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Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

No stones unturned

StoneThese two cans sort of followed me home the other night, or, as they used to say when there was a sale of contraband in Oxford Street: “Fell off a truck, mate!”

The beers are fresh off the canning line in Berlin, where Stone have set up their European operation.

The IPA has intense hoppiness – grass and pine. A fresh, in-your-face IPA. If that’s what your’re looking for, look no further!

The Arrogant Bastand Ale is one notch up. Deep red, full malty body. PAcked With fresh hop aroma and a punch of bitterness.

Both cans show that they are part of both the Norwegian and the Swedish recycling scheme with a deposit. Should mean that they will be widely available soon.

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I was very happy to receive a book in the mail just a few days before Christmas, a bit too late for a review to help the holiday sales.

The Berlin beer scene has seen much the same as in London, an explosion in the number of micro breweries, beer bars with an interesting range of brews and beer shops.

HeidenpetersI have tried to document some of this on my blog over the last decade, but a comprehensive guide was really needed. And that is what we’ve got.

Markus Raupach and Bastian Böttner has written a bilingual guide to breweries, beer gardens, brew pubs and beer culture in Berlin. The German text is longer, but the information in English is likely to be what you need to navigate.

There are 24 breweries in Berlin (including Potsdam) now, so a weekend is not enough to cover them all. At least you have a tool to do your planning.

Lots of nice color photos. Published by GuideMedia Verlag Bamberg. Be sure to get one before you go!

You can order from their web site.

Meierei, Potsdam

Meieri im Neuen Garten, Potsdam

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There might be some minor adjustments to the Norwegian ban on ads for alcoholic beverages. This means  that breweries and cider makers may give some very basic information about their products. There will be now advertising as such, in printed or online media. It is really tough for a new brewery to promote their products to establish a brand name on the regional or national level.

But we are, to the dismay of some regulators, not totally North Korea. We are allowed to watch some sports on television. And these sporting events have sponsors.

Some of these sports events are unsignificant outside the Nordic countries. (Come to think of it, I don’t think the Danes care, either). We’re taking variations over cross-country skiing here.

Funny that  the Veltins brewery is a major sponsor of skiing. Their beers are not for sale in Norway.

I’d say the chances are good for finding Veltins in Norwegian shops during 2015.

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A cute little story today. I found it in my son’s German textbook, but it is floating around the interweb, too, I do not really know its origin.  If you want a sound file to help you understand, there is one here.  And please don’t dispair. There is a link to an English translation at the bottom!

Ein Professor stand vor seinen Philosophiestudenten. Er hatte einen großen Blumentopf vor sich und begann, diesen mit Golfbällen zu füllen.  Als er fertig war, fragte er seine Studenten, ob der Blumentopf voll sei – sie bejahten dies.

Jetzt nahm der Professor eine Tüte mit Kieselsteinen und schüttete diese in den Topf. Er bewegte den Blumentopf etwas und die Kieselsteine füllten die Leerräume zwischen den Golfbällen. Dann fragte er die Studenten wieder, ob der Topf voll sei. Sie stimmten zu.

Der Professor nahm als nächstes eine Dose mit Sand und schüttete diesen in den Topf. Natürlich füllte der Sand die kleinsten verbliebenen Freiräume. Auf die erneute Frage, ob der Topf nun voll sei, antworteten die Studenten einstimmig mit „ja“.

Jetzt holte der Professor zwei Dosen Bier unter dem Tisch hervor, goss sie in den Blumentopf und füllte so den letzten Raum zwischen den Sandkörnern aus. Die Studenten lachten.

„Nun“, sagte der Professor, als das Lachen verklang, „ich möchte, dass Sie diesen Topf als die Repräsentation Ihres Lebens betrachten:

„Die Golfbälle – sind die wichtigen Dinge in Ihrem Leben. Ihre Familie, Ihre Kinder, Ihre Gesundheit, Ihre Freunde, Ihre Leidenschaften – die Dinge, die Ihr Leben auch dann noch ausfüllen würden – wenn alles andere den Bach herunter ginge.

Die Kieselsteine symbolisieren die anderen Dinge in Ihrem Leben, wie Ihre Arbeit, Ihr Haus, Ihr Auto.

