Plzeň and Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour (8 hours)
Plzeňský Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell), a joint-stock company, is the Czech brewery founded in 1842, which produces one of the best beers in the Czech Republic. Prazdroj is a traditional Czech beer designation. It is the typical and historical Pilsen-type beer. For the first time in the world, this kind of beer was brewed on 5th October 1842 in the brewery in Pilsen by the German brewer, Josef Grol. Pilsner Urquell was the first light lager, which has inspired more than two-thirds of the world’s beer.
The Pilsner Urquell brewery offers tours which will impress beer fans and history lovers. You view the original locations where the famous Pilsner Urquell beer was born 175 years ago, and whose story continues to this day. From the Visitors’ Centre, you travel by brewery bus to one of the most modern bottling facilities, which processes 120 000 bottles per hour. You learn about the ingredients from which Pilsner Urquell beer is brewed. After watching a film on the secrets of Pilsner Urquell beer production, you become familiar with the unique ingredients from which Pilsner Urquell beer is brewed – soft water from Pilsen, malt produced in our facility from a special variety of Bohemian spring double-row barley, Žatec semi-ripe red hops and special brewer’s yeast. You also see the heart of the brewery and the brewing kettle in which the first batch of Pilsner Urquell lager was brewed on 5th October 1842. Thanks to the sacrifices and courage of the brewery staff, this copper kettle survived both world wars and remains preserved to this day. You also view the modern brewhouse from 2004. At the end of the tour, in the lager cellars you are invited to taste unfiltered and unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell beer tapped directly from an oak lager cask.
Plzeň, the largest city in Bohemia after Prague and an important industrial and economic centre (brewery established in 1842, Škoda works 1869), is located in the flat Plzeň basin at the junction of the Mže, Radbuza, Úhlava and Úslava Rivers which form the Berounka River, the valley of which opens the way to Prague. An important cultural centre, it has several higher educational establishments and a well-known theatre.
The city was founded and fortified by King Wenceslas (Václav) II in 1295. between the rivers Mže and Radbuza was known as New Plzeň, to distinguish it from the older settlement of Starý Plzenec (Old Plzeň) 10 km/6 miles south-east in the narrow valley of the Úslava. Situated at the junction of the trade routes from Regensburg, Nuremberg and Saxony to Prague, the city soon prospered. After the Hussite wars, during which it was besieged several times, Plzeň developed with great rapidity (in 1468 the first Czech book, the “Trojan Chronicle”, was printed here). However, a series of fires, particularly in the early 16th century, caused setbacks. During the Thirty Years´ War, Plzeň was stormed by Count Mansfeld, and in that time, the population was reduced by one half.
From the mid-19th century, Plzeň developed into a major industrial centre, known worldwide for its beer. After the Second World War, the city expanded, mainly to the east (Doubravka district) and south (Slovany district).