Although there are numerous big labels promoting their beers throughout the country and overseas, mergers within the beverage industry have ensured a less diverse selection, with most Prague restaurants and pubs serving some, if not all, of the national brands listed below:
• Plzeň (Pilsner Urquell) is the market leader, with the gold, white and green label recognisable to the majority of informed pub-goers across the globe. This is among the top brands both in Prague and the world. The pubs that offer it usually serve the particularly strong twelve-degree brew, which is slightly bitter and tasty. Greatly endorsed and very liked among Prague’s visitors.
• Gambrinus, produced in Plzeň as well, is also a premier, twelve-degree brand. These brands are possibly the tastiest in the country; however, many restaurants and pubs often combine the Gambrinus ten degrees with the Pilsner Urquell twelve degrees.
• Budvar was the first Budweiser brand in Czech and is on a par with Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell; solid and not as bitter as Pilsner Urquell. Once more, the twelve degrees is better than the ten degrees. This is the secondary and, quite rightly, very wise selection among foreign tourists to Prague.
• Staropramen is the biggest producer in Prague, with a big brewery in the Vltava, Smíchov, located on the banks. This is a working-class beer and is extremely drinkable in both the twelve and ten-degree forms.
• Krušovice is a brewery based in west Bohemia. This is a smaller brewery that makes a Pilsner that is paler with a slightly bitter metallic after-taste. The twelve degrees is wonderful; Krušovice also makes a ten degrees Pilsner and a black beer that is sweet.
• Radegast, based in Moravia, Ostrava, produces great twelve and ten-degree beers.
• Měšťan and Bráník are Prague breweries which are smaller and which both produce good quality lagers. Měst’an produces the country’s best dark beer.
• Velkopopovický Kozel, based near southern Prague, also makes good twelve-degree beers, although their risqué adverts have alienated some people. These adverts refer to the word in the beer’s name: ‘Kozel’, which means ‘goat’ (this animal is featured on the beer’s label), and makes a pun out of this based on its’ similarity to the Czech word for breasts.
• Bernard, situated in southern Bohemia, Humpolec, makes an unpasteurised twelve-degree beer that gains recognition from knowledgeable connoisseurs. Their ten degrees Samson beer is often overshadowed by its’ more famous competitor, Budvar, but it is both tasty and light nonetheless. Samson is promoted under the banner of ‘B.B. Burgerbrau’ outside of the Czech Rep.