In Prague when you order a cold beer, you can choose your favourite brew but also select your preferred pouring method, as well. Mlìko, or milk beer, is a style that renders a whole beer white and foamy, resembling a tall glass of milk.
Bartenders turn a beer into a mlíko by opening the tap slightly and letting the foam fill the cup. The result, according to one reviewer, is “kind of liking drinking a beer cloud.” Mlíko is typically drunk at the end of the night. The foamy, sweet taste gives the drinker a jolt of energy before stumbling home.
Drinkers also find it easy to down quickly, which is essential to enjoying the sweet froth before it settles into plain, old beer. Most often, Czechs create the aromatic fluff using their signature pilsner.
It is the lightest of the classic Czech pouring styles. Bartenders deliver hladinka (the diminutive form of “water level”) is the standard style, with about one-quarter foam. Another pour called a šnyt contains about “two fingers of beer, three fingers of foam, and one finger of empty glass.” It was also meant for someone who wanted less than a full glass, yet wanted to avoid the shame of ordering a small beer.
Czech pubs can serve any beer on draft as a mlíko but the Pilsner Urquell is a popular choice.