An easy walk from the city center, the expansive walled operation was advertising the 500th anniversary of U Flekú. Most visitors drink their beer in the large open outdoor patio with its rows of adjoining dark wooden picnic tables on gray stone tiles. Only the house beer of the day is served and it alternates between a dark and a light. These beers are poured en mass and served the same way by male waiters. With each beer delivered the waiter marks another "strike" on your paper tab. These servers also push the local "herbal liquor." Service is fast-paced but sporadic. Surrounding the patio are indoor drinking halls (reserved for groups), dining areas, and shade trees. Cats wander freely throughout and cigarette smoking is the norm. Tan multi-story stone buildings with orange-tiled roofs are covered with murals and act as fortification to protect the brewing premises from unappreciative barbarians.
A light food menu is offered that includes cold cuts, chicken, beef, goose salad, and of course, goulash. Selections run from 70 to 170 kr. Served with the traditional dumplings, the goulash is mildly spiced and consists of coarse and fatty cuts of beef. The meal goes well with the Lezák (Light) beer. The Dark is a cloudy dark brown with an almost chewy mouthfeel where the flavor balance tilts toward the darker malts, with a dryness that borders on sour. A .4 liter glass costs 49 kr. Now promoted as a tourist attraction, the emphasis seems to be on quantity over quality, much like the larger beer halls in Munich today. The crowd seems split evenly between men and women, with most customers appearing to be foreigners or local groups. Hours are 10 to 17 (5 p.m.) Mondays through Fridays, and 10 to 16 Sundays and Holidays. A merchandise room is available at the front and tours of the "museum" can be requested. The museum is actually rooms throughout the complex where brewing vessels and instruments from centuries ago have been preserved. The guides appear to be any available staff member, so the language used will likely be Czech or German. Although very touristy, a visit does offer a glimpse into Czech brewing history.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -