Beer Me!

Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
Trip End Dec 25, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today was Beer Day. We signed up to go to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Plzen (pronounced Pilszen).  It is about a one hour drive from Prague.  There is also a museum there and some caves about way there.  The tour included stopping at the caves which we thought at first were associated with Pilsner Urquell but they are just nice caves.

            We hit the museum first which had some really nice examples of old time beer making equipment, and beer bottling equipment and capping.  We also got a small coin which was used in payment in olden times.  Workers with this coin were entitled to a beer.  We turned in our coins to get a nice beer.  As we were running behind, our guide asked if it was ok for us to eat here as well.  We each got a nice bread bowl full of goulash soup and then a plate of bread dumplings and sauerkraut.  Didn't really care for the dumplings and sauerkraut but the goulash soup was great.

            Then on to the brewery.  Pilsner Urquell has been purchased by a conglomerate, the South African Brewers or SAB but Pilsner Urquell has also become their flagship as it is such a good beer.  It was our misfortune to be there on a day when they were cleaning the lines in the bottling and canning part of the plant but one line was running so we saw the bottles scuttle past on their way to being filled.

            We wound our way through the plant and saw a multimedia presentation on the brewing of Pilsner Urquell.  They mash it or boil it three times which is unusual.  They also hop it three times. Using Saaz hops from the region.  A few years ago, there were several natural hops disasters plus a large hop warehouse fire and the worldwide hop supply was dwindling while growers had to replant.  Now the hops are back and it isn’t quite a crisis anymore.

            We are finally down to the cellars after going past the large copper covered tanks where the beer is mashed and hops added.  Down here we are treated to a new beer.  It has not yet been filtered and pasteurized but boy is it tasty.

            Our trip through beer land at an end, we climb into the van to go to the Koneprusy caves.  They are living caves with three levels but we can only visit 2 levels.  Lots of steps, around 500.  My legs are quite irritated that I went through the whole cave.  Thought to give my hip some rest today by going on a tour.  Opps. Forgot walking in caves is never restful for arthritis.

            Fun day
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