Beer, Czech specialties, a visit to the brewery, beer, a walk through Plzen, more beer… that’s how your weekend looks like if you decide to go to beer festival in Czech Plzen in mid October! Better leave your child at home because even though Czechs often come with children, it’s mainly an adult attraction! We visited Plzen thanks to Pilsner Urquell,who invited us here and therefore we left Maks with his grandparents! There’s not much of tradition behind beer festival in Plzen – just a few years – but the famous brewery has been around for many, many years.

We arrive in Czech Republic early morning, by an plane flight from Warsaw. One, two, three, we get our luggage and jump on a bus to Plzen. We’re staying at Angelo Hotel Pilsen. If you ever decide to come here for the festival – that’s the place to stay! The brewery and the festival ground are just a footbridge away which makes it easy to make a little pause anytime or have a beer or some Czech street food even at midnight.. Like we did!

The festival in Plzen(Pilsner Urquell Fest) takes place in early October (4-5 October) and commemorates an important event – first brewed batch of Pilsner Urquell.


We start our visit to Plzen from the brewery and its mysterious cellars.. The thing we remember the most is the specific scent present in the brewery and around in the city too.


Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, brewery, beer

visiting the famous brewery


Plzen, Pilsner Urquell, beer festival, brewery

what a scent!


Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, beer festival, beer, brewery

Pilsner Urquell in large quantities!


beer, Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, brewery, visiting the brewery


Plzen has been associated with beer for many years! A brewery established by king Wanceslaus II who gave the citizens the right to brew beer, was operating as soon as 1295. In 13th century, brewing guilds emerged – its members passed the knowledge and brewing techniques to one another. Plzen was becoming more and more specialised in beer production but beer lovers complained about quality problems. As a punishment, brewers had to spill the beer on the market square from time to time in order to apologise for low quality. When the citizens got really mad, they could spill several dozen barrels of beer in protest! All these events lead to the city establishing a modern brewery in Plzen, thus producing better quality beer. The architect who was in charge of the brewery construction, discovered a young brewer who was to change the way the beer was brewed in Plzen: he’s name was Josef Groll and he came from Bayern.


Groll brought one of Bavarian secrets with him – local brewers fermented beer in cold Alpine caves – the danger of contamination was lower while lower temperatures made the yeast fall to the bottom of the vats and become more stable. These were the beginnings of low fermentation known as lager today. Bavarian secrets resulted in tunnels being dug in new brewery in Plzen. The tunnels were very deep beneath the ground in order to reflect the climate of Alpine caves. Walking through the tunnels may take a while as they are 9 km long altogether!


Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, beer, brewery

like an Alpine cave!


Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, beer, brewery, beer festival in Plzen

let’s try it!


Groll brewed his first beer on 5th October! Reportedly, it tasted great! To honour him, beer festival is held in the beginning of October and we took part in it this year!


Even though Pilsner Urquell Invited us and Pilsner beer was definitely the main theme (it was delicious!), we couldn’t resist and spent these two days looking for Czech delicacies!


What we found the most tempting, was street food served from the stands during the festival… they had haluski with sauerkraut and bacon, ‘brambory’ with onion and sausage with tomato sauce or cabbage pancakes. I have to say that brambory (potatoes) with onion were quite disappointing and the sausage in tomato sauce turned out to be just a sliced wiener of a mediocre quality covered with tomato concentrate. No ‘something’ that makes you get emotional about the meal a week, two weeks or a few months after trying it! Fortunately trdelnik was as good as ever – it may not be the best beer snack, but it’s warm, sweet and smells amazing!


We had the best street food snack in Plzen at night, when the festival was full of survivors staggering around. It was after midnight when we got hungry. We found a tiny stand with thin sausages that were almost black. The guy heated them up over the heater and then wrapped it in a hot pancake with garlic sauce! Amazing! It’s a pity we haven’t took any pictures nor written the name of it! But if you ever come upon it, try it!


street  food, Czech Republic, Plzen, beer festival,

Czech street food – ‘brambory’


haluski, Czech Republic, street food, beer festival, Plzen, Pilsner Urquell

haluski with sauerkraut and bacon


Czech Republic, Plzen, beer festival, cabbage pancakes, Pilsner Urquell

cabbage pancakes – we didn’t try them but they sound interesting!


Plzen, Pilsner Urquell, beer festival, street food

unfortunately a street food disappointment 🙁


Czech Republic, Plzen, trdelnik, beer festival

trdelnik – very popular in Czech Republic


A Czech feast awaited us on the second day as well, when we left Plzen for Prague. From the beginning, we hoped to visit Lokal, our favourite place with Czech food in Prague! We got a bit sad when we heard that we’re going to have about 15 minutes of so called free time.. but it soon turned out that:

<a) our guide is a really funny guy, /p>

b) dinner was supposed to take place in one of the LOKAL restaurants (there’s a few of them in Prague and we highly recommend them!).


What Czech specialties should you try visiting PLZEN and/or PRAGUE?


BEER is an obvious number 1. PILSNER of course! 🙂 Served in one of 4 ways: hladinka, cochtan, mliko or snyt.

Mliko is the most surprising way as beer served like this equals a glass filled mostly with foam instead of actual beer. And they always told you to pour so there’s as little foam as possible! ‘Mliko’ looks like real milk and the foam is very tender and creamy. They say it should be drank in one go – not my thing then! 😉 Regular beer looks more like hladinka – mostly beer with just bit of foam. Czochtan is the most surprising one – poured quickly, no foam at all, reportedly for real beer gourmands.


hladinka, mliko, Prague, Lokal, Pilser Urquell, beer

hladinka and mliko



But there’s more to life than beer. Number 2 in delicacies category?… everybody knows it: SMAZENY SYR, HRANOLKY and TATARSKA OMACKA! I loved smazeny syr ever since I was little and we used to go skiing to Slovakia with my friend. It tasted the best on the slope! At Lokal we eat smazeny syr without French fries but with mashed potatoes with onion. Delicious! I don’t remember eating so tasty potatoes ever before!


smazeny syr, Praga, Lokal, Czech food, Pilsner Urquell

smazeny syr – without hranolky, with amazing potatoes!



These are the basics, but it’s worth trying less popular Czech specialties! ‘Talian’ sausage with creamy horseradish and mustard will work great as a beer snack. Same goes for spicy hermelin, which you could easily make at home if you like it! Hermelin is a camembert cheese marinated in oil or olive oil with herbs, hot pepper and onion for a dozen days or so. Tastes great with beer! At home you just need a sliced camembert and the rest of the ingredients and a jar with mouth wide enough! Put it in and you’re done!


The most intriguing beer snack during our lunch was ‘beer cheese’. The dish looked more like a paste than cheese and consisted of Radamer cheese, onion and paprika. All ingredients were mixed into a paste (or a pulp) which made most of us say: ‘Yuck, take it away!’. We, on the other hand, ate the whole portion and beer cheese turned out to be one of the best shots of our lunch – distinct, a bit spicy on the tongue, a bit smelly too but is it really something bad for cheese? Try it if you’re not afraid and tell us if there’s something wrong with us! 😉


talian, Czech cuisine, Praga, Lokal

Talian – to try at Lokal


hermelin, ser, Czech cuisine, Lokal, Prague, Pilsner Urquell,



Filled with food, hladinka and mliko, we returned to Warsaw on Sunday evening, once again convinced that Czech Republic is worth visiting from time to time! 🙂 Because of smazeny syr, beer, Prague, a walk through Charle’s bridge, bikes in Moravia, wine and beer festival in Plzen!


Pilsner Urquell, thanks for inviting us!