Land of Pils

Poutnik Světlý Ležák
Poutnik Světlý Ležák

While recently in the Czech Republic, Brew It Right™ was clearly required to sample various Moravian brews and provide a full report.  This task was not taken lightly and required considerable sacrifice and concentration.  Obviously, almost all of the beer in Czech pubs are lagers, so you’ll find a precious few taps pouring ale unless it’s a hefeweizen.

First, a glossary:

  • Ležák – lager
  • Světlý – light
  • Pšeničné – wheat (usually hefeweizen)
  • Pivovar – brewery
  • Černé – black, meaning dark or dunkel
  • Tmavý – dark; see Černé
  • Kvasnicový – yeasty, unfiltered
  • Polotmavý – amber or gold

Copy this list to your phone and take it with you.  Or just do what we did; order one of everything on the list and try it.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

The Standout

While the local Starobrno brewery is great and their Starobrno Černé is (in our opinion) one of the better tasting regional brews in Moravia, the brewery is actually owned by Heineken. So if you’re trying to stay away from anything macro-related, they aren’t what you’re looking for.

Instead, try the Hotel Pegas in Brno, a hotel and restaurant with its own brewery.  Walk in and copper brew kettles are already on display right behind the bar.  And the beer is actually quite good, showing more variety than you’ll find in a lot of the pubs.  Pegas gets bonus points for attempting the only ale (besides hefeweizen) we found: a special porter.  But we’re deducting some of those points because it’s served in a smaller glass than any of the other brews, and after a week of lager we really, really wanted a full glass of ale.  The food is pretty good good too, though in typical outside-of-Prague Czech fashion, vegetables are nowhere to be found unless pickled.

Another to look for is Pivovar Poutnik which makes a couple pilsners.  For a respite from pilsner, try the Černé (dark) from Velkopopovický Kozel (though owned by Pilsner Urquell/SAB Miller).  Beware that many of the regional or local breweries (like Kozel or Starobrno) are all owned by international conglomerates, but many still make good beer.


Of course we had to try and find a homebrew shop, and found one we did: Pivo Ogar.  Unfortunately we got there five minutes late, but we did see a shelf of homebrew stuff and some sacks of malt behind the counter.  No kits though…

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