As a promise to my Frisbee brothers I tried as many beers as possible during my trip. Some of them required multiple tries so I had to consume two or three pints every day to keep up. Here is the as list of the beers I tried on my trip.
During our six-hour layover in Amsterdam so we walked the town and I had a couple of beers. I hoped that I’d like Heineken better there, but it was exactly the same with its strong, bitter aftertaste and not much else going for it. The Amstel was better, but unremarkable.
Czech’s are serious about beer and consume more of it per capita than any country in Europe. They pretty much invented the modern Pilsner beer that we drink today. Most Czech bars and restaurants have only one or two taps. If you want something else, you get it in a bottle. In general, you order what they have on tap which is usually one of the beers below, prominently featured outside the establishment. They were all good and generally pretty cheap (less than $3 for a pint).Pilsner Urquel – Nice lager, but the finish is a little bitter. It is ubiquitous in Prague and elsewhere in Czech Republic. Also found in Hungary. Brewed in the city of Pils (Pilsner), this beer gives it name to a whole category.
Budweiser Budvar – Very nice lager with a creamy head. This is not the Bud you get at home. After a long fight with Anheiser Busch, the Czech company agreed to sell their beer only in a very limited number of countries (which includes South Africa).
Staropromen Lager – This is only sold in Prague and is probably my favorite beer of the trip (Budweiser Budvar would be a close second). It is a nice lager that I found just a little sweet. It has a nice bite, but does not leave a bitter aftertaste like Urquel. You have to look a little harder to find it, but it’s worth it.
Staropromem Dark – This is a nice dark beer with lots of taste. I like rich ales, but generally shy away from the dark beers. However, I liked this one. It was not overly bitter nor was it so rich that I couldn’t finish it. It’s worth a try.
Uflecku Microbrew – Rebecca’s friend Natalie is studying here in Prague and she met us for dinner one night. On her recommendation, we went to a cool beer hall (complete with accordion and tuba band) restaurant and this was the only beer on the menu. It is rich and dark and I liked, but didn’t love it. Dark beer officianados would probably find it wonderful.
I can’t speak for all of the Hungary, but Budapest does not have the beer tradition that you find in the Czech Republic evidenced by the fact that many restaurants and pubs feature Pilsner Urquel or Budweiser Budvar. I did try a few of the local brews and a few German beers.
Tremens Delirium – Very high alcohol content is its only positive attribute. Waiter recommended it, but I found it sour and nasty. I didn’t finish the glass.
Sailer White – This is a nice lager, very light and clean. It did a nice job of washing away the Tremens. There is a dark version as well.
Weinesgruner Pils Legende – It’s a nice German lager. Nothing special about it.
Bitberger – Very thin German lager. Not bad, but nothing to it.