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Renaissance or rebellion? The new wave of German brewing

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

  1. What's wrong with a beer being a drink of the masses? One of the best things about Bavarian beer culture IMO is that it is a mass-ive part of nearly every aspect of life.
    boddhitree likes this.
  2. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I agree with that. Beer has mostly beer a drink of the working classes in Germany as well as other countries, still doesn't mean I want to waste my sobriety/time at BKL with it.
  3. No one is saying you have to drink it. But can't you see how derisively laughing about a beer that 170 years ago did PRECISELY what the "new and exciting" offerings at BKL purport to be doing -- i.e. revolutionizing brewing and people's tastes -- is a tad ironic?
  4. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Come on, HB, no one is "derisively laughing" at PU...not on this thread anyway. Einhorn said he is a fan of the stuff, and I know nothing I said was derisive or even negative in any way towards PU. If that's what you took from our conversation then maybe I did not communicate my opinions effectively enough.
  5. I admit that was unfair, so apologies to you guys if I offended. I'm grateful to be able to have this discussion here. The initial comment comparing PU to Blue Moon was itself pretty derisive, and the Massenbier moniker isn't exactly high praise.

    But what bothers me most of all, is the implication that somehow within the *context* of BKL beers like cask Pilsner Urquell are justifiably overlooked. IMO, it is in this context where these truly revolutionary, and once (and in some cases still) world-class beers should be revered. Again, you don't have to seek them out and drink them, but I would think that
    boddhitree likes this.
  6. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    You could say the same thing about AG Bell's telephone vs. an iPhone. PU gets my respect. I get that. It's a good beer, but it wasn't even the best Bohemian Pils I drank when I was in Prague 2 years ago.
  7. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I'll get over it. :)
  8. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Sadly, being owned by SABMiller makes it suspect to being dumbed down eventually as been their wont as a purveyor of Massenbier.
  9. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (405) California Nov 3, 2005

    This may be the key to everything - it's possible they were large sponsors of the event, and the quip in Genuss Magazin was probably part of a deal where Genuss writes a non-biased article about PU and somewhere else in the magazine there is (coincidentally) a paid-for full page ad for PU. Not wrong (well, just kinda wrong, but common practice), but would explain the reason for the article.
    boddhitree likes this.
  10. But this was in no way a "dumbed down" version of that beer. I seriously don't get the comparison of cask Pilsner Urquell to Blue Moon or the analogy that holds up these "new and experimental" beers as the iPhone to AG Bell's telephone. Either way, it seems I have at least a partial answer to my original question: to some degree this rebellion seems to preclude a renaissance of classic styles such as cask Urquell -- at least when served at the same event.
  11. I guess we can expect to see a similar article about privately owned Schneider, Camba Bavaria, and Maisel, since Bodd also got freebies from them?

    EDIT: Either way, I have no problem with Urquell being praised alongside these others, and I don't see why anyone else would. Just my take on the matter.
  12. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Like I said, a cask version of PU intrigued us a little, but it's still relatively the same beer available in most supermarkets here, so the attraction was very low when there were literally a hundred of other beers we'd never tried and were itching to drink. Maybe for you the PU would've been your wow beer there, but BKL was for variety and innovative drinking, and think that's what most people that day were thinking/feeling too. For a giant, super well known brand in Germany, their stand was comparatively forlorn and quiet compared with those like Camba Bavaria... so that means even with giving away the beer free, the majority there ignored PU's presence.
  13. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (405) California Nov 3, 2005

    I know you are being sarcastic here, my comment was just pure speculation. I have been approached before by such magazines and this seemed to fit the modus operandi.

    In the end, I am glad to see the success of this and similar events expand, raising awareness to beer in general. The cards will fall where they may, despite our discussion, which I thoroughly enjoy.
  14. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Well, at least we are consistant and (somewhat) predictable. For better or worse... :D
    Trying to sell that stuff in Germany amounts to a vertiable suicide mission. I can imagine you must've come home regularly, ready to take a big bite out of the living room carpet just to stop the screams of frustration. I hope you're in a better place (for you) now :)
  15. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    That's how I feel about them today. And I've been drinking PU since the 80s when my late Uncle (he used to work for the Deutsche Bahn) illegally traded cases of PU with Czech customs officers for ball pens, panty hose packs and other western devil stuff that was completely unavailable in communist Czechia. Pilsen is not even 200 km from Regensburg so that's a 90 minute drive now but back then it might as well have been on a different planet. Today we have friends there and regularly go there for Metal shows and come back at night and there's not even a custom post anymore. Europe has changed so much during my life time, it's mind boggling. And then I see young people demonstrate against the EU that made all this possible. Granted, there's a lot of not so great stuff going on these days and I'm fairly critical but when you see all this in a greater context there's so much more positive things about it... *sighs*

    Sorry for going off topic so far, sometimes one thing leads to another and your train of thought ends up in unexpected places :)
  16. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    At least you're not like one of these elitist wine tasting freaks and spit it back out :)
    boddhitree likes this.
  17. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Compared to the 80s version I've had PU already had taken a significant plunge in quality by 1995.
    boddhitree likes this.
  18. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I will take a quick timeout from the arguing discussion to talk about what is hopefully not a giant mistake. This seems like the best thread to put this in, as I will explain later.

