Tuesday 19th August 2014
This brew pub is around three kilometres from the city centre in the northern suburb of Lochotín. It’s found on the main road to Karlovy Vary and is easily reached by public transport as a frequent tram route passes along Karlovarská outside. From the street it resembles a Swiss pub with balconies and the exterior terrace. The name means roughly “The Knight of Lochotín”. U doesn’t translate very well to English but it alludes to “At the sign of....”, so a Czech would say that I was visiting (the pub) “at the sign of The Knight of Lochotín”.
It was opened in 2001 with the brewery producing its first beer in the following year. An interesting feature is that it has its own Squash court which is available to hire. It is the brainchild of owner Vladimír Bečka and it is a deceptive large pub. What is unusual is that the brewery is not visible from the public rooms. Normally you would find it as a centrepiece of the main room, but not here, as it’s on a lower level behind the kitchen.
Brewer Václav Patrovský normally brews about once a week in summer and double that in winter. Annual production has varied considerably over the years but it is normally between 300 hl and 500 hl. You notice the size of the place and ask the question as to why the production is so small? I think the answer lies in the fact that they also sell Plzeňsky Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell) and Grambrinus 10% unfiltered and most of the customers are conservative and won’t change to the home-brewed beers. That’s a pity as they are very good.
They are brewed in batches of 500 litres and after primary fermentation it goes to one of the 14 maturation tanks. Incidentally the yeast strain is the same as Urquell and I believe they are also the source of the malt.
It is entirely possible that financially Urquell are behind the pub. That’s pure conjecture on my part but there are so many links, it is possible.
The types of beers have varied a bit over the years yet generally they are between 11% and 13% on the Balling scale used in the Czech Republic (and all points east). This equates to a range of 4.3% to 5.2% abv but that is not definitive. The styles are Svetlý (light) through Polotmavý (half dark or amber) to Tmavý (dark). On the menu that day were Polotmavý Ležák 11% and a Speciál at 13% which turned to be a Pilsner-style light beer.
On my visit I entered through the main door up some steps following an old lady. Once inside I soon noticed that she was a regular as the waiter had seen her coming and was ready with a half litre of beer, that was soon followed by a massive bowl of soup! I had settled in the main room. About half way along was the serving area followed by another large room that had an exit to the terrace.
I’m sure there is even more to this pub to what I observed. Apparently there is a beer garden and I don’t think they mean the terrace. I liked the beers and would say that it is well worth the effort of a 12 minute tram ride from the centre of the city.
Minipivovar U Rytíře Lochoty, Karlovarská 103, 32317 Plzeň. Tel: 377 540 946
Open: Monday-Thursday 09.30-23.00; Friday-Saturday 09.30-24.00; Sunday 09.30-22.00
The No 4 tram is the best way to get here. The pub is equidistant to two tram stops, but as it is located on a hill I suggest travellers should go to the furthest, Sokolovská and walk down to the pub.
On leaving the pub keep walking in the same direction down the hill to the U Družby stop to return to the city centre.
If coming from the railway station go to the Hlavní Nádraží ČD stop and catch the no 1 or 2 trams towards the city centre. Alight at Sady Pětatřicátniků and continue as above.