It’s okay if all you think of Czech food is goulash and lightly flavored ales, I forgive you. It’s all I did too – and I’ve even visited once before.

This time though, I vowed it would be different. Less standing in the cold (visiting in November instead of January), more leisurely explorations of the beautiful Old Town. Fewer sips of Becherovka and bites of (admittedly delicious) cheap goulash, better flavors on my palate. By this point our trip, I wasn’t sure how to pick the right tour to enjoy the flavors and culture of Prague. Six months on the road had left me tired, and unsure where to even start.

The History of Beer & Tapas in Prague

Did you know brewing in the Czech Republic (or what was to become the Czech Republic) began as early as 933 AD? Me neither! It turns out that early Bohemian brewers were among the first to use hops in the beer-making process – possibly in the world – and can lay claim to over a millennium of beer-making history.

In the Czech Republic, the most common type of beer in Prague is the light Pilsner style ale. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to miss the Pilsner Urquell signs outside nearly every pub and bar. Much like Guinness in Ireland, Pilsner Urquell is a point of pride, the “golden standard” of beer in the region.

Like many other at-one-point-up-and-coming-but-now-totally-hip cities, Prague is also experiencing a small but creative craft beer revolution. Heritage brewers are making Pilsner, amber, and brown ale beers as they long have, but it’s not hard to find funky IPAs and zippy red ales too if you know where to look.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour
Courtesy of: Urban Adventures Prague

To compliment this, chefs started making small plates of local food – and the Spanish name for these style dishes (“tapas”) is widely used. Most bars and pubs – even older, local, or dingier ones – will have several tapas options on their menu. It’s really the most exciting way to eat, drink, and sample a lot of flavors in Prague in a short amount of time.

Booking with Urban Adventures Prague

As I planned our time in Prague, Mr. Valise and I talked about what tours we’d like to spend time doing. I was at the time emailing frequently with Tammy, Niki, and Tony on the Urban Adventures global team, and they recommended checking out the Beer & Tapas Tour while we were in Prague.

“It’s one of our most popular tours,” they said. “You’ll love it!”

It didn’t take much convincing to get me on board, to be honest. I love food, I love beer, and I love trying as many of both as possible when I visit a new city. A few hours with Mr. Valise, a guide, and a handful of like-minded strangers sounded like a perfect way to spend the evening.

Eating & Drinking Our Way Across Prague

Four stops. Four beers. A dozen different dishes. What’s not to love?

During our Urban Adventures tour, our tour Martin took us to four different areas of Prague. By far the best part (aside from the beer and food, obviously) is that these were neighborhoods I might never have visited on my own. Instead of tourist traps or guidebook recommendations, we wandered into the local bars and tasting rooms you can’t easily find without a local guide.

After meeting up with our tour group in Wenceslas Square, we took the metro – an exciting prospect, as neither Mr. Valise nor I had taken the metro at that point. We were well rewarded after exiting the metro and taking a small walk in the rain:

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour U Sadu
1st Pints at Pivnice U Sadu: the House Sádek and an Amber

Our first stop was a bar called U Sadu in the mostly residential neighborhood Žižkov. A multi-story bar with a labyrinth of underground seating areas, U Sadu was a perfect mix of “beer” (10 on tap, every day) and “tapas” (a wide variety of funky and interesting dishes including a pickled cheese I couldn’t get enough of).

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour U Sadu
Pickled cheese spread at U Sadu – surprisingly delicious!
Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour U Sadu
Chicken skewers with cucumber and horseradish at U Sadu

Our next stop was a short walk away, but at least the rain had stopped. Sitting down in the brightly lit and ultra-clean Vinohradský Pivovar dining space, I could easily have been in Brooklyn, for all the hip-ness around me.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Vinohradsky Pivovar
Amber beer with a kick at Vinohradský Pivovar.

As a brewery, Vinohradský Pivovar is one of those Prague establishments I mentioned was experimenting with beer. Over pints and plates, Martin explained that Czech beer is denoted with a degree symbol, such as 11˚ or 13˚. The degree symbol is a measure of the beer density, but it roughly correlates with both color (darker beers are higher degrees) and alcohol percentage (higher alcohol has higher degrees). At a quick glance then, you don’t need to speak Czech to order a beer – you can just indicate which degree you’d like, and that will roughly tell you what will arrive in your glass.

At Vinohradský Pivovar, we also enjoyed some outrageously interesting tapas: duck pate with cranberries, almonds, and onion marmalade, and (if memory serves) pork belly on black beer with red cabbage and potato chunks. A far cry from the “bar food” we Americans look down upon, I was beginning to see why “beer and tapas” go together in Prague; if this was the “tapas” served in every bar back home, the hipsters would be having their dates in pubs instead of understatedly-cool cocktail bars.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Vinohradsky Pivovar
Duck pate. Yes: pate and beer. Damn, we’re fancy.
Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Vinohradsky Pivovar
Pork belly with cabbage and potatoes. Read: food to soak up your beer.