    I recently saw Welde's 2013 Jahrgangsbier in the Kaufland for €8,90 for a 750 ml bottle. This year's is made with Mapuche hops from Argentina (proudly displayed on the label). I had to look this one up - here's a good (German language) link:


    If it really is like an English IPA then I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully it is well executed, and I'd go so far as to say the price tag suggests that at least Welde would like to think it is well executed. The best before date of 31.12.2014 worries me a little (two years?). And I have had Welde in the past and have found them hit-or-miss. The thought of corked & caged Welde with fancy photos and Teku glasses kind of makes me chuckle. Anyhow...

    I bought this to share with some Argentine friends on Friday. I'll report back. Perhaps not "revolutionary" but certainly worth noting, I think, is the proud display of "Argentinian Hops" on the bottle and no mention whatsoever of the RHG, unusual for a German beer, nor of what beer style it is supposed to be. Very unusual for Germany. It may also explain why there was only one beer "missing" from the display stacks when I bought mine (I'm assuming someone accidentally knocked it over and broke it, and not that someone else actually bought it).

    boddhitree and JackHorzempa like this.
  19. Again, apologies for the argumentative tone at times, but I think I actually received an answer to my question. From what Boddhitree says of those in attendance at BKL, it seems like -- for a time at least -- there will be a pretty strict separation of "rebellion" and "renaissance." I suspect this will mean that, as has happened here in the U.S., a sort of subculture will develop around "craft" beer, whereby these "experimental" beers are purchased (and traded?) via the Internet and consumed primarily at festivals, releases, "tastings," or (most commonly) at home. I think that any renaissance that is taking place will continue to develop primarily in already-established beer havens such as Franken, Koeln/Duesseldorf/Dortmund(?), and other spots in Bavaria -- the way we see with places like Schneider, Maisel, Mahr's, Rittmeyer, etc., etc., resurrecting old styles and traditions. As for the rest of Germany, I see the big boys continuing to dominate and quickly (2014 at the latest) picking up on the ABIbiere and riding that wave. In short, then, like so much else in Germany, I foresee that nothing will really change to any large degree...save for another American trend entering German culture. ;)
    boddhitree and Gutes_Bier like this.
  20. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (405) California Nov 3, 2005

    Too funny - nice left jab.
  21. Please report back on that beer!

    · “English IPA”
    · “€8,90 for a 750 ml bottle”
    · “proud display of "Argentinian Hops" on the bottle”
    · “no mention whatsoever of the RHG”

    While I am not German (or a German resident) that beer sounds revolutionary (or rebellious) to me. I like it!

    boddhitree likes this.
  22. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    No need, we're good. Spirited discussion is just fine by me. I'm just giving you a hard time. :D
  23. All good. So...looks like the new question is:

    What is your favorite type of German beer?
    1. Fernsehbier
    2. Bayernbier
    3. ABIbier
    4. Laptopbier

    and, maybe soon...

    5. GABC bier ;)
  24. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I agree with a lot of what you said. However, I'm not as pessimistic as you sounded in your post.

    In my experience Germans deal with change far differently than, lets say Americans, who might be on the far end continuum. Americans like change for change sake. Newness is cool irregardless of what came before, that's the Ami's, simply tossing out tradition when it doesn't suit them, a tradition solidified by the War of Independence.

    Germans, on the other hand, generally resist change if at all possible. Stahlsturm, you might be a very good example, right? (at least beer-wise) But when there's a critical mass, things suddenly flip and the change becomes the norm and no one really can imagine life being any different from the new situation.

    This epiphany came to me when I was studying at a German Uni. in 1984. (I mentioned this story before the change to the new servers, so if you've heard it before, forgive me.) There was a deep debate about women being able to go topless at their local swimming pools. Many women argued that since they do it in France or other Mediterranean countries, what's the big deal if they do it here, too. I remember a raging debate on TV, intellectuals, religious types, everyone from hippies to Omas arguing it to death (another German trait), and many women felt it was sexist and many feminist were for and against it. Basically, it felt to me that a majority of people on TV were against it. Then, suddenly, really out of the blue, so many women just starting going topless at their local swimming pools, suddenly it was the new normal, the new norm. Suddenly, debate stopped and no one really noticed women were topless at the swimming pools. It was as if no one could remember it had ever been different. Suddenly, Omas, middle aged, & younger women were all topless at swimming pools or parks and no one even made a big deal of it. When I asked people I knew if they missed the "old ways," most answered they couldn't remember it ever being different.

