I was there in February 2012. A friend and me were driving to Slovakia and we stopped in Plzen unexpectedly. After finding the brewery we were told the tour already left but thanks to the kind girls behind the desk we could catch up with the group. The tour guide is a Czech but he lived in the States for a while. His English was excellent and he had a lot of knowledge about beer. He’d gladly answer any questions asked, even annoying questions about the SAB Miller thingie. Very impressive tour, especially the cellar part I won’t forget. Got to drink the real Plzensky Prazdroj from the barrel in the cellars, it’s as good as a pilsner style could get.
After the tour we were hanging around a bit in the main building as we were freezing our asses off in the cellar and outside (-17 celsuis on that day). We noticed an event going on and upon asking it was told it’s only for the families who were originally involved in the brewery. Like an annual reunion. We didn’t have an invitation. We wanted to join the party.
After having a few Westvleteren and a nice Struise Double Black we brought from our own cellar, we had the guts to return to the car, suit up and head back to the main building. After about 15 minutes we managed to sneak in to the party area. The thing is that Czech people are genuinly nice and as long as you move to another table every 15 minutes, nobody seemed to mind we were obviously uninvited. We had some great food there, met some funny people, enjoyed a few gigs, practised Czech like never before, and most of all drank free Plzensky until our liver shrunk to nearly nothing. We’re even on the ’family’ picture which was taken in the end. Czech people, Plzensky Prazdroj, I love you!
HAH! I got seconds in the cellar! Maybe the tour guide was tired of my barrage of questions. I’ve been on my fair share of Brewery Tours, and this one, takes, the cake, the bleu ribbon, the prom queen and all the money in the vault. It was well worth the cost (including the extra $ for the ability to take photos) Our tour took 2.25 hours. the walk thru the cellars is the highlight and I do agree with that the beer in the cellar is a bit heavier than at Na Parkanu or even outside at Na Spilice. This is a beer pilgramage of epic proprotions. I wish they could incorparate a trip up to the top of the water tower. this is the only beer tour that I have ever ridden a bus on. The new packaging house was attempting to get a new bottling line de-gremlinized when we walke thru. The can line was flying along at ludicrous speed. I enjoyed the openess between the glass partitions there so you could hear ad smell the production process. The gift shop is small but jam packed with goodies and they accept major credit cards, so watch out. I did not eat at Na Spilice but what I saw going to the other tables looked great.
The tour is pretty commercial and slightly over egging the SAB Miller element of this historic brewery. The reason everyone comes here is to sample the traditionally brewed Plzensky Prazdroj which has been fermented in open oak vats and matured in massive oak barrels. It is the only place in the world you can get it and it is sensational. Nothing like even the excellent Kvasnicove or the solid unpasteurised version served in tankovna pubs. A wonderful fresh hop aroma, soft carbonation and malt heart it makes a mockery of progress - why is all pilsner beer brewed like this. Or why can they not sell it at the brewery?
If you are feeling cheeky, sneak away from your tour group as you are leaving the cellars and another group is coming in to get seconds.
cubs (420) Fort Collins, Colorado | October 13, 2010
Probably my favorite brewery tour of all-time. You get to see all of the new equipment- tanks, bottling, etc as well as the old cellar where they would lager the beer. The highlight of the tour was trying the unfiltered Pilsner Urquell. Simply amazing. Afterwards, we hit the restaurant to try all of the beers and had some very tasty food. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended.
Well worth a visit. We had a tour with Vaclav Berka who showed us around the place where they still craft the wooden barrels they use. Then we went straight to the cellars that boast a huge amount of open, wooden fermenting vats and oak lagering barrels. Well, we spent some too much time sampling the unfiltered Urquell from one of those barrels and didn’t have the time to see the brewing process. Instead, we got the chance to see the malting process, which was a rare experience. Very recommended, not the least because of the cellars.
Grovlam (47) Copenhagen, Denmark | July 1, 2008| Updated July 3, 2008
The brewery was quit big, but still managed to make this somewhat interesting. Nothing new in the tour, just well planed and executed. And most importantly the unfiltered Urquell at the end of the tour just makes it all worth going. From Prague it was a train trip about 1.40 hours, and the brewery was easy to find in Plzen right next to the train station. The Na Spilce restaurant was a big place with 500 seeds, but the food there was amazingly cheep and excellent. Service was friendly but not that informative about the beers.
Visited 1/1/16: Ok, the tour is a corporate mess. However, the beer straight from the barrels at the end of the tour (you can have several, just ask!) is HEAVEN. Go for that, period.
Capa (457) Kitsap, Washington | September 29, 2013
Yes, it is a bit touristy, but it is also one of the more thorough brewery tours I’ve ever been on. I don’t think the SABMiller bit was too hyped, though they did make sure you knew it was owned by them. You get to see the bottling line, the old and new brewhouse, and the highlight of the tour, the cellars, where you drink unfiltered Urquell straight from the barrel. Our tour guide was very informative and friendly. While the group we ended up with on our tour was fairly large, it didn’t seem cramped nor were we rushed thru things and I feel we really got the whole experience of the tour. The unfilled Urquell obviously being the highlight. You can ask for a small glass or a large one- go with the large one...duh. Regardless of your stance on pilsners or SABMiller, it really is a must see for beer geeks. But, it is also done in a way that my non-beer geek wife had a blast and repeatedly told me how much fun it was. She also loved the unfiltered. Excellent side trip if you’re visiting Prague. (Selection gets a bump because it is one of two places you can get the unfiltered)