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Renaissance or rebellion? The new wave of German brewing

Discussion in 'Germany' started by herrburgess, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    My point was that a great part of that list is what over here we consider our equivalent on BMC and those you actually can get everywhere in Germany. Throw in a few highly BA ranked Frankonian breweries and there's not much left of that list. I know you weren't trying to start a pissing match, neither am I :)
  2. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Heidelberg is also squarely centered in a wine producing (and consuming) area so the market for outlandish Franconian brew is probably not very big.

    And as I pointed out it's mostly makro stuff you can also find all over Europe. At least as far as the German aisle goes. Which is the only area I'm qualified to comment on anyways because even though I drink Belgian beer when in Belgium I'm not even remotely resembling an expert.

    Well, most German LOCAL stores cover LOCAL products. There seems to be a major misconception as to what a German would consider "local". :)
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  3. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    So does Belgium or Czechia or the UK. Europe is just much more regionalized than the US and the vast majority of Europeans likes to keep it that way. The more "equal" things are the more we emphasize our different cultures and beer is just one of many fronts of that culture war. Why do you think there are more and more independence movements (Catalonia, Scotland, Bavaria, the Basque Country etcetc) over here ? We do like that we don't have to bash each others heads in every 20 or 30 years anymore like we did the past 800 years but we still ARE very different and we take our identity from that so we'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much. If that makes a handful of stranded US expats unhappy we're sorry but that won't change anything :) My advise would be to travel and/or homebrew and just accept that our traditions and divisions over here go back 2000 years to the days of the Roman Empire and that there's a gigantic chasm seperating us (= Europeans and North Americans) mentality wise.

    I hope I'm not offending anyone, I certainly don't mean to but sometimes it's kind of frustrating being on an US dominated message board and trying to get a point across that must seem completely alien to most of you guys.
    Crusader, grantcty and mjtierney2 like this.
  4. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I am slowly being won over to the German way of thinking the longer I live here, but you have to understand that it's frustrating to know that America is getting great German Bavarian beers that I, living one state over in Baden-Württemberg, will never see. As you say, probably because the market is in America and not HD, but still it's hard to get a handle on.
    boddhitree likes this.
  5. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    I can see your (and Tony's point) but it's really your own fault for not moving to a more beer savy area :) Most Europeans I know (and no, they are not all Bavarians living in a 20 km circle around Regensburg... :p) just adjust and go along with whatever the locals do in any given place. When in Rome... you know ? :) And yes, I sometimes also complain that I can't get certain comodities. Good Italian and Spanish ham, French cheese, decent and offordable red wine and fresh seafood in general come to mind... But these are all reasons to travel again and in the meantime I embrace what I have here (and miss anywhere else I go), Bavarian sausages, the probably best selection of bread worldwide and of course the brew, bland and boring as it may appear to some :D
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  6. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    This is why I think your voice is so important here. I like hearing the traditional German points of view in these conversations. It's a good reminder to us Amis, myself included, to be more accepting of the culture here instead of demanding that everything be like America.

    I don't homebrew but I have traveled, at least a little. I agree that it's an important way to experience all the great German beers that are out there.
  7. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I didn't have a choice in the matter! The job opportunity for die Frau was in HD, not "your choice of German/Bavarian cities". And anyway, I thought beer in Germany was going to be liquid gold flowing from the taps. What I got was Beck's Gold in bottles.
  8. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Maybe we should rename this topic to "Reconnaissance or Rebellion" ? :D :p
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  9. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    For many it's the ONLY way. Not that I mind much but I can't get Schlenkerla or any small Franconian brewery in Regensburg. I have friends in Forchheim so whenever I feel like I need some Franconian brew I get myself 2 empty crates and visit them and go "beer hunting". Since the vast majority of breweries bottles in either of the 2 standard .5 liter bottles I can return those everywhere.
    herrburgess likes this.
  10. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    herrburgess likes this.
  11. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    That very subtle blade (= feine Klinge) is what I often miss with US American beers. More often than not they are "blunt cudgel" rather than "subtle blade". Which, I guess is the prerogative of the Young and the Wild :)
  12. Precisely. U.S. macro brewing used a sharp scythe and just cut all taste and subtlety out for so long, that in a way it is understandable that the current U.S. "craft" rebellion has taken up the massive flavor club with which to bludgeon the drinker into submission. But with so many fresh examples of beers that still possess brilliant subtlety in Germany, any rebellion there is going to be seen, to a degree, as adolescent posturing.
    Stahlsturm likes this.
  13. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    My sentiment precisely :)
  14. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    Nice article, but you have to laugh. Let me say I LOVE Pilsner Urquell and I would SO much like to try a cask version, but to focus on the behemoth (a PILSNER nonetheless) at Braukunst is like focusing on Blue Moon at GABF.
    boddhitree likes this.
  15. That's a very juvenile comparison to make, IMO. Not to mention a sad testimony to where the lack of historical perspective among so many supposed "beer advocates" has taken us. It's fairly clear that they were saying that while the obvious focus was on the *new* experimental beers, it's still worth mentioning that an *old* experimental beer -- which eventually grew into the world's biggest style -- warrants recognition and respect.
  16. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    Juvenile comparison? The reporter could have focused on just about anything else at the show.

