly, the consumption of beer has developed its own set of social rules. How to really enjoy the amber nectar and not commit some dreadful faux pas though? That's the conundrum we'll tell you about in today's article. 

Ordering your beer 

There are so many types of Czech beer to choose from that we really need to cover them in a separate article. But for the moment, we can tell you what you can expect when you place an order. It’s quite common to find several types of beer on a drinks menu. As a rule of thumb, these are:

- pale 

- dark 

- non-alcoholic 

- flavoured

- and speciality beers 

You can also choose the size of the beer. A small beer (malé pivo) has a volume of 0.3 litres equivalent to roughly a half-pint, and a large beer (velké pivo) is 0.5 litres or a pint. Women generally prefer small beers, but this is not, by any means, an absolute rule. Light and dark draught beers are usually poured into a glass by the staff. Non-alcoholic or flavoured beers are often served in a bottle with a glass for you to pour yourself. We have one important tip for you: when you see the staff approaching with your beer, get a coaster ready on the table. This is mainly to protect the table from getting dirty, but it is also good manners.

The toast 

The beer sits glistening on the table and it's time for the toast. Wait until everyone has their glass of beer in front of them, ready to take the first sip. You now have two options:

- All of you symbolically raise your glass, giving everyone at the table your best smile and saying "Cheers!" (“Na zdraví!”). Or you can make the toast with the informal greeting, "Hello!" (“Ahoj”). It really depends on the type of company you find yourself in. 

- You can make a toast in a pub, but we usually avoid it in the restaurant. Men generally make quite a display of their toast while women are more inclined to gently tap the side of their glass instead.

- Occasionally, after the toast and before you drink, the glass is tapped on the tabletop. It's known here as grounding the pint. The gesture has no effect on the taste, of course, but it's a ritual way of saying “Cheers” to the house that marks you out as a true regular. 

Holding a pint of beer 

A pint is routinely served in a glass with a handle. Why? The beer is served cold and holding the body of the glass in your hand would heat it up unnecessarily. Did the staff bring you the beer in a tall glass? Then hold it as far down as possible. If the glass has a stem, hold it by the stem. Raise the glass, take a drink and then return it to the coaster. When you’re not drinking, don’t leave the beer in your hand to warm up.    

Czechs indulge in beer for refreshment and to feel a sense of companionship with others at the table. So, when you find yourself in such a gathering, watch how the others in your group behave. It's the same with dining. For instance, it isn’t appropriate for you to down your beer quickly while your companions are taking their time.  

“Tasting with us means drinking”

Ochutnat u nás znamená vypít! This popular saying comes from a well-known Czech fairy tale, S čerty nejsou žerty which translates loosely as Devils don’t muck about. And there's something in that. In Bohemia, it’s especially true that beer should be drunk wholly. After all, it is a national treasure, not one that should be squandered. So, if you think a pint is going to be too much for you, order a half instead. And drink it all, all the way to the bottom of the glass.  

Beer drinking etiquette for the ladies 

Proper ladies are elegant, and graceful. And so, they have slightly different rules for drinking beer than the men. What are they? For example:

- Ladies appreciate their beer for its flavour and as an accompaniment when dining. The ideal amount is when one does not yet feel its intoxicating effects and one is not yet drunk. 

-Ladies customarily drink only when their mouths are empty

- Beware the lipstick! Ladies remove their lipstick or alternatively, use a complimentary shade before taking a sip of their beer. Lip prints on a glass never leave a good impression. 

- Ladies gently pat their lips dry after taking a sip; they don’t use the back of their hand. 

If you can’t observe all these social rules when drinking, then nothing bad will happen. Czechs are really quite forgiving when it comes to small lapses in etiquette. The only important thing is that you can partake and enjoy the Czech national drink

You can also enjoy beer to your heart's desire at the Original Beer Spa Prague. Its consumption is unlimited here. Book your appointment and experience the true pleasure of the amber nectar. We look forward to seeing you. Na zdraví!

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