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Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour – Czech Republic

Visiting the place where Pilsner was invented is a must for any beer lover. Just a day trip from Prague, the Pilsener Urquell Brewery tour is a must.

Living in Grafenwoehr, right over the border from the Czech Republic, we definitely get our fill of the golden nectar that is beer. Here you can find beer in so many varieties and styles that you your mind will be left reeling by all of the choices even before you’ve had anything to drink!

But no matter where you are in the world, chances are pretty good that you’re tipping back a glass of sudsy brew, called a “pils”,  that had its origins in the small city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic.  To say we were excited to take the Pilsener Urquell Brewery Tour is an understatement.

Pilsen Brewery, Pilsner Urquell, Main Gate.
The Pilsen Brewery Main Gate lends a historical authenticity to their claim to fame…inventing the first pils beer.

Pilsen, the Original Pils Beer

According to most experts, beer, in some form or another, has been around since the times of ancient Egypt and the pharaohs. It has even been used in spas, at beer baths throughout the Czech Republic. And, indeed, in the early nineteenth century it was not a new drink. In Pilsen when the city brewers guild and aldermen got together and decided to do something about the bad quality of their favorite drink, the decision was made to design and build a new, state of the art brewery to accommodate the needs of the town to develop the best tasting brew possible.

Beer barrels and wagon for hauling pils beer.
Modern mixed with the traditional, from machinery to artifacts you witness this on the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.

Once the brewery was operating, it only took the master brewer, Josef Groll, a short time to develop the next great beer, a bottom fermented pale lager with a longer shelf life and better taste than anything the townspeople had tipped back before. Soon the word got out and the new beer, Pilsner Urquell, was being barreled up and shipped far and wide. A testament to its taste and popularity, it’s still widely sought after in all corners of the world, and we Vails?  We love it!

Bottling room in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
One of the most fascinating rooms within the Pilsener Urquell Brewery, the bottling room is in constant motion and all the workers seem very happy. I would be too, if I knew a fresh pils beer was my afternoon snack.

The History of Pils Beer

So how do you learn about this fascinating history? Who can tell you all about the endeavors of Josef Groll, master brewer? Why, the guides on the Pilsner Urquell brewery museum and factory tour, of course! The brewery is still in operation today, massively so, in fact. It brews and bottles beer at the rate of over 120,000 bottles per hour.

Model of beer factory in Pilsen.
A model of the original brewing process developed for the new pils beer by Josef Groll.

But you can slow down and enjoy a two hour tour without getting caught up on the conveyor belts or pushed aside in the reject pile. Check the brewery’s website for up to the minute information; but, on most days, you can take an English tour at one of three times throughout the day. You’ll be accompanied by a tour guide who will happily give you all the pertinent details of the factories operation as well as sharing a story or two about Josef and some industrial spies.

Print of Pilsener Urquell Brewery showing the plant in 1842.
A print of the old Pilsener Urquell Brewery the same year the famous new beer – pils – was invented.

Taking the Pilsener Urquell Brewery Tour

The tour will take you through the small museum, to the bottling plant, into the old and new brew houses, through a hands on experiential exhibit complete with 360 degree cinema, and finally down into the lagering caves. The breweries high tech cooling system, back in the day, included miles of these cool tunnels that could be kept even cooler during the summer months with ice that had been packed in during the winter.

Of course, the tunnels don’t get much use in today’s brewing and bottling process, but the factory does still brew and ferment a large batch of special, unfiltered pilsner especially for consumption on the tour only. You’ll get a chance to belly up to one of the big wooden casks, pull a beer and enjoy it in the cold cellar tunnels. I especially recommend this on a hot summer day!

The old copper Fermentation Tanks in Pilsen.
Bright and clean, the fermentation tanks room gets you ready to try some of their newest, unfiltered pils beer.

Aside from taking the tour of the factory and the cellars, you can enjoy a good meal at the onsite restaurant where you can also sample a version of that special unfiltered brew, though it wasn’t fermented in the oaken casks. There is also a small museum store where you can purchase mementos of your visit, and of course, a case or two of your favorite pale lager, Pilsner Urquell!

Wooden barrels filled with Pilsener Urquell beer.
Huge wooden barrels store the pils, giving it a unique taste. On the brewery tour, the guides open the tanks, and you can pour your own pint. Yum!

Practical Information

Opening Hours

10:00 – 5:00, English tours are offered once every hour.

Getting There by Train

Take the train from the main station. It’s one hour from Prague on the RegioJet. Once you arrive in Pilsen, you can either take the number 13 to NC Černice or the number 15 bus to Mrakodrap, but this one has a longer walk.

Vintage Car in front of the Pilsener Urquell Brewery.
Along with the brewery tour, Pilsener Urquell hosts many live events. We enjoyed a vintage car exhibit the day we visited.

Pilsner Urquell Brewery
U Prazdroje 7, 301 00
Plzeň 3, Czech

What’s your favorite brew? Have you been to Plzen or the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Pin the Pilsener Urquell Brewery Tour for later!

Pilsen Beer Factory Tower.

The Edinburgers

Sunday 19th of March 2017

Visited a few weeks ago for the brewery tour and loved it! Incredible amount of history tied to the place and not to mention great beer of course :)

Corinne Vail

Sunday 19th of March 2017

Jonathan, I agree. I totally love Czech beer!

Linda Bibb

Wednesday 18th of November 2015

I do enjoy a good beer, Corinne, and pilseners are some of my favorites. And speaking of beer, I'd like to try a Czech Budweiser, just so I could finally say I had enjoyed a Bud. It would make for a good laugh among my friends, who know that I think America's Budweiser beer is detestable. :) #TheWeeklyPostcard

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 18th of November 2015

Linda, I detest American Budweiser as well. Yes, you need to come and check it out!

Catherine Sweeney

Sunday 15th of November 2015

Haven't been to Plzen, but it's on the hubby's list of next things to do in the Czech Republic (being the beer drinker in the family). I do enjoy a brew once in a while especially in special places like this where the beers are made. Interesting to think that beer has been around since ancient Egypt.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 15th of November 2015

Catherine, Yes, well I do like a good brew and I have to say that I love Czech beers more than most.


Saturday 14th of November 2015

1842? I bet they know a thing or two about making beer. I love the building. Without seeing the chimney, I would have thought it was a government building, not a factory. The car, beautiful color, is a nice touch. Looks brand new, too! Thanks for the tour, Corinne!

Corinne Vail

Saturday 14th of November 2015

Marcia, The building was beautiful with an ornate gate to welcome you right up front. I highly recommend it!


Saturday 14th of November 2015

Man, the next time I make it over to the Czech Republic I am definitely going to have to do this! I love beer and I find the history of breweries so interesting! Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

Corinne Vail

Saturday 14th of November 2015

Lolo, Then you definitely need to go. What a beautiful brewery!