Der Sand sind die vielen täglichen Kleinigkeiten.

Würden Sie den Sand zuerst in den Topf schütten, bliebe weder Platz für die Kieselsteine, geschweige denn für die Golfbälle. Dasselbe gilt für Ihr Leben: Wenn Sie all Ihre Zeit und Energie für die täglichen Kleinigkeiten aufwenden, werden Sie nie Platz haben für das, was wirklich wichtig ist.

Deshalb: achten Sie zuerst auf die Golfbälle!
Spielen Sie mit Ihren Kindern.
Laden Sie Ihren Partner zum Essen ein.
Ernähren Sie sich ordentlich.
Reisen Sie – oder treiben Sie Sport.
Pflegen Sie Ihre Leidenschaften. Träumen Sie Ihren Traum.

Es wird immer noch Zeit bleiben, um das Haus zu reinigen oder Pflichten zu erledigen. Nehmen Sie sich Zeit für die Dinge, die Ihnen wirklich wichtig sind.
Der Rest ist nur noch Sand.“

Einige Studenten hoben die Hand und wollten wissen, was es mit dem Bier auf sich habe.

Der Professor schmunzelte. “Damit wollte ich Ihnen zeigen – egal, wie schwierig Ihr Leben auch sein mag, es ist immer noch Platz für ein oder zwei Bierchen.”

There is an English translation available, too.

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  Following my stay in Munich this summer, I have written a fair bit about small, but encouranging signs of innovation. I´m happy to say that there is a growing debate about key concepts, not entirely unrelated to the discussion in the English (English as in language, not as an geographical entity) beer blogs recently. There are two separate issues, both centered around Craft Bier (Yes, the Germans aren´t shy about borrowing English words these days.). One is about hijacking the term, the other about trying to ridicule it. The first story comes from the newly established Brew Berlin. They tell about the Ratsherrn Brauerei, who have tried to register Craft Beer as a protected trade name in Germany. There have been strong protests that one of the big players in the beverage sector tries to monopolize the concept. Even more important is the issue raised by two Bavarian beer bloggers, following the publication of an article in Fine, a wine magazine. The article tries to ridicule the merging craft beer scene in Germany, using labels like technology fetichists. It states that the craft beers fail to do what the classical pils achieves, to produce elegance and intensity without any fuss. All those double and triple beers, IPAs and AIPAs, do not, with their double or even triple fermentation with high levels of alcohol, match the charm of an elegant pils. The reaction to this was started by Mareike in feinerhopfen.wordpress.com, and followed up by Daniel at usox.org. Mareike points out that the micro, craft and cuckoo brewers make beers that fit into a gourmet setting. Quality is about something else than punching a few buttons on a production computer and then getting beer out at the other end in a few hours. If one wants to look for technology fetichists, it is more linked to the Reinheitsgebot culture, though it does not have much to do with enjoyment. In a letter to the editor of the magazine, Daniel questions the use of the concept quality in the article. He points out that the macro breweries of Germany, who are recommended as having a consistent quality, often cheat by using ingredients like hop extract or malt extract. If there is one thing the craft breweries have in common, it is their committment to prime ingredients. Go ahead, read their blogs. Google translate is there to help you. And cheer them on !

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From the Klosterbrauerei Weißenohe, a bottle of Bonator. The name gives it away, a Doppelbock. Brewed somewhere deep in Franconia. Brought home from Munich this summer, enjoyed after a brisk walk in the autumn air in the Norwegian mountains.

Pours a very dark red, with soft carbonation. Creamy mouth feel. Cereals, biscuits, malt, a hint of redcurrants, some burned sugar. Not too sweet, a very impressive strong Bock.  As the leaves are falling, it is time to turn to beers like this.

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The problem with technological innovation in the brewing industry is that it usually means better logistics for the boring industrial beers, while the quality brews are stuck with the old solutions. There are exceptions, of course. Disposable kegs have done wonders for the distribution of craft beer around the globe.

And in a Getränkemarkt on the outskirts of Augsburg i found these. Self cooling kegs for your anniversary, office party or whatever. With Ayinger Helles. I could think of other beers that I’d like in units like this.

Fuller’s London Pride or Nøgne Ø Saison are my candidates.

Roll out the barrels!

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