13 Apr 2011

Czech Beer Festival 2011 - News

Once again, I was fortunate to get invited to the press conference of the Český Pivní Festival (Czech Beer Festival) that was held yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel Prague.

There's not much to comment about the conference, only that the food that was served afterwards was really good and that, because of the weather, we had to eat it at the hotel's Lobby bar (which has the atmosphere of a bus stop), but there is plenty of news about the event itself.

The bad news first: The price of the tolar has been raised to 44CZK (from 40CZK of the previous two editions). For those who have just arrived, the tolar is a proper coin and it's the only thing that can be used to buy drinks, food and souvenirs. I like the system, won't comment on the price.

The dates: 12-28 May. Place: PVA Letňany (a couple of hundred metres from the namesake metro station). I still don't like the venue, but I guess that there aren't better options for an event of this scale.

Tuplák: For the first time, beer will be sold in 1l mugs (o tupláky, as they are known here). If I understood well, the classic half litre glasses will still be available, but only at the taps. According to the organisers, this is to speed up service. I don't quite get how, but either way, I'm not too happy with this. I don't like drinking in 1l measures, and I don't see the reason why I should queue to get a beer in a measure that is traditional here.

One more tent: There will be another giant tent this year, run by the Švejk restaurant chain. The "geek tent" is back, and just like last year, it will focus on specialties from Czech and foreign micros and there will also be a couple of themed evenings. Sunday 15/5 will be dedicated to American beers, 22/5 to English brews. Prices here will be higher, of course.

More beers: 120 in total will flow from the God knows how many taps, they said. Of the macros, only Urquell and only at the Švejk tent.

Hours: Opening hours have been extended, every day from 12-24 (last year, things started at 15 during the week). This is responding to the requests from tourist agencies, from whom they are expecting at least 10,000 reservations.

Reservations: Groups and individuals can book places, but this will cost them, 12 tolars and 50CZK per spot.

On Tour: This year, the festival will be presented in Frankfurt, Berlin, each with a tent for about 1000 people, and in Moscow in a scale similar to Prague's. They are also negotiating the possibility of organising it in other destinations. (these people aren't fools).

I hope the weather will be better than last year. I still have two tolars left and I got five more yesterday (the perks of being a journalist). If anyone happens to be around, we might catch up.

Na Zdraví!

Oh! And one more thing. If you are planning to come to Prague for the festival and don't know what to do during the rest of your stay, there is a pretty fine book you can buy titled "Prague: A Pisshead's Guide", and it's available both in print and in pdf. Strongly recommended, and not only because I've written it.

5 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

17 comments:

  1. Never been to the Czech Beer Festival. Know Uncle Gus, is a Big Fan. Not a big Fan of Big Festivals, like the Smaller Special Ones. Only Big One I Like is Rail Ale at Barrow Hill [ UK ]. Last time ran out of Beer on the Sat. Will not Happen to Me this time, Going on the Friday. Looking Forward to Seeing & Reading Your Book.

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  2. I was on the beer festival last year and was pretty much satisfied. But after what I read I am thinking about finding a smaller similar event and going there instead.

    The price is getting a bit ridiculous, but having 1l mugs? Why? I wanna taste as many different beers as possible, not to sit there for an hour with one "tuplak". Me and my friends were just discussing last year, that it would be nice to have 0,33 glasses to taste more kinds. I think it is getting a bit too much commercial...

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  3. If I were likely to be at any beer festival in the Czech Republic this year, it would be Slunce ve Skle in Plzen.

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  4. Al, Sluce is my favourite fest by far.

    Pavel, Czech Beer Fest. has been very commercial from the beginning. The owner of the festival is a bloke who doesn't know the first thing about beer (or well, maybe he does now, but he certainly didn't 3 years go), he started the festival because he saw a good business opportunity. And I'm kind of cool with the half litre glasses, it is s festival for pissheads, not for people who want to taste beer. The tupláky, on the other hand, that's just silly.

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  5. I didn't know that it was so commercial since the start. But last year it looked like amusement park. Only the "geek tent" looked like a miracle. And also about the glasses, why is it such a big deal? Couldn't you just pay a deposit and than keep it if you want? The cost must be like 1 tolar.

    Slunce sounds quite interesting, are there any similar festivals not far from Prague worth going to?

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  6. Max,just want to say my copies of the book arrived yesterday.I will get a good read at the weekend.


    Don't like this idea of only 1litre glaas being offered at tables ,think there are going to be huge queues at the taps and will put a lot of folk off.


    I like the 500ml glasses as they are the right size and if there for an evening you can try several different beers.


    I an just not a fan of litre glasses,maybe they are trying to be more like the Octoberfest,a mistake in my opinion.


    At the Mini festval in Pancrak in august/september they were offering the 1 litre glasses but I didn't see many folk taking them up on the offer.


    I see I even get a mention on a comment on your Blog,fame at last.

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  7. I wouldn't be surprised if they reverse their decision on the glasses a couple of days after the festival has started. I've been thinking about it, and I can't figure out how the 1l mugs are supposed to make service faster, and actually, it might even backfire commercially.

    @Pavel, about the glasses, at the first edition they had a deposit scheme, but it didn't work out well, word on the street is that the servers had found a way to make a profit out of it.

    And since we are on topic, there's one thing I forgot to mention. It was said during the conference that the Police might search people for stolen glasses, I guess that if you buy one they will give you some paper or something, but that's exactly what happens in Munich.

    Last two years Zly Casy had an "alternative" "fest", not much of a festival really, just 17 days dedicated exclusively to Czech micros and the possibility of buying small glasses.

    Uncle, let me know what you think of the book.

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  8. I have bought a few glasses at the festival and they do give you a receipt to show security if you are asked to show the contents of your bag.Can't remember the price either 1 or 2 tolars.
    so far the quick look I have had of the book is very good,I like your little hand drawn maps.

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  9. There will beboth glasses, half litr and tuplak as well. The bigger one will be prefered during peak hours as it was diffult to serve all the people.
    at the beer geek tent beers will be poured in to 0,33l glasses too - foreign specialities and very strong beers...

    Honza, Czbeer.cz

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  10. Aha! So, if someone goes in the afternoon they will be served a half litre glass, if they so wish. Good to know.

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  11. Thanks for the tip at Zly casy, is that just in the pub or also somewhere else?

    Pretty nice mini-festival that I visited last year was in Kostelec nad Cernymi Lesy http://www.pivovarkostelec.cz/en
    It was part of an event where they also made the biggest hot dog for Guinness book of records. Quite funny place.

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  12. Zly casy is an excellent place,i went on Max's reccommendation and it did not dissapoint,i will be taking a mate along when i visit in 4 weeks time

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  13. So I gather the 1 litre maas will be 2 Tolars?

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  14. I wonder if they will still do the meter of beer,11 glasses for 10 tolars

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  15. @ snydley, you gather well, my friend.

    @ uncle, I would like to see the waitresses carrying more than two or three tupláky at a time...

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  16. Last trek to Stuttgart for the Cannstatter Volksfest I took a pic of our watress with 14 maas, bloody impressive and no I would never challenge her to an arm wrestle!

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  17. My Prague holiday is booked for May 20-28. Between pub crawling and this beer festival my life is looking better all the time. Maybe our paths can cross during my visit.

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