Beer and Baroque, a High Brow Brew Tour

Beer and Baroque, a High Brow Brew Tour

Beer 1“Bohemia is … the fountainhead … of most beer in the world,” says Garret Oliver, an award-winning brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and the leading beer critic in America. “Czech beer is phenomenal” and “Czech beer standards are the best in the world. There’s simply nothing to compare, in terms of lagers,” says the New York Times food and drink writer Evan Rail. Czech lager is best fresh and it doesn’t come fresher drawn than right where it’s brewed and a few of Prague’s newly re-opened microbreweries, set in 18th century ambience, are resurrecting the thousand year old tradition of Brewing in Bohemia. This tour is designed for those who are interested in beer and don’t mind the Baroque as well as those who are interested in Baroque and don’t mind a beer. You will visit two of the oldest breweries in Prague accompanied by Max Bahnson, one of Prague’s leading zymurgical authorities. Max is an author and blogger on the subject as well as a columnist for The Prague Post, and he swears by his pen name, the Beer Philosopher, that degustation leads to conversation.

Beer 2You will visit Břevnovský Klášterní Pivovar, a Monastary Brewery of the Black Monks, which is the oldest male monastery in Bohemia, founded in 993. The monastery’s church of St. Margaret, built (1708-1735) is one of the best architectural examples of the Czech Baroque. In the cellar of the church is a Roman crypt from 1040 and it is one of the most valuable Romanesque structures in the Czech lands. Beer was made here for 900 years, until the brewery closed by the end of the 19th century. But the tradition has been reclaimed; a new brewery was opened in mid-2012. Come along, taste their beers, see and learn how they are made and maybe even talk to the people who make it, all in the restored Baroque spaces of the old stables. The program can include either “beer tea” at the brewery or lunch/dinner at the stylish Klášterní Šenk, that not only serves Benediktin, the “house” beers, but also great food. The Prior of the Břevnov Monastery says, “Beer is a good thing. It brings people together, and always in good will.”

Also on the itinerary of this tour is Strahov Monastery of The Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians, one of the oldest of this Order in the world. It was founded in 1143 and the first documentation of beer brewing comes from the beginning of the 14th century. Today’s brewery and restaurant sits on the spot where the ‘new brewery’ was built in 1628 and operated until 1907. Just beyond the walls of Strahov, located on the hill over the Prague Castle, are breath-taking views of the city, which will be that much more picturesque after a glass of the monastic St. Norbert’s micro-brew. The Baroque Strahov Library contains book collections numbering approximately 200,000 volumes.

Beer 3For those who are interested in a different environment for experiencing Czech beer and its history, please e-mail us at [email protected]. We can also offer Brew tours that take you through traditional Czech pubs (hospody) or through Prague’s modernday microbreweries. We can arrange guided beer tastings. Or, if you like your beer with food, we can put together a multi-course beer dinner at Sansho, considered by many to be the best restaurant in Prague, though moderately priced. Five star chef Paul Day will prepare his wonderful Fusian food that you can enjoy together with some truly fantastic beers. (This program should be reserved at least one month in advance).

