A tour of the Pilsen brewery is in many aspects worth a visit in many aspects. If you're interested in the historic halls themselves, or much more so in learning about the art of brewing, you will get your money's worth on this tour with a detailed look behind the scenes. It most often starts at the visitor centre. After the groups have found together, you will be driven by bus to the first station of the tour: the bottling plant. Here, 120.000 bottles and a whopping 60.000 cans of beer are filled by the hour, thereby making up a bulk of the product mass that is daily produced by the company.
A visit to the Brewhouse
The tour continues by bringing you down to the huge film screening room with a passenger lift. As this is known to be the largest passenger lift in the entire Czech Republic, you really don't have to worry using it, even if you're in a very large group. Having arrived at the cinema, you can now lean back and enjoy a film about the specialities of the brewery and its unique product. Directly afterwards you're able to get a live experience of the art of brewing, as the next room addresses the individual raw ingredients that are used to produce a beer: pure Pilsen water, nationally cultivated malt, yeast and a kind of hops, the so-called 'Saazer halbfrühe Rothopfen' all find their way into the beer and complete its taste. You will become witness to the actual brewing process when you are in the so-called 'Sudhaus' afterwards, as here you can take a good look at the 'Sudpfanne', the brewing pan, and learn about the complex brewing method that has been used in this exact same way since 1842.
Beer in its purest form
After learning about the most important aspects of the brewing process, you now get to know the people behind the process. In an elaborate photo gallery, the brewery exhibits the principal characters who stand behind the art of brewing, and their central functions. You thereby don't only get to know the most prominent faces of the company, but also the different trades behind beer brewing. Here again, history plays an important role, as part of the Pilsen beer is still brewed in the same way as it was many centuries ago; in unclosed wooden tubs, in which the barley nectar ferments peacefully, before it can ripen further in proper style oak-wook barrels.
Experiencing a unique taste
To give a dignified end to your brewery visit, you do not want to miss the most important thing: a sample of the original Pilsen beer. Naturally, this is only offered to adults, who can get a good taste of the beer directly out of the original oak-wood barrel. The unique aroma can only be tasted during this tour - and latest at this point – it will be worth it.
The beginnings of a success story
The history of the original Pilsner Urquell dates back to the year 1842, when in Pilsen beer was only brewed by a few private men, until the first idea of a brewery was established. Only one year later the beer found its way to Prague, where it was sold in the renowned restaurant U Pinkasů and soon became famous across the borders of the city. The beer's reputation even rushed ahead of itself, so that the Urquell managed to become a Vienna courtyard brewery. Here in 1870, they erected a large storehouse, so that supplies wouldn't be used up, before the Czech city could bring in new stock. As the beer proved so very popular internationally, many of course tried to imitate the taste of the Pilsner Urquell. For this reason, the brewery officially patented its brand in 1859, and in 1898, almost 40 years later, it became the trademark Pilsner Urquell.
Innovations in every aspect
During the following years the brewery profited greatly from the technological advances of its time. In 1881, the brewhouse in Pilsen is provided with electricity, since when lamps illuminate its hallways after nightfall. The invention of the telephone is also quickly integrated into the workflow of the business, which is therefore even more regarded as innovative and progressive. To that effect, from 1895, the enterprise began to also use the railway system to export its beer into the world. In the following years until 1914, the brewery acquired 388 railway wagons, and shortly afterwards the first lorries. At this time, the advanced transportation structure gave the brewery an immediate and enormeous economic boost, which subsequently repeatedly expanded its premises. Although it had been subject to a number of bomb attacks during the second World War, it hasn't lost any of its symbolic character for the city of Pilsen. Until today it still shines for visitors, who so treasure the fine taste of the Pilsen brew.
How to get there
Coming from Prag
If you are coming from the capital, take the Autobahn D5 and follow it until exit 67 direction Pilsen Centre. Through road 26 you will reach the city centre of Pilsen, where also the brewery is located.
Coming from Regensburg
At first via the B16 and then through Cham and Furth im Wald you will reach the Czech boarder. From here, through road 26 you will arrive at the city centre of Pilsen, where you will also find the brewery.
Coming from Budweis
The federal highway 20 takes you straight to Pilsen centre.
By public transport
As Pilsen is an important junction in the Czech railroad system, many long-distance trains stop here, which also call at many nationwide destinations. Within the city Pilsen it is easiest to move around by bus or tram.