If I were still living in the Czech Republic there is only one place I would be this weekend. Assuming I had survived more rounds of redundancy at my old employer, I would have been taking advantage of their generous "benefits" system and have booked Mrs V and I into a plush 4 star hotel for Friday and Saturday night.
Said four star hotel has a bowling alley, restaurant with excellent Czech cuisine (anyone who says Czech food is rubbish is an idiot in my world - pigs and beer, what's not to love?), oh and they have a brewery in the hotel as well. The hotel in question is called Purkmistr, which translates as "portreeve", and the reason I would be staying in that beautiful hotel on the outskirts of Plzeň is that this weekend is the Slunce ve Skle beer festival.
Translating as "Sunshine in a Glass", this beer festival was the first I ever attended, and is the model for what I think of as a good beer festival. Not so big as to be intimidating, not too small so as to be quickly over, oh and it is more or less a drinking festival rather than a 2oz sample thing. Hence why I would be booking a room at the hotel for the weekend if I were going, recovery time in a nice environment and breakfast included.
At this year's festival there are breweries from Slovakia and the UK being represented at the event, as well as plenty of good small Czech brewers like Kocour, Matuška and Pivovarský dvůr Zvíkov, makers of the magnificent Zlatá Labuť range of beers, which compare very favourably with those of Kout na Šumavě.
So, if you are within striking distance of Plzeň, jump on the train, then take the trolley bus out to Černice and enjoy excellent beer in a wonderful location, and from what I hear meet some of the UK's best beer bloggers as well!