Something for your beer? 5 Czech beer snacks and great places to try them

Molten cheese, stinky cheese, raw sausage, lard and onions – our pick of great local flavors to enjoy with a beer, or two!

Marcus Bradshaw

Written by Marcus Bradshaw
Published on 21.05.2021 15:12 (updated on 21.05.2021)

As the rain stops and another set of restrictions are lifted, people are flocking to beer gardens once more. Many beer gardens offer něco k pivu – something small to eat with your beer (often appearing on menus as pivní chuťovky). It’s not substantial enough to be a meal in itself, but it’s large enough to satisfy immediate hunger, and stop the beer from going straight to your head.

Here’s our pick of five beer snacks, along with recommendations of great beer gardens to try them in:

The beer garden at Restaurace U Pinkasů in Prague.
The beer garden at Restaurace U Pinkasů in Prague.

Grilled hermelín with cranberry and herbs

This vegetarian favorite consists of a round of hermelin cheese wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled until the insides are molten. Cut into it and let the center ooze out, spread it onto some bread, and add a dollop of cranberry sauce for tart sweetness.

Try this at Restaurace U Pinkasů, where the beer garden is wedged between the buttresses of a medieval monastic church, just off Wenceslas Square. They claim to be the earliest stockists of Pilsner Urquell in Prague, pouring their first pilsner in 1843. Make sure to look into the magnificent Church of Our Lady of the Snow as well, it’s absolutely spectacular!

Nakládaný hermelín or pickled hermelín is another must: these rounds of creamy cheese soaked in flavored oil and typically served with rye bread, have been around since the early 20th century when this Czech version of French camembert was introduced.

Pork scratchings with lard and onions

This tastes a lot better than it sounds! Served with a basket of bread, the pork fat spreads like butter, and the onions add a sharpness that helps balance the richness. Just don’t go on a date immediately afterwards.

Try this at the Klášterní Šenk at the Břevnov monastery, a Benedictine monastery founded in 996, which holds that accolade of being the oldest monastery in the Czech Republic, and the oldest brewery too.

Marinated Olomouc Cheese

https://www.strednimorava-tourism.cz/
https://www.strednimorava-tourism.cz/

Olomoucké tvarůžky are a ripened soft cheese made in Loštice, near Olomouc. Commonly sold in small round yellow discs, it is strongly scented and has a pungent taste. Tvarůžky have Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union, meaning that they must be made in Loštice, or you can’t call them “Olomoucké tvarůžky”. As you might expect, there’s a Museum of Olomouc Cheese in Loštice, dedicated to these small smelly sources of local pride.

Pražská Šunka (Prague Ham)

First produced by a butcher on Zvonařka street in Vinohrady in the 1870s, Prague ham is ham that is brine cured, stewed and mildly beechwood smoked. Traditionally it was made by soaking pork in oak vats for two weeks, but modern processes (and more demanding hygiene standards) have sped that up to one day. It is listed by the EU as a guaranteed traditional speciality, so it must be made in Prague to be Prague ham, and imitators must label their product as Prague-style ham.

Enjoy a plate of sliced ham, accompanied with a slightly spicy horseradish cream at U Sadu’s popular beer garden, just under the television tower in the Žižkov district (the pub has also just launched a 'picnic baskets' service)!

Utopenec

Literally translating as a drowned man, these sausages aren’t cooked, but are usually pickled in brine for at least two weeks. The sausages are “drowned” in a tangy marinade of bay leaves, onions, garlic, black pepper and other spices, before being served cold with bread.

Restaurant Na Slamníku, a stone's throw from Stromovka Park in Prague's Dejvice district is often classed as the oldest pub in the Czech capital. It's currently offering daily grill nights outdoors in its modest (yet real-deal) garden in addition to a regular menu of beer bites including a utopenec, as well as all of the items mentioned above.

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