PIlsner In PraGUe the bohemIan town of Plzen is the birthplace of Pilsner beers, the golden style that conquered the world, but the most reliable place to sample them is the Czech Republic's capital. Just ask for a pivo, prosim, ("a beer, please") and you'll rarely be disappointed. Most pubs tap just three beer varieties from one large producer such as Pilsner Urquell (the original), Gambrinus or staropramen. The cvtra pipe or "fourth pipe" often serves a guest beer from a microbrewery. Kocour's distinctive smoked beer, V3 Rauch, is one to keep an eye out for. or should that be nose? For a real one-off, the independent Pivovarsky dum comes recommended. opened in 1998, this is Prague's premier brew pub and offers its own svelte and cerne ("light" and "dark") beer. Quirkier offerings might include sour cherry, coffee and banana flavours. The food's tasty, too; fans of the other white meat might want to sample roasted pork knuckle or potato dumplings stuffed with smoked pork. More traditional is the teeming, multi-roomed U Fleku, which can lay claim to being the world's oldest pub. brewing began in 1499, seven years after Columbus discovered america. nationalised by the communists, it's now back in family hands. Try the strong house beer, Flekovsky Tmavy Lezak, in both light and dark versions and enjoy the oompah band. Less touristy is former Czech president Vaclav havel's favourite bar, the resolutely working class U Zlateho Tygra (at The Golden Tiger), serving the best unfiltered Pilsner Urquell in town. here, typically, the waiter will mark a line on your personal tally sheet for each beer brought to the table. Placing your empty glass down is a sign for him to bring you another. In the autumn of 2010, a museum devoted to beer opened in Prague (dlouha 46, www.praguebeermuseum.com). The city also hosts the annual Czech beer Festival, during which you can taste more than 70 brands of Czech beer (May 12-28, www.ceskypivnifestival.cz). ·Pivovarsky Dum, Jecna/Lipova 15 (+420 296 216 666) Metro b to Karlovo namesti, tram to Stpánská. ·u fleku, Kremencova 11 (+420 602 660 290). Metro b to Karlovo namesti. www.ufleku.cz ·u zlateho tygra, husova 17 (+420 222 221 111). Metro a to staromestska. www.uzlatehotygra.cz Finnair plus members in Prague get Plus points from Red and blu design hotel (holeckova 13) and Merrion hotel (Jeseniova 49), and a 18.5 per cent discount at bellevue Restaurant (smetanovo nábr). www.gastroinfo.cz/PivoDum U Vejvodu, one of Prague's many old alehouses. ASk foR A pivo, prosim (A bEER, plEASE) Velvet is the creation of Czech brewer Pivovary Staropramen. JANUARY 2011 blUe wInGs 49 ENG
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