    Just to add: When I read "Da mussten wir undurchschaubare Brauversuche ver-craften" - a nice play on words but definitely again the looking down (abschauend) view from the classical German pils drinker, it makes me sick to my stomach.
    boddhitree likes this.
  17. Comparing a recent macro knockoff of a relatively obscure Belgian style with the original of a massively popular style imitated the world over is a juvenile comparison in my opinion, yes. That the article got a few digs in at some of the failed experiments -- of which anyone would admit, there are many among the current rebellion -- seems appropriate, if wholly secondary to their main point. EDIT: I mean, come on, it's not like they are praising Oettinger Kellerbier or something.
  18. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Not surprising considering this mindset:
    Mentalities clashing. And seen neutrally, of course both are right in a way.
  19. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    I see your point Herr B about the great PU brand - one for you.

    My point was simply being that the reporter had a chance to say "Lots of new beers, some still in the adolescent stages and not ripe for most palates, but we found Brewery XYZ that is making fantastic beer." I wasn't at the event, but reading through Bod's reviews, there were some present. To fall back on PU and the pilsner style is so German it makes me cringe. I used to sell Newcastle, Beamish, Foster's, John Smith's, San Miguel, Kronenbourg and (gasp!) Strongbow Cider in Germany, so I have had to deal with this mentality from publicans and consumers alike many times and it's just worn thin for me.
    boddhitree likes this.
  20. Well, again, I think they used Urquell as their example less because it is a pils (honestly, how many Pilstrinker buy PU as their go-to?) and more because it was a truly revolutionary beer in its time -- not unlike what many of these new wave beers are attempting (and, if we are being honest, frequently failing) to be.
  21. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Well the local Kaufland and Alldrink keep plenty in stock, so I'm sure it must move pretty well.

    At first I could see where Einhorn was coming from - you went to BKL! and reported that the Pilsner Urquell was good?!?! :confused:

    However, it does seem like the point of the article was to say, "hey, yeah, there's a lot of experimenting going on here, but that PU that you're drinking was an experimental beer at one point, too." It's probably easier to do that in (500?)(1000?) words to a German audience than to start off by talking about the more "adventurous" beers that the typical German can't relate to and immediately lose your reader.

    Still, I imagine some brewers were banging their heads against the wall wondering what they have to do to get noticed.
    herrburgess likes this.
  22. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    Pilsner Urquell has a fairly long tradition in Germany and is, IIRC, the best selling import beer in Germany.
  23. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I was going to edit my reply to add that it's one of the few beers not made in Germany that places will sell but you beat me to it. I'd be stunned if another import sold better here.
  24. I don't doubt that, but -- as we've discussed -- how much non-German beer gets consumed in Germany? I still don't think it's a go-to for very many people. I, for one, used to get weird looks when I'd pick up a crate at my local Getraenkemarkt. :)
  25. IMO, you have to do more than just be "experimental," even if your experimentation takes ever-more-extreme forms. In the U.S. "craft" scene, it's just a matter of pointing to (and keeping alive) the BMC straw men in order to illustrate your uniqueness (although you're starting to hear terms like "shelf turds" begin thrown around by the walez-hunter crowd). In Germany, of course, it's a different playing field (if you point to Pilsner Urquell as the bogeyman, you're quickly going to be called on it -- and rightfully so).

