If you ask any Czech what the Czechs are best at, they are bound to say beer. And Hockey. And soccer. Actually (like American’s) most Czechs believe themselves to be superior in all aspects of life. But the one area that they claim absolute dominance is Pivo. (That’s beer to you.) In order to celebrate their achievement in the glories of alcohol and alcoholism, and to have yet another reason to drink vast amounts of beer in the middle of the day, they have the Czech Beer Festival.
The Beer Festival is one of many festivals that celebrate alcohol here in the CZ. And that’s great. It should be celebrated! And what better way to celebrate alcohol than by drinking grotesque quantities of it? The Beer Fest features big tents, (ala Ocktober Fest) live music, carnival rides, food and of course beer. You buy “Tolars” which are then used in exchange for all of the above. It’s a good system that cuts down on waiting time for booze.
I hijacked a few of my friends on Thursday and we went to the opening day festivities. Upon walking into the tent I had flashbacks of last years beer festival. I recall being so happy (read: drunk) that I started dancing on the table. Hopefully this year would be just as fun. And it was. There was much beer, much laughter and much dancing – although I kept my feet planted on the floor this year. It is a favorite pass time of mine to watch Czech people dancing, so I got double amounts of enjoyment.
We were drinking 15 degree beer (that’s about 5% alcohol) so it didn’t take long for us to be drunk and rowdy. Which is okay. Everyone in the tents gets drunk and rowdy. It is said that adult Czechs drink about 80 gallons of beer a year, so you gotta do your best to catch up. They take drinking and beer very seriously here. They don’t really bar hop and they are the most loyal drinkers I have ever encountered. I have a Czech friend that has been known to bring his own beer mug to pubs so that he has the “right” glass to drink from. One of my former students put it this way: For Czechs in one night you must stay loyal to one woman and to one beer. Ain’t that the truth?
My friends and I eventually stumbled out of the tent and made our way past all of the rides. Almost. They took me against my will and harnessed into a spinning torture device deceptively decorated with bright lights and happy colors. The machine lifted us high into the air and spun around whilst swinging to the front, side and back in a seemingly random order. I don’t remember much of the ride because I had my eyes shut the whole time and my hood pulled down over my head.
I can still hear the screaming…