A hopping good time: Prague Castle festival spotlights Czechia’s best microbreweries

The annual microbrewery festival took place this past weekend in the Prague Castle gardens, highlighting 50 of the best microbreweries from every end of Czechia. Each year, the festival draws in thousands of beer lovers, local and tourists alike who are keen to try the budding new flavours of Czech brews.

Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

The pouring of cold beers, the clinking of glasses, and happy chatter as folks sipped on craft brews was the soundtrack of this past weekend’s microbrewery festival in the Prague Castle gardens. Thousands of Prague residents and tourists gathered in the gardens to sample the work of 50 microbreweries from across Czechia. Jillian Frantz, an American student living in Prague, explains how she heard about the festival.

“We heard from a local tour guide in Prague that this festival was like his personal Christmas, and that we should definitely come check it out. So we thought, we definitely have to go if it’s like his personal Christmas!”

Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

Indeed, a personal Christmas for any beer lover the festival was. From blueberry sour beers, to hoppy and bitter IPA’s, the selection was enormous. Clara Petit, a French student living in Prague, describes what she loves about Czechia’s microbreweries.

“I think it’s the diversity that I really like because they have a ton of different tastes and flavours. At this event, you can really try some beers with different tastes and after tastes, and it’s a little bit like French beer but we don’t have as much variety, the selection here in Czechia is very diverse.”

Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

That diversity might come as a surprise to folks who aren’t familiar with Czechia’s microbrewery scene. But as the coordinator of the event Honza Suran explains, the number of small-scale breweries continues to grow every year in Czechia – and now stands at over 500.

“Here at the festival, we only have 50, and these are the best in the country. Every year, there are 15-20 more microbreweries that open up, and now there are 550 total breweries in Czechia, and that includes microbreweries and large breweries. This means that there is one brewery per every 20,000 people.”

Photo: Amelia Mola-Schmidt,  Radio Prague International

It is true that Czechs consume the most beer in the world. The last estimate indicated that it was roughly 129 liters per capita every year, and while this number is high, it is actually down by nearly 30 litres since 2008. Regardless of the slightly lower levels of beer consumption, Honza describes how important the festival is for small scale breweries.

“This event is important for microbreweries because it’s only for microbreweries. There is beer from all across Czechia: the north, south, east, and west – it brings together the best microbreweries from across the country.”

In case you missed it this year, the microbrewery festival will return to Prague next summer for those in the pursuit of hoppiness.