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What's with all the Foamy Beer in Prague?

Ryan and I were shocked when we landed in Prague and saw an advertisement for a beer that was half full of foam. We had a quick chuckle and then moved on. However, we were both shocked when were served beers that looked just like the advertisement! So, what's with all the foamy beer in Prague?

prague beer

1. Bottom-Fermentation Method: Czech beers, like many lagers, are primarily brewed using the bottom-fermentation method, also known as "lagering." During this process, yeast ferments the beer at lower temperatures, typically between 7°C and 12°C (45°F to 54°F). The colder fermentation results in fewer carbon dioxide bubbles being released during the process. Consequently, when the beer is poured into a glass, these residual bubbles emerge as the thick foam we see on top.

2. Carbonation and Retention: The key to the ample foam lies in the level of carbonation within the beer. Czech breweries carefully calibrate the carbonation levels to achieve the perfect balance, resulting in a more substantial and creamier head. Additionally, certain beer styles have proteins and compounds that enhance foam retention, further contributing to the persistence of the head on Czech beers.

3. Pouring Technique: The art of pouring a Czech beer is not to be underestimated. Bartenders in the Czech Republic are trained to pour the perfect pint, ensuring that the head is neither too thick nor too thin. By tilting the glass at the correct angle and controlling the flow of the beer, they create an optimal head that adds to the overall drinking experience.

4. Glassware: The choice of glassware plays a crucial role in maximizing the foam's appearance and longevity. Traditional Czech beer glasses, such as the "půllitr," are designed with a tulip shape that allows the carbonation to gather at the top, emphasizing the foamy crown. Moreover, the shape of the glass concentrates the beer's aroma, further enhancing the sensory experience.

5. Cultural Significance: Czech beer culture is deeply rooted in the nation's history and pride. The abundance of foam on Czech beers is not just a product of the brewing process but also a symbol of Czech craftsmanship and tradition. The foam keeps the beer safe from the "cruel outside world". Beer has played a significant role in Czech social life, and the meticulous attention to detail in the brewing and presentation of beer reflects the country's strong beer heritage.

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