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Each of the three main pours of Pilsner Urquell – Hladinka, Na dvakrát and Mlíko – gives the beer a different flavour and texture. But there’s another pour which you might not be familiar with unless you’ve visited a pub in Prague or Plzen.
The Šnyt, pronounced “shnit”, is basically a small beer served in a large glass and topped off with foam. It’s not as filling as a large beer, yet creamier and more refreshing than a small beer. You don’t see it every day, but it’s always on offer at traditional Pilsner pubs – just ask. But why would anyone order a small beer in a large glass?
Like most things connected with Pilsner Urquell, there’s an interesting story behind the Šnyt and the beloved Czech writer Karel Čapek told it best in a now-legendary newspaper article from 1936. You can find Čapek’s article on the wall at Lokál. Here’s a translated excerpt:
“The Šnyt is not a large beer, and it’s not even a small beer, but only an approximate measurement. They give a small beer to non-drinkers. A beer drinker, when he doesn’t want to drink, but just to refresh a bit, doesn’t order a small beer, which would somehow shame him before the whole world. Instead he has a Šnyt. A Šnyt is a large beer, but not a full one, with half a glass of foam; how much foam goes into the glass depends on the goodwill of the barkeeper. The Šnyt is a popular compromise between ‘have one’, and ‘don’t have any’. It is at least something more than nothing, even if it isn’t a full glass”.
In the 1930s many bars were thinking about retiring the Šnyt because they didn’t know exactly how much beer was in the glass, so they weren’t sure how much to charge for it. But good sense won out and today it’s still possible to enjoy this foamy, refreshing pour.
View the discussion thread.