September 22 2017 Frankfort => Stuttgart Folkfest =>Munich Octoberfest => Pilsen=>Prague => Koprivince (Czech Republic).
Well, first day, a very long with the travel, we meet in at the Cannstatter Volksfestverein in Sutttart, Germany. We stayed in Ludwigsburg, Germany and commuted via train to the festival. Wow! What serious business the fest is. I love it. Here is a shot of the first tent we drank in (All photos,click to enlarge). This is one of seven tents.
The fest is something like 174 years old and boy are they good at it. I have never been so impressed with the quality of the booths at any carnival like fest. The ‘booths’ were much more than just booths, they were a labor of love.
A photo from the top of the ferris wheel.
Big festival. The quality of everything at this festival is superb. Beer, music, food, the layout. We have also at the time of this writing been to the Octoberfest. This is the second largest festival in Germany and I think that if you stay nearby and go during the week, it is a better festival than the Octoberfest.
Of course the Octoberfest is the big daddy of them all. Munich is quite an amazing city. We had great accommodations near the festival. We did not have any table reservations for any tent, which is a not good. We got very lucky in that we were given a good tip from a server that someone had cancelled. It was early in the day and we got a table for a number of hours. Here is a panoramic photo from our seats taken at 1 in the afternoon:
I was fortunate to get my old friend from Germany (who lived in my neighborhood in my town) to meet me and talk old times and have some beers. It was great to see him. I hope to make it back over to visit him.
I will say that in my experience, the Octoberfest was much better at holding reservations and clearing out people whose reservation had expired. This was what I observed in the tents we were in.
Here was our crew at the Octoberfest:
Next we traveled to the Czech Republic. Soon over the boarder we stopped at a small pub with beer from a brewery called Pivovar Kout. It was in a very quaint town called Domazlice.
After our beer at this pub, we realized that the brewery of this beer was not far away, so we stopped there. It is a pretty old facility that was interrupted with the communist occupation and went into pretty bad disrepair.
We stayed in a small flat in Pilsen. We had a few bottles of beer from the brewery above which we finished off at the end of the night in Pilsen.
Of course we had to go the the Pilsner Urquell brewery which had a very polished tour (99 minutes long they say).
The front gate to enter the large brewery compound.
The brewery has done a great job setting up areas just for the tours.
Above is an old wort chiller. This whole area was really like a museum.The tour included a short bus ride to the bottling facility which was quite large. Then we went down into the caves under the brewery where they still make beer for the benefit of the brewery tours.
Open air fermenters.
Here Luke and I get a pint off of the conditioning barrels.
Into the next room to quench our thirst.
Luke, myself, Jana and Aaron. A great brewery tour. Below is a copper fermenter that was buried in the ground during WWII so it wouldn’t be taken to be melted down for the war effort. It obviously was dug up after the war to be displayed here.
This part of the tour was earlier used equipment that was reassembled just so the tours would see what the older brewing equipment looked like.
Here is an interesting point. This room (and it was tall and big) used to be filled up with ice so that the caves would be kept cool all summer long. We were told that it was filled from top to bottom with ice.
Here are a few photos of the modern brewing equipment. Since decotion mashing is done on Czech beers, there is a tun for mashing (on the right, if I remember correctly) and a tun to bring the mash to a boil for this style of mashing.
Next stop, Prague
The first thing that caught my eye in this extremely beautiful city was this brewery (Pivovar) on a boat. Everything was done on the boat. Not sure how they dealt getting waste water from brewing into their sewer system.
No Attaboy Beer brewery wasn’t paying me to wear their shirt. It’s just a nice shirt to wear!
Open air fermentation on the boat.
Very cool and the beer was pretty good.
A later shot as we walked by.
Prague is such a beautiful city.
Not far from the above photo, we found this pub.
The way beer is poured in the Czech Republic is unique. Here’s a video of a pour:
Just about every beer we had, the head was pretty much a very important part of the pour.
Then we climbed up the Petrin Lookout Tower on a hill in Prague:
Which gave us some amazing views of Prague.
Here is a small brewery/pub that claims to be associated with a monastery. I did not see any evidence of this. The beer was pretty good.
One beer was all they offered. I wasn’t complaining.
Below, at our next stop, this brewery/brewpub could not have been more than a few barrels, the video below shows that they open ferment and to the right of this not more than 20 feet was a cool ship, chilling their wort.
Next we take a train four hours east to Kopřivnice. Which is the home of Jana, Arron’s wife. It is a lovely little town that is blossoming beautifully out of its’ communist roots.
The town is centered around a factory (named Tatra)that seems to make or have made everything. We went to the museum of Tatra and it is Smithsonian quality showing of all of the great things that the have made or are still making. It was a great place to visit.
The only brewery to visit is called Polivar Koprivnice.
One morning Jana says we’re going to walk up to an old castle.
After a long, long walk, its’ shadowy image started to appear.
We pushed further on….
We paid the entrance fee and climbed to the top.
Well worth the climb.
And what do we find on the other side of the mountain? A quaint little town with a small brewery.
The little town was at the base of the mountain we climbed, on the other side.
And they were having a festival.
There were many many more great places we visited. I could do a whole site on the two German festivals we visited OR the two great museums in Kopřivnice we went through.
This was the best trip I have taken. Everything was just amazing. The people I traveled with and the places that they took me. I love the Czech Republic and hope to get back there.