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Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic


Evan Rail

The first edition of Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic appeared in 1996, and what a difference we find in this long-overdue second edition. We’re talking complete reworking rather than a simple update or revision.

CAMRA founder Graham Lees, who compiled the first version, has given way to American journo Evan Rail, who lives in the Czech Republic and, by the sound of it, is making himself well and truly at home.

The format is also different, sensibly moving away from the limiting tall, narrow shape of the original UK Good Beer Guide and following the Belgium guide into a more practical, squatter package, produced, magnificently, in full colour.

Where the guide really comes into its own is in explaining the different types of beer you can find in the country. The assumption is that Czech beer is simply a matter of pale or dark lagers of varying strengths, but Rail leads the uninitiated through a more complex scenario that it will pay the beer traveller to study.

As elsewhere in the series, the tone is uncompromising: the book is there to promote good beer and anything else doesn’t make the grade. The whole country is carved up by brewery, with details of local outlets where you can sample each one’s beers, then there’s a final section on recommended pubs.

It seems odd that only Prague and the city of Brno are covered here (the former in plenty of detail, it is fair to say), but as the best bars in more out-of-the-way places are touched upon in the breweries’ section, it’s not such an aberration. With tips on travel, language and – all importantly – beer and bar etiquette, this is the first thing I pack when I head east.

Second edition (2007)

224-page paperback (CAMRA Books)


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