    So, in order to get my undivided attention in the current German brewing scene, a brewer would need to make a case for their beer being more than a simple rebellion against Fernsehbiere (that's far too easy) and instead (a) a beer that stands out even among other experimental styles by means of something like a proprietary yeast strain, (b) an historically accurate and masterfully crafted resurrection of a lost (or almost lost) style, or (c) something truly revolutionary (which I can't even surmise as it's way beyond my skill or imagination at this point). Anything else runs the risk of becoming ABIbier ;)
  26. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    So nothing Boddhitree posted about caught your undivided attention? For me, Eiswerk's Josef Spezial and Pax Bräu's Cissy were instantly on my radar.
  27. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    Sorry, but highlighting an international, Inbev-owned, imported beer at a German craft beer festival is still wrong.
    boddhitree likes this.
  28. Sorry you can't seem to get past that (though you're certainly not alone in that regard). I think your objection shows a rather extreme lack of historical perspective since, as recently as 1993, Urquell remained THE world-class Bohemian pilsner on the market and is to this day -- especially in some of its more historically accurate forms, which the brewery has retained -- an excellent representative of the style.
  29. Will have to go back and look ;)

    EDIT: I will admit that the new Austrian (officially recognized) Trappist beer caught my attention.
  30. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (345) California Nov 3, 2005

    Mistake on my part - ownership is with SABMiller.

    I have no problem with the quality of the beer, as I said, I am a big fan. But this was a chance, as MJ points out, to boast about something new, small, crafty and interesting, and instead it's the exact opposite - mega-mono-style-brewer with the most popular style of beer known and produced worldwide, corporate ownership from a foreign country (even by German standards).

    But that's just my take on it.
  31. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Agreed. Trappist tickers gotta tick Trappists. I had 'em all, now I don't. :D
  32. One more was Joseph's Spezial, the Braunbier that was described as "smoky."
    But how were they supposed to do so in a piece about "revolutions in brewing" without pointing to the beer that more or less SINGLE-HANDEDLY revolutionized both brewing and consumer preference worldwide, with an impact that has lasted now close to 200 years? Which beer that was present would have been, in your view, a more suitable example?
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  33. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I would have been disappointed if you didn't say this! :D

    ^To me, this only holds water if the rest of the article is devoted to the new brewers, i.e. "PU was the original, but who are the new kids on the block...", but they just end with PU.
  34. That's a fair point. I would say the same thing, however, about Pax Brau's FB post. He devoted quite a bit of ink to talking about the ABIbiere, and then that much more to his own philosophy and products. It seems everyone has their own little soapbox/Bierkasten that they climb up on to preach their version of the gospel. Guess that's just what you have to do to get noticed these days. ;)
    boddhitree and mjtierney2 like this.
  35. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I'm going to have to reply later. My boy is up from his nap and I can't gather my thoughts right now. :)
  36. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (455) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    OK you lost me. :) What does the Pax Brau FB post have to do with this article? Not trying to be snarky, but I genuinely think I'm missing a step in your thought process here. He is using FB to promote his product or give his product a certain image in the marketplace. Einhorn was complaining that Genuss wrote an article on BKL and talked only about Pilsner Urquell. I don't see what one has to do with the other.
    boddhitree likes this.
  37. Not sure what I'm thinking. I had to go pick up my son from school and lost my own train of thought. ;) Seriously, though, I was speaking to Einhorn's criticism that the article could have contained more praise for the up-and-coming scene/brewers and less about its own interests. Pax Brau's article/FB post began with the words "Wie versprochen kommt heute mein Eindruck von der Braukunst Live..." Sounds to me like he was setting the reader up to expect an assessment of the event, and not self-promotion, though the latter ended up being the case -- and we didn't hear much praise for the up-and-coming either. At least that's what I think I was thinking....
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  38. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (610) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Agreed, wholeheartedly. Me and my crew felt the same way while at BKL. We even got a ticket for a free beer from Pilsner Urquell with our entrance ticket, but so many beers we wanted to try and... well we know what PU tastes, though the cask version raise a small interest, there was no way we wanted to drink and try beers we'd already tried. I can get PU in virtually every supermarket in Germany, so why go to MH to waste one's sobriety on what you already know well.
    Sure, I give PU respect. I give them all the respect such a leading beer brewer deserves, but now their owned by Bud-Inbev:mad: and it's become a Massenbier. So I get that, but it doesn't mean I want to waste my time with it when there's so much more interesting and new things to try.
    Besides, PU isn't even the best Behemian Pils in Czech now. It's living off of fumes from it's past glories.
    einhorn likes this.
  39. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (610) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    It's a high seller in Germany. You see it often in many people's baskets at the supermarket, at least when I go. Multiply that nationwide and that's a boatload of beer.

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