One of these places is the Strahov Monastery, just over the Charles Bridge and high up on the hill (once you’ve climbed it you’ll deserve a pint…or half a litre anyway). The monastery is stunning to behold and a wonderful backdrop for when you’re sitting outside the brewery, which has an intriguing history of its own, housed in buildings dating from 1142. The first evidence of brewing on the site is documented as being on the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. However, the brewery was closed in 1907 and only reopened in 2000 after extensive refurbishment. While the monks are not involved in the brewing process, the beers are still named after St Norbert.
There are two main brews, the usual light and dark beers and then additional special and seasonal beers. Unfortunately we were too early for the Christmas ale; I love me a Christmas ale, but the rest did not disappoint.
Our first two beers were the Amber beer, unfiltered (5.3%) and Dark beer, unfiltered (5.5%)
Look at those dimpled jugs. Look at those enormous, creamy, frothy heads. Look at the colour of those beers! I’m salivating just looking at this picture.
One thing I love about dark Czech beers is that you get all of that flavour without the sky high ABV. This malty dark lager was bursting with the aroma and taste of roasted nuts and caramel, but with a pleasingly bitter edge.
The amber beer was no less appealing; a cloudy dark orange with a flowery aroma. The body was heavier than I anticipated, but that was no bad thing, especially on a colder day. There was a mild bitterness, but it wasn’t overpowering. Another drinkable number.
But what was this? An IPA on the menu? Made with 2 types of American hops? In a Czech microbrewery in the grounds of a monastery? IT’S LIKE ALL MY DREAMS HAD COME TRUE.