The brewery's history
The Želiv Monastery was founded in 1139 and was originally a Benedictine Order. Ten years later, however, the Benedictines were replaced by Premonstratensians from Steinfeld, who were brought here by the Blessed Abbot Gottschalk. Over the 870 years it’s been here, the monastery has seen periods of great expansion, but also periods of stagnation and decline. The first mention of brewing beer in the Premonstratensian monastery in Želiv dates back to the 14thcentury.
In the middle of the 15thcentury, King George of Poděbrady confiscated the Želiv monastery, handing it over to the Trčka family who were Hussites and ruled here for over 130 years. At the time it was a matter of esteem for the feudal lord to have a good brewery at his castle seat. The Trčkas and their descendants evidently took brewing beer to heart, as testified to by the description of the local brewery from 1617.
“The brewery and malt house with hop yards in the same castle right in the bailey, all away from the wall, well exposed and arched, two large fermentation vessels in the ground, so cold in the summer and warm in the winter, the brewmaster’s quarters are arched, above it is mainly for malt, all sorts of grain, as well as hops, barrels and other things, as a garret or granary, in which many heaps of grain casks can be placed, the construction is large and is exposed to a considerable weight, for the brewery consumes a lot of domestic wheat and barley a year, although the same brewery could have many and greater benefits than brewing the 30 barrels every fortnight for its own consumption and sale, what is of benefit and used for domestic needs of white beer, and threshing, yeast and swill for livestock too, all is estimated at 1,000 batches. There are also two large, fenced hop-yards, in which the hops grow well and each year there is plenty for consumption and plenty that is left, so much so that it could be of benefit that counts to several hundred, but not to bellow that everything is counted so high, they are kept at the brewery and nothing is sold further afield.”
Once the Želiv Estate was returned to the Premonstratensians, they continued brewing beer. This new era brought more than 300 years of brewing beer in the Želiv Monastery, only to be interrupted in 1907, when the Želiv Monastery was engulfed by a great conflagration. The abbey and the outbuildings burnt down, as did the brewery which, as it is today, was in the abbey building’s cellars. The abbey building was rebuilt within a few years, but the monastery brewery was not.
Brewing returned to Želiv in 2003, when the abbey, in cooperation with two partners, established the Želiv Monastery Brewery. However, the brewery was not very successful, its technology was obsolete, and so it stopped brewing at the end of 2009.
In 2010, the Premonstratensian Canonry founded a new brewery - Želiv Monastery Brewery - and carried out a fundamental reconstruction of the brewery, which involved not only installing modern production technology, but also carrying out construction work. We can now offer our customers an experiential brewery, which not only offers a variety of beers, both classic lagers and specials, but also top-fermented beers such as India Pale Ale or Abbey Ale, and furthermore it has interesting tours of the brewery in operation and weekend brewing courses.