Our tour guide explains the etiquette. First, one raises a filled glass or mug. Then choose the nearest person who also raises a mug. You look her or him in the eyes while saying “Nazdravi.” It’s very important, Ammon stresses, to really look the other individual in the eye. Etiquette requires that this cheer is offered to everyone in the group. Then you must tap the bottom of your glass on the table. Only then is it proper to raise the beer to your lips to drink.
You’d think that the more one drinks, the easier this ritual would become. Sadly, by the end of the evening and several beers later — Koncour, Demon, Good Bulldog, Opat Pepper — we still could not remember the words.
Naturally, the Czechs perform this ritual quite well — and frequently. They consume more beer, about 132 liters per person per year, than any other nation. Their history of pivo, the Czech word for beer, dates back to the 13th century. The city of Plizn, or Pilsen, in west Bohemia, is the birthplace of lager. The beer is served cold, not at room temperature.
Also according to Czech beer etiquette, you must never order at the bar or chase down the server. You’ll be marked instantly as a tourist.
Currently the Lezovi crew is cruising by land through Europe. S/V Happy Times lies safely in Rio Dulce, Guatemala, awaiting our return in May 2013.