The Czech Republic is already a bucket-list destination for beer lovers, with a beer culture dating back to the 10th century, and continuing today, with renowned brewing traditions and iconic beer styles.
Pilsner Urquell, the world's first pilsner lager, was born in the city of Pilsen, and visitors can explore the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Museum to learn about its history. Czech beer is known for its exceptional quality and flavor, thanks to the use of Saaz hops and soft water from local wells.
Now UNESCO is recognizing the Czech Republic’s contribution to brewing heritage.
It has added the country’s Zatec and the Landscape of the Saaz Hops to its latest list of World Heritage Sites.
The new UNESCO World Heritage Site listing shines a spotlight on areas outside of the capital, Prague – itself already listed as a World Heritage Site. And although you can sample many uniquely Czech beers in the vibrant brew scene of Prague, with its numerous beer halls, pubs and microbreweries, a visit to Zatec lets you do a deep dive into the history and legacy of Central European beer culture.
The Zatec region’s hop-growing tradition dates back to the Middle Ages and it’s now a sort of hop-metropolis. Zatec semi-early redbine, also known as Saaz, is a hop variety belonging to the group of "noble hops." Saaz is known for smooth, aromatic qualities and an absence of bitterness that gives beer - especially lagers and pilsners - exceptional flavor and fragrance.
Grown in the unique "terroir" of the region whose specific soil and climate lend Saaz hops from Zatec uniquely desirable qualities, they are coveted for beer production locally and around the world. Globally famous beers made in many other countries to this day have Czech hops at their heart, including renowned Irish Guinness and Belgian Stella Artois!
You can go to the source of some of your most beloved brews in Zatec, and discover new favorites, too. Besides its historical center, hop stores, and old drying and packing plants, Zatec even lays claim to the title of having the 'smallest hop garden in the world!'
“Hip” Hop Culture around Zatec:
Near the village of Steknik, discover a Rococo chateau with an Italian-style terraced garden, creating a unique blend of architecture amidst acres of local hop fields.
Brewing Museum in Zatec: Near the Zatec Brewery, this museum offers a journey through the history of breweries in this hop-growing region. Take a tour, including a tasting session, and savor the flavors that make Czech beer exceptional.
Hop Museum: It's the largest exhibition of its kind in the world, housed in preserved authentic historical hop industry buildings, where you can dive deep into the world of Zatec hops.
The Temple of Hops and Beer: Featuring the Hop Lighthouse viewing tower, Hop Astronomical Clock, and a hop maze, this is the place to uncover why Saaz hops thrive exclusively in the Zatec region of the Czech Republic.
Renaissance Malt House: Explore an exhibition and gallery dedicated to malting in this historical setting.
Newly Opened Pilsner Urquell Experience in Prague: See, feel and hear how beer is made at this modern, high-tech immersive experience into the Pilsner Urquell process. Your tour will leave you thirsty for more - and lucky for you they’ve placed the beer taps at the end of the journey.
Visit Prague and the Zatec hops region on a tour of the Czech Republic, or as a pre- or post-river cruise extension of a Danube river cruise.
Start your Czech Republic Trip!
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