Vadim ErentVadim Erent was born in St. Petersburg and immigrated to the USA at 13. He did graduate work in Slavic Studies at the University of Chicago, then spent a decade travelling through the United States as an interpreter for the US State Department. He has lived in Prague since 2003. An art critic and literary historian, he contributes articles to Litteraria Pragensia Books, the affiliated press of the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University. Vadim’s photography has been featured in Vlak Magazine, Grasp Magazine, The Humanities Review and Streetnotes. He is editor of a book of essays on Serbian filmmaker, Dušan Makavejev, published by Charles University in 2018. After years of giving tours of Prague to friends and family, he founded Insight Cities to offer in-depth experiences to a wider group of visitors. Vadim is married to Insight Cities co-founder Bonita Rhoads. They are the parents of a little Pražačka, Lucy, born in Prague in 2008.
Bonita RhoadsBonita Rhoads Bonita Rhoads earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2009. She is an assistant professor at Masaryk University in Brno (the Czech Republic’s second city) and has been a lecturer at Charles University in Prague. A native of New York City, Bonita moved to Prague in 2003 along with her husband, Vadim. She teaches and publishes on topics in nineteenth-century British and American literature. Her delight in her remarkable adopted city led her to become a dedicated student of Prague’s cultural and political history.
Kateřina PrůšováKateřina Průšová After studying Medieval Architecture at the Università per Stranieri, Perugia, Italy and Art History at the Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier III, France, Kateřina Průšová received her PhD from the Institute of Art History in the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, Prague. A lecturer in Art History at both Charles and Anglo-American Universities, she is also an official guide of the Prague Jewish Museum, a docent for the National Gallery on the collection of old masters at the Sternberg Palace, for the St. Agnes Monastery, and for the newly opened exhibition of Alfons Mucha’s The Slav Epic at the Veletržní palace. In 2010 and 2011, she was a guest lecturer on Medieval Art at the University of New Orleans.
Jan richterJan Richter Since 2007, Jan has been a producer and journalist for the leading news radio station in the Czech Republic, Radio Prague (the Czech equivalent of the USA's NPR). In addition to hosting a regular 30 minute show on current national affairs, he also provides analysis and reporting for the English language service of the station on topics ranging from contemporary Czech culture and business to Czech history. Jan took his MA in History from Masaryk University in Brno. Fluent in Spanish (as well as English), Jan spent two years teaching in Latin America, then became the first translator of Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries into Czech. Jan's fascination with the turmoil of the twentieth century also led him to spend six years (2001-2007) as a historian and curator for the Regional Museum in the Moravian town of Mikulov, where he prepared exhibitions on Czech Jewish history, World War II history and post World War II development. Outside his busy work schedule, Jan always appreciates a good night out with taroky, a rapidly disappearing Moravian card game. For visitors interested in the war years, the communist and post-communist periods in Prague, Jan is your guide.
Hana KubatováHana Kubatová Hana Kubatová recieved her PhD in Modern History at the Charles University in Prague and her MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University in Budapest. While writing her dissertation (book version to be published Fall 2012), she was a research fellow at the Heinrich Heine University in Germany, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Tel Aviv University in Israel and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Hana is the recipient of various awards, including the Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Marie Curie Fellowship for Early Stage Training from the European Commission, the Felix Posen Fellowship from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, the Israel Government Scholarship, and the Gisela Fleischmann Scholarship from the Milan Simecka Foundation. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague and a lecturer at Anglo-American University. Hana teaches and publishes on modern Jewish history, as well on the social history of WWII and European nationalism.
Alex WentAlex Went Alex Went attended Cambridge University, where he took his MA in English Literature. Since first visiting Prague in 1991, he has developed a close association with the city, and has adapted a number of Czech works in translation for the stage, including Bohumil Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude and The Diary of Petr Ginz, a moving account of the life of a Jewish boy in 1940s Prague. As well as being an accomplished writer and poet, Alex is the curator of The Prague Vitruvius, an online guide to the history of the city's architecture.
Hana NIchtburgerováHana Nichtburgerová Hana Nichtburgerová handles public relations for the European Shoah Legacy Institute, a public benefit corporation which cooperates with governments, non-governmental organizations and experts to foster the restitution of Jewish cultural assets stolen by the Nazis and to promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance. As an undergraduate, she spent an exchange year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst taking courses in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. She obtained her MA in Jewish History, Jewish Literature and Philosophy from the College of Jewish Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In Israel, she studied Hebrew in Haifa while also participating in the Ramat Rachel Archeological Project. Hana is fluent in English and German and conversational in Hebrew.
Max BahnsonMax Bahnson Max Bahnson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having fallen in love with the beauty and the magic of Prague, and not just its beer, he moved to the city for good in 2002. Max is a writer and a blogger on the topic of Czech beer and is considered to be one of the leading authorities on the subject. He authors a regular column in The Prague Post under the pen name Pivní Filosof, The Beer Philosopher, and is a regular contributor to specialized magazines in Spain, the US and the Czech Republic.
GeorgeGeorge Thompson A citizen of the United States, George has lived in cities around the world. He has degrees in physics, the Japanese language and in architecture. George has a passion for uncovering the details in all that surrounds him which has led him to discover hidden and overlooked sites in the Golden City. His tours are bent toward exploring the beauty of the buildings and gardens of Prague that express the ideas and culture throughout the city’s long history. He loves photography and will point out photographic shots along the way. George's work experience in small-town preservation and the urban fabric of community development lend insight into Prague's history.


Additional Fees:


A visit behind the lines at the breathtaking Strahov Monastery Library (400 Kč per person)


Small beers at Strahov Brewery (60 Kč per beer)


Guided tour of Břevnov Monastery Brewery (100 Kč per person, 12 Kč per one example of beer)


Starting Location:
Meet right at the door of Metrocafe, Klárov 1, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana. Look for the cafe which is connected to the entrance of the Malostranska Metro.


Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

Cancellation and Tipping

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