When I graduated from college more than a decade ago, I went backpacking through Europe. And while there's nothing unique about this in itself, I prided myself on finding places to visit that were off the beaten path, often on a whim or a recommendation from a more seasoned traveler. And so it was that I ended up in the Bohemian Czech town of Ceské Krumlov, on the suggestion of a couple of South African boys I met in an underground jazz club in Prague. Just a hop, skip and a jump from this technicolor village was the larger Ceské Budejovice, the source of the ubiquitous Budweiser Budvar beer that I drank breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was cheaper than water and far better than Czech coffee (which was all to often instant crystals), refreshing, interesting and food-friendly. It is NOT to be confused with the Budweiser we have here in the States, however, which was originally brewed as an imitation of the Bohemian lager. Its brewing history dates back to the thirteenth century, and it's been made at the Pivovar Budejovický Budvar brewery in Ceské Budejovice since the late 1800s. Sold under the Czechvar label here in the US, it's the beer I want with goulash and other wintery stews, and it's a go-to for hot paddling down the river, sitting in the sun, or when breakfast just calls for a pint. (Leah Greenstein, K&L Wine Merchants)
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