This review arrives far too late. Max Bahnson, the Pivní Filosof, send me a PDF review copy of his book, the ineloquently titled “Prague: a Pisshead’s Pub Guide,” ages ago, perhaps as long as months. But my workload has been such that I simply haven’t been able to find the time to give it a review-quality read.
Forget the title, which might have you recalling that the Czechs lead the world in per capita beer consumption — by a considerable margin, 155 litres to Austria’s 106 — and focus instead on the content of this impressive read, which is arranged rather intelligently in the form of various pub crawls. Start here, drink this, then go there and drink that, followed by this other place and that other beer, finishing over here with that beer. That kind of thing.
You see, Max understands that while the beer we drink is important, where we drink it is at least of equal if not greater importance. Or, as he puts it, “I’d much rather drink Pilsner Urquell, or even Gambrinus, at a hotspoda where I feel comfortable, than Kout na Šumave at a cocktail bar.”
So this is a book about the pubs of Prague first, the great beers of the Czech Republic second, and Max’s idiosyncrasies third, with all three playing highly significant roles in the narrative. In fact, even without any firm plans to get to Prague soon, I very much enjoyed reading the Pisshead’s Pub Guide because it feels much like going drinking with Max, which I have never done in person, but now have a sense of what it must be like.
Complementing the narrative, which is divided neatly into pub crawl-sized chunks, are photographs, including some pretty great ones, and Max’s engaging hand-drawn maps. If you have any plans to visit Prague any time soon, or are even considering the possibility, this book is a must!
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