Dalešice Brewery – Hops and history

A couple of pints, fresh at the source. The end product is only the beginning at Dalešice.
A couple of pints, fresh at the source. The end product is only the beginning at Dalešice.

Rise, Fall and Revival

The Brewery at Dalešice, in the south east corner of the Vysočina highland region, is certainly not the largest in the Czech Republic, but they do make a very good beer and have a quite engaging history to tell. Happily, the brewery is open to the public for tours where one can see not only the modern process of beer making but also get a glimpse at historical methods as well.

The brewery was established in the late 16th century and produced beer continuously until 1977 when it was shut down by the state due to mismanagement and quality control issues. Through the late 1970s, it served as a warehouse for beer from the nearby city of Znojmo.

The 1980s brought attention to the disused brewery through its use as a film set for the well known Czechoslovak film “Postřižiny” which features a scene of the main characters climbing one of the brewery chimneys.

However, ownership of the brewery changed and it fell into a state of deep disrepair. It narrowly escaped complete demolition in the early 1990s. In 1999, it was purchased by its current owners and restoration began with brewing activities eventually resuming

Today, The brewery is a popular tourist attraction which offers tours and a very good restaurant to refresh yourself afterward. Let’s have a look:

One of the large tanks on display in the museum section.
One of the large tanks on display in the museum section.

Brewing Through the Ages

One of the tours offered will take you through the brewery’s museum. This section is dedicated to the historical operations of the facility and the various owners and other prominent individuals associated with it in its early years.

Of particular note is František Ondřej Poupě, a critical figure to Czech brewing history. Poupě elevated and revolutionized brewing in the Czech lands to a truly professional level and spearheaded several brewing reforms through the late 1700s and early 1800s. The brewery at Dalešice, like many others, was certainly affected by his work and this is highlighted during the tour.

Passing through this section of the brewery will also bring you in contact with various historical pieces of equipment such as wood fired furnaces, belt run machinery, wooden vats and a manually operated bottling device.

The rustic environs of the museum section are replaced by cold steel and precision when you take the tour of the brewery’s modern operations.

Tanks full of modern lager waiting to be consumed.
Tanks full of modern lager waiting to be consumed.

The tour of the contemporary end of things begins with the malting process and carried through the various stages involved with creating a variety of light and dark lagers and ends in the cold, dark rooms occupied by large storage tanks where the end product awaits bottles or kegs.

I would definitely recommend some longer trousers and jacket if you go on this tour, the malting room is warm, but everything else is on the cold side and a bit wet with condensation.

The tours are about 20-25 minutes long, but informative. I have been on longer tours of other breweries that were less enlightening. The tours are conducted in Czech, though text in other languages should be available upon request when you sign up for a tour at the reception office.

The brewery restaurant with its rustic, beer hall atmosphere.
The brewery restaurant with its rustic, beer hall atmosphere.

Working up a thirst

After seeing the step by step process of brewing, you’ll no doubt be tempted to try the finished product yourself; thanks to the on site restaurant, you can do just that.

The restaurant has a distinctly beer hall feel with long tables and bench seats under its arching ceilings. on display around the restaurant are preserved props and costumes from films that used the brewery as a set. It really is thanks to film that the facility was kept in the public conscience and any attempt was made to save it.

The restaurant has a good selection of very good and hearty food to accompany any beer you choose to sample and it’s perfect for recharging yourself after touring around.

The twin chimneys of the brewery, landmarks of the Dalešice town site.
The twin chimneys of the brewery, landmarks of the Dalešice town site.

Visiting and Learning more

Should you wish to pay a visit to the brewery, Dalešice is not that difficult to access by bus from points outside. If you drive, there is some parking around the brewery.

Beyond the tours and restaurant, the brewery also offers a good range of souvenirs in the reception office and incorporates a hotel.

This link will take you to the brewery’s web page. While it is in Czech, there is a multilingual translator function built into it:

http://www.pivovar-dalesice.cz/en

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