A microbrewery reopened in 2015 is located on the grounds of the monastery in Plasy. The Plasy brewery continues the brewing tradition of the monastery on site. I felt very comfortable there, and not just from a culinary point of view.
Many monks brewed their own beer in their monasteries, and this was also the case in Plasy in the Czech Republic. It is assumed that the Cistercians brewed their first beer for their own consumption shortly after the monastery was founded in 1144. However, the existence of the brewery can only really be proven around 1599, when the abbot complained in writing that his people were not drinking beer.
Around 1744, the then prior of Plasz Monastery wrote the work Lapis sepulchralis. In it, he describes the monastery and also mentions the malt house and brewery. When the monastery was dissolved shortly afterwards in 1785, the administration was transferred to the religious fund.
Later, Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince of Metternich-Winneburg, bought the estate and the brewery. The demand for the beer was so great at this time that the capacity was no longer sufficient. The prince commissioned the Prague master builder Novák to construct a modern, larger brewery. The first beer was brewed there in 1870. A storage cellar was built under the monastery so that the barrels could be stored properly and cool. A new malt house was built in 1900.
In the 1930s, the brewery produced 10° draught beer, 12° pale lager and 14° Republikán export beer.
After the Second World War, the government placed the brewery under state administration. The last beer was brewed here in 1966 and the malt house closed a year later.
In 2008, the brewing trade began to move back into the monastery. The National Technical Museum took over the building. It was to be restored and then used for beer production. The time had finally come in 2015. The first brew was prepared, the brewery was opened to the public and the beer was sold.
A beer at the Plasy brewery
There are only a few beer tables in front of the rather inconspicuous door through which I enter the brewery’s guest room. Even from the entrance, I can see the gleaming copper kettles and I imagine I can smell a faint odour of mash. In a second room there are long, light-coloured wooden tables with benches.
It was a bit dim and so I could barely recognise the murals at first. Once my eyes had adjusted to the light, it took me a while to look at them more closely. The history of the region is depicted in such great detail, it’s simply amazing!
The Plasy brewery doesn’t just serve beer, I also had a very good meal there. In addition to typical Czech hearty dishes, the menu also included dishes that are rather atypical for a brewery. I opted for tartare. When the food arrived, I learnt how it is eaten in the region. First you rub the garlic generously on the toasted bread and then you put the tartare thickly on the slice of bread. I loved it!
The beer selection in the brewery changes. Some beers are always on offer, others are only available seasonally. I found it particularly exciting that a wheat beer was on offer.
I’ve missed that in Czech breweries so far (or there was only imported wheat beer). It tasted good to me. The beer was full-bodied, didn’t have too much banana flavour and hardly any bitterness. I actually wanted to take a bottle home with me, but there was no bottling. The beer came from the barrel.
Vašnosta 10° is a Světlé výčepní (pale lager) with an alcohol content of 3.8%. The bottom-fermented beer is produced in the Pilsner brewing style. It is triple-hopped with a not too intrusive bitter flavour.
Nachmelenec 11° is exceptionally bitter and is made from the American hop varieties Citra and Cascade. It resembles an English ale and I think you first have to get used to the flavour.
If you like drinking a dark strong beer, you should definitely try the Pekelník 13°. The bottom-fermented beer is really very dark and quite strong with an alcohol content of 5.2%. The beer is not as sweet as I know it from other dark beers. I think it had a slight bitter flavour. If you prefer a semi-dark strong beer, you should try the Felčar 13°. The beer has an almost amber-like colour. During the brewing process, the brewers used the caramel malt in very small doses. However, you can taste the slightly bitter flavour that the malt gives the beer.
The best-selling beer from the Plasy brewery is Lothar 12°. And to be honest, it was also my favourite. The pale lager shines in the glass, the foam is fine-pored and it smells slightly of Pilsner. Lothar is brewed with Žatec hops, which give the beer a full-bodied flavour. Some would say the beer tastes too bitter, but I found the flavour excellent. You can drink more of it!
A little tip:
As you can really stay longer in the Plasy brewery and there is good beer, it’s best to do the monastery tour beforehand!
331 01 Plasy, Tschechien
The visit to the brewery took place as part of a press trip.