beer and hops

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Our recent trip to Prague and Germany was all about BEER. It was a 10-day tour specifically designed for craft brewing enthusiasts. So, let’s take a journey through some of the interesting things we saw, shall we? All beer-related, of course (the pretty scenic pics will come in another post).


*Note:  I am fully aware that this is a DIY home improvement blog, but I wasn’t exactly getting anything done while I was out of town, so hopefully you’re still interested enough to read about this until I tire of bragging about our trip… home-related blog posts are coming again soon, I promise!

original budweiser beer
Did you know there is an original Budweiser? One of my favorites from the entire trip.
One of the more interesting breweries we visited was called the Herold brewery in Březnice, Czech Republic. It was run by a tiny little guy (the “brewmaster”) who required an interpreter, but was very pleased to be giving a tour to people who were knowledgeable about brewing. We toured his facility and were able to try his beer straight off the line. He was so impressed with the questions he got from our group, he had his people go back and fill the glasses three more times – which according to our guide, was a first.


Scott standing next to a large mound of malt
Fresh hops
Fresh hops
Did you know there was a different way to drink from a larger, heavy glass? Instead of holding the handle and lifting with your other hand…

how to drink from a large beer glass

…you hold the glass against your forearm, which allows you to drink with one hand! Leaving one hand free to swat the person trying to take the glass from you. Genius.

drinking beer in prague

Nearby the brewery was Březnice Castle, which is decorated in true Bohemian style. After all, the castle is located in southern Bohemia! Apparently, the previous dwellers were avid hunters.

Bohemian outer grounds
The outer grounds

Most of the other buildings in Březnice showed their age, with most of the damage brought on by WWII.


Another interesting brewery we visited was one of the last stops on our trip:  the Schlenkerla Brewery in Bamberg, Germany. Here we were able to talk all night with Mattias, a fifth generation brewmaster (who knew English quite well, and was the highlight of Scott’s trip), and try a very unique kind of beer… Rauchbier, which is also referred to as “smoked beer”. It has a rich, smoky flavor that I normally associate with smoked meats. In other words, it tasted like liquid bacon.

And let’s not forget about the rich, hearty food that comes with such a rich, hearty beer:  all pork, all potatoes, no substitutes. In fact, we were told that if we preferred a lighter option, “Go with the potato pancakes”!!!

german taco

We called this the “German taco” – a potato pancake with marinated pork inside.

german food

One cool thing about the smoked beer is that the flavor was so unique, the brewery has also begun making the beer into chocolate truffles. I’ll admit, it was a strange taste, but won us both over by truffle number two!

beer truffles

And last but not least, Scott and I were at the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest. To say that we tried the beer would be an understatement… we had a great time.


The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly, the food (seriously, only get the “half chicken” if you ever go) was to die for, and the bands were playing their hearts out. It was easy to keep up; just about every other song was in English.


Oktoberfest is essentially what you would get in the U.S. if everyone at your state fair began dressing in lederhosen and dirndls. There are rides, tents, games, food kiosks, and of course… massive beer gardens with lots of rowdy Germans signing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of their lungs.

Oktoberfest beer tents

Oktoberfest drinking

Now that Scott and I are back home, we are slowly getting used to our normal diets that don’t include beer with every meal (even breakfast). We have about ten pounds each to lose (at least!), and I’ve finally been able to load the last of my pictures onto my Picasa web album. Feel free to browse through!

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  1. Chicken hats? Hmm, no, I don't think I did! But there were some crazy hat-and-glasses combos that Scott and other members of our group tried on. Check the web album for pics!