The Czechs have a saying - "Beer makes men beautiful bodies." And if that is true Czech men are the most beautiful in the world - because the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per head in the world - one bottle every day for every man, woman and child.
The reason for this high consumption rate is possibly the low price of beer here - a bottle of Budvar will cost about 25p (10 kcs) in a local supermarket and maybe 50p (20 kcs) in a pub. The Czechs regard cheap beer as a birthright. No Czech government wishing to stay in power would dare increase the prices, so when the EU tried to raise duty on beer last year the Czech Government blocked the rise. The other reason is of course the quality. There are breweries all across the Czech Republic - the most famous of these are Pilsner Urquel (Plzensky Prazdroj), Gambrinus, Bernard, Kozel, Staropramen and of course our local Budvar.
Budvar for me means that I am getting near home. Ceske Budejovice, the nearest large town to our home, is the home of Budweiser Budvar - the real Budweiser and infinitely superior to the American stuff. You pass the brewery on the train from Prague, it is a sign to get your bags from the luggage rack and get ready. There is a large bottle, several floors high attached to the side of the brewery, so you shouldn't miss it.
That Czechs drink beer at any point of the day was brought home to us when we moved into our house. A gang of blokes turned up to move out the furniture of the family we were buying the house from about 7.00am. After an hour or so's hard work humping chunky furniture around they stopped and started looking for something. One came up to us and made a shape of a box in the air, we shook our heads blankly. Suddenly there was a shout and someone appeared carrying a crate of beer. Bottles were cracked open and they began to drink. The leader came up to my husband and offered a bottle - in broken English he said "Beer - Czech breakfast. English breakfast - whisky and soda, yes?"
Our favourite Czech beers are Gambrinus and Bernard. I am particularly fond of the Czech dark beer, which English drinkers will be less familiar with. Dark beer according to another Czech saying is meant to increase the size of a woman's breasts. I don't know if that is true, but it is certainly worth trying before you resort to surgery!