To know this beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov is to walk the streets, seeing it’s restored beauty while remembering its recent past. Forty years of communist control had taken its toll as the town fell into disrepair. Walking through the restored Monastery Complex you find an exhibition of black and white photographs from CK artist Jiri Havlik which truly punctuates that point contrasting the past with today’s elegant revival.
Our guide for today, Tibor Horvath, leads us from our guesthouse down an alleyway to the back entrance to the brewery complex passing a huge brewery garden that will soon be the home to beer festivals and outdoor events. Keeping in mind that this is a private tour and we are extremely privileged to be one of the first to tour this brewery. With no disrespect to either Tibor or the brewery most areas on the outside of this complex are still in disrepair. Tibor points to a building across the courtyard saying this will be the hotel, and next to it the beer spa, and over here the old brewery will become the museum. I have seen first hand what determined Czech people can do. Seeing the restoration of Cesky Krumlov, I have no doubt that this will become a first class facility and a shining star in the Czech Republic.
Welcome to the Historic Brewery of Cesky Krumlov as Tibor provides our introduction to Blaza Rolnikova the person responsible for allowing our private tour and the primary contact for anyone wanting to tour the facility. The only local brewery in CK, they follow the successful historical tradition of the Schwarzenbergs’ brewing beer from this location since the1560. In 1945 the brewery came under state ownership (communist control) until privatization in 1991 becoming the Eggenberg brand with updated technology installed and brewing capacity increased. Fast forward to today, The Historic Brewery of Cesky Krumlov has been renovated to a modern brewing facility with state of the art brewing equipment that we will soon see.
Walking through the entry you are immediately impressed with an impeccably clean interior filled with modern brewing equipment. Tibor walked us through the brewery explaining each step in the process… milling the grain, mash conversion, lautering, the boil, wort separation and cooling. At this point Brewmaster Jan Nemecek, pours each of us a warm glass of wort, the sweet liquid extracted from the mashing process prior to fermentation. It was delicious but given the choice I’d prefer the final product. Now it’s down to the cellar for fermentation, and lagering with help of their computerized refrigeration system.
All in All we enjoyed the tour, especially the tasting of the final product! In my opinion much better than the Eggenberg brand that preceded it. It was a smoother full bodied beer, unpasteurized and without preservatives. The brewery restaurant located next door serves traditional Czech cuisine with an assortment of their beers sold under the Cesky Krumlov label. You’ll find their beer offered in many of the local restaurants.
We hope to be back again soon, gauging the progress as restoration of this brewing complex moves forward, somehow feeling as though we have participated in the reprise of this nearly 500 year old brewery. We look forward to Tibor’s vision of hotel and spa knowing the future is bright for The Historic Brewery!
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Historic Brewery of CK” on the subject line. I’d love to hear your suggestions too.