Vinohradský Pivovar is the kind of restaurant/bar/brewery I would frequent regularly – and possibly never leave… But, our tour was only half over, so back into the night we went. Our next stop was a tram ride away (two new forms of public transit in one night!), through an unmarked door with a small illuminated sign flickering feebly above the entrance.

Bad Flash Bar is another take on Prague’s craft beer scene – without the clean, sterile, white vibe of Vinohradský Pivovar. Dark and labyrinthine, we found ourselves seated in a small room with two other tables, the walls adorned with Czech movie memorabilia. (Beer + movies + travel? It was fate!) A hand-written board listed a dozen beers or more, including a few familiar “imports” like BrewDog out of Scotland. Despite the hearty tapas, I was beginning to feel the buzz and went light, for an 11˚or 12˚… or maybe it was their seasonal beer. I can’t remember which anymore…

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Bad Flash Bar
Bad Valerie! You forgot to take the picture until halfway through your beer!

At Bad Flash, we noshed on crusty bread and more pickled cheese. Spread over the bread, the smooth cheesy flavor and sharp vinegar were a perfect combination, and I was contented. Until sausages began arriving on a plate with other meats, and then I was even more contented.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Bad Flash Bar
Pickled cheese – who knew?

By the time our pints began to wind down at Bad Flash Bar, the group was warming up. Three – or four, or five! (for some people) – pints in, we began discussing home, the recent election, and how we all might stay in Prague forever and just keep drinking and eating.

Again, it was not to last. One final stroll through quiet residential streets lead us to our final destination: Resturace U Šumavy.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Resturace U Šumavy
Yes, this picture is blurry. I blame the beer.

After a hole-in-the-wall, crystalline brewery, and historic beer bar, Resturace U Šumavy was another diverse experience. I’m not sure I would classify it as a “family” restaurant, what with hops growing from the beams on the ceiling. Given my beer education thus far in the night though, it just might be.

For our last taste of tapas, Martin ordered pickled cheese, Camembert to be specific. It arrived in the jar, with onions, tomatoes, and peppers in the juices, and with a dark soft bread. Pickled cheese, I tell ya. Still as good, four beers in.

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour Resturace U Sumvay
Pickled. Cheese. Yes. Please!

Four stops. Four beers. A dozen different dishes. What’s not to love?

After wandering home through quiet city streets, yes, I did love it. The Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour is a highlight from our memories in Europe, in part because it was so unexpectedly enjoyable.

Prague is a surprising city, and I think it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been surprised by Prague: stunning architecture, rich history, cheap prices… As it turns out, Prague also has a rich but innovative beer scene and chefs unafraid of making delicious small plates specifically for drinking with that beer. The Beer & Tapas Tour is a great addition to your Prague itinerary – you’ll be surprised, and certainly not disappointed.

The Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Tapas Tour can be booked from $65 US per person. I was hosted as a guest on my tour. It’s not just the beer that leads to my strong endorsement.

15 comments

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This tour is such a smart idea! I always want to try the local food and drinks when traveling to a new country, but always get overwhelmed when trying to decide what to pick once I get to the restaurant. If I go back to the Czech Republic, I’d love to do this tour.

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Hi Marissa
Check Urban Adventures wherever you travel, we have many food tours in many destinations all over the world and they are all hold with small groups (up to 12 people) by locals. All the best, Monika

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Thanks for reading, Monika! Are you affiliated with Urban Adventures? If so, I’ll have to put a tour with you on my list 🙂

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Hi Valerie. Thank you for such a quick response 🙂 I’m working for Krakow Urban Adventures and you are more than welcome to visit us and take part in our food tour. Check it out on http://www.krakowurbanadventures.com. All the best! Monika

I will be sure to! Thanks so much for the invite 🙂

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Thanks for reading! I feel the same way about picking tours in a city. Trust me, Urban Adventures has a unique corner on the market about “local” tours, as Monika says, and the tour was a really high quality.

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I’ve always wanted to go to Prague. Seems like such a gorgeous place.

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I hope you can visit soon. It’s a stunning city!

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I’m not typically a big beer gal but couldn’t resist to get the total experience in Prague. Their beer is the best of the best!

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You can at least try a sip or two of each 🙂 It’s part of the experience!

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Wow! Your blog is amazing and I envy all the traveling you’ve been able to enjoy. It must be such a freeing experience to say the least. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but if I was visiting Prague, It might be nice to have a cold one!

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It’s a nice hobby, all the traveling, but also an expensive one 😉

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Prague looks amazing! I’m not a drinker but the food looks amazing!

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Thanks so much for reading! The food was amazing and so diverse. I highly recommend it!

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Yum! This looks great.

Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

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