Prague beer trail

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Prague beer trail Route stops: Mlsnej Kocour, Novoměstský pivovar, Pivovar U Fleků, Malostranská pivnice, Kláštěrní pivovar Strahov
Route length: 5.7 km
Duration: 1.25 hod + 5 hod (with consumption)
Price: approx. 700 Kč/person
I don't know if the Strahov Monastery was ever a pilgrimage site, but let's pretend it was, it'll give us a good excuse to go for a walk from Nám. Míru. This is perhaps my favourite square in Prague. It's a wonder of urban planning and, most importantly, it's surrounded by bars, pubs, restaurants and cafés for all tastes. It's quite hard to choose where to go for our first beer. 

No, it isn't. We'll start at U Mlsného Kocoura. Why? Because I like to start with the basics and Pilsner Urquell tanková is as basic as things can get. It's a nice pub, modern, but with its own character and personality. If you are lucky to find a table by a window, you'll get a good view of the comings and goings of the square while you sip very well tapped beer. We should eat something, though. We'll need all the energy we can get for this pilgrimage. I suggest the ultimate beer snack, tartar steak. As traditional in Czech pubs, it's served unmixed and comes with slices of fried rye bread to rub garlic on. Yeah, get that second beer to wash it down. I won't tell anyone.

There are a number of ways to get to the next stop in Vodičková. I prefer to avoid Ječna with all its noise and traffic and go by the side streets, I love them. They may not be as pretty as those in the Old Town or Malá Strana, but they still have their charm. Here is were the past and the present cross paths and only acknowledge each other with a tip of their hats before continuing their way. So, walk my friend, take your time as we are in no rush.
Once you've made it to Vodičková, you won't have any trouble finding Novoměstský Pivovar, the first microbrewery to open in the Czech Republic after the revolution, and a pretty popular place ever since. 
It's quite a labyrinthine brewpub, divided into several rooms and halls—I wonder how many people get lost here after having a beer too many. That's never been a problem to me, as I always try to sit by the brewhouse right at the entrance. 
Czech beer is at its best when it's fresh, and you can't get it any fresher than at the place it's made. Novoměstský Pivovar makes two beers year-round, a pale and a dark lager. The dark is a bit too sweet for my taste, but the pale lager is one of those beautifully simple beers that invite you to drink another round.
The choice of beer snacks here is quite poor, to be honest, but they do have one of my favourite soups, tripe soup, which goes very well with the beer, and they have it really good. It can be a bit of an acquired taste, but give it a go, you won't regret it.

The next stop it's only a few hundred meters away, also taking some side street, though a bit noisier this time.
There are many Czech breweries claiming centuries of tradition. Many of those claims, however, are at best questionable. Not with U Fleků, though. This is the real deal. U Fleků has been making beer in the same place since 1499, and it's the sole survivor of a time when Prague had perhaps hundreds of brewing houses.
And what a beautiful place it is! Drinking in any of its several halls will be a bit like going back in time, and their beer garden must be one of the most beautiful in the country.
U Fleků makes only one beer, a rich black lager that tastes like a chocolate cake for a drunken pirate. The recommended snack here is another Czech speciality, head cheese, served with vinegar an onion. Flavourful but not heavy, it invites you to have another round, which you won't even have to order—the waiters will keep on bring you beers until you say when.

We must get to the other side of the river for the next stop. A walk in Kampa and some of the alleys of Malá Strana is a good idea to build some thirst, which will be quenched with some more Pilsner Urquell tanková at Malostranská Pivnice, sitting in their small, but incredibly welcoming beer garden. This is a good chance to rest our feet and gather our strengths for the last leg of this trail. A light snack will help us with that, utopenec—pickled sausage—will do more than fine. But don't get too comfortable and put your shoes back on.

Don't you even think of taking the tram up to Strahov. This is a pilgrimage, not a sightseeing tour. Walk all the way up like the good pilgrim you are, because the best has been saved for last.
Let's take the shortest route up the hill—Nerudová-Úvoz—and before going into the monastery complex, let's stop at the terrace overlooking the Strahov Gardens to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Prague. I never get tired of it, it's almost breathtaking.
Like pretty much every monastery north of the Alps, Strahov had a brewery. It closed a long time ago, but in 2000 some people decided it'd be a good idea to revive the tradition and, two years later, opened Klášterní Pivovar Strahov in the former carriage house. Since then, this brewpub has earned a well deserved reputation as one of the best microbreweries in the country. 

They make three superb beers year-round, plus a very interesting range of seasonal specials that are not to be missed.
Once again, the best place to sit is right by the brewhouse, which happens to be the prettiest of the several spaces this brewpub has. Once the first round has been taken care of, the brewery platter, with a variation of smoked meats will be the perfect snack to finish the day.
But we don't have to go anywhere, do we? Let's stay for another round, or two.
Photo: David Marvan, Lukáš Růžek

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