    This debate above is very similar to beer in Germany. There will be lots of people against it, but after a tipping point, people will barely it being different. I feel there will a simultaneous revolution and renaissance in Germany. There will be a tipping point when one major brewer will try an IPA, be somewhat successful, then all will jump on the bandwagon, and presto, IPAs will be the norm. They will blandify it, make it boring, and there will better examples by brewers that really believe in their craft and produce good quality versions.

    Simultaneously, there will be a yearning for a revival of traditional styles and a rebirth in spreading them more through Germany, or at least outside of Bayern.

    Finally, there will always be a small segment where experimentation of blending old and new will cross and I believe a new style of 2 will emerge. These will come from the true craft brewers, a Pax Bräu or a Bamberg brewer.

    I give you Weizen as an example of how change occurs in Germany beer-wise. In the 80's, Weizen was unheard of, actually almost completely unknown outside of Schwaben or Bayern. It was impossible to find outside of those areas and seen as foreign, too. Skip to 2000s, where every brewer makes a Weizen, whether in Strahlsund in northeast Germany, in Hamburg, or in Frankfurt. Every brewer, major and minor makes a version of the style. Do people think... oh no, not another Weizen! No, they don't. Now Wiezens are so ubiquitous in all parts of Germany that they've transcended their original boundaries and are considered the norm; no one makes a big deal out of it.

    The same will happen with IPAs. Don't forget, Germans aren't Americans, Herrburgess, and they won't be like Americans chasing after the next new thing. What you hate about the American craft scene is typical American and won't translate to Germany. Here, it will be orderly, it will become the new norm, and then no one will give it much thought again. I doubt it will be like America where people will trade beers b/c you will be able to buy any beer on the internet and have it delivered efficiently 3 days later, unlike the USA where beer trading is necessary only b/c many states forbid mail ordering beer internally or externally.

    This was meant as a compliment to what you said, Herrburgess, rather than a counter argument.
    einhorn, herrburgess and JackHorzempa like this.

  25. I vote for GABC beers! I know that there are at least 3 others with me.

    Ancient Chinese Proverb: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

  26. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I hope you buy a bottle and write up a review for us. Also put it in the Craft Beer thread, or maybe the Bayern Bought/Drunk thread.
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  27. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

  28. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I admit I don't see Stiegl in Germany so I don't know their importance as a major beer company in Austria. The Welde Jahrgangsbier for 2011 (I think?) was an American IPA, but I don't know if it was a double or not. Welde is not necessarily a "big boy" of Germany but they seem to be a large local provider here in HD.
  29. steveh

    steveh Champion (775) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Now I wish I'd bought it, but I'm just so not into IPAs anymore.

    Yeah, but is it available in a (very) small, Indian-owned convenience store in Lake Villa, IL? :D

    (Every day's a thrilla' when you're livin' in Lake Villa ;))
  30. steveh

    steveh Champion (775) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

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  31. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    There are a few other examples (Propeller's DIPA and Faust's Auswanderer). I was being cheeky and to be honest I have no idea who brewed what and when. It's very possible that Austria beat Germany to the DIPA punch. Still, I stand by my previous ill-informed statement(s).
  32. Funny you mention that. Among all this talk -- and given the cravings I used to have for C-hopped APAs/IPAs while I was living in Germany -- I have been on the search for some of the "new and exciting" IPAs everyone over here is going crazy for. Recently I found a nice, fresh bottle of Stone Enjoy By at my local Whole Foods. About halfway through the 22 oz. bottle, I developed a raging headache that lasted well into the next day. I'd never had this happen before, but I have to admit that the entire experience was pretty awful. Smoothed it out with a half dozen Stangen of homebrewed Koelsch the next evening, and all was (again) right with the world. ;)
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  33. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    This is like my worst nightmare. Please don't tell me that when I finally go back to the States, that nice Pale Ale that I've been craving will give me a headache. Please don't tell me that....
  34. I hop(e) not. I honestly don't know what happened, but it has happened now three times (once with Enjoy By, once with Ruination, and once with Sucks). I refuse to believe the typical German explanation (i.e., Chemiebiere...for me that would be like admitting that Zugluft crossing the nape of your neck really does make you sick ;) ) -- plus I stuck to those beers only and did not "mix" over the course of an evening. I will add that my tongue was a bit numbed from the hops and that I was burping up citrus and pine the next day as well. I am myself almost scared to revisit these beers now, and my craving is most definitely over now.... Guess my system is rebelling in its advanced age!
  35. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Lol, never heard the Zugluft line before...

    Schlenkerla's Eiche used to give me a headache, even after only one. Not sure why. Went ahead and ordered a 20er anyway this season and enjoyed them thoroughly with no headaches. So I say revisit! Although I've never had the three beers you mentioned, I'm sure they're good!
  36. Never heard any complaints about how es zieht ? Wow.

    And, yea, not too worried that I might have developed an IPA allergy; had 3 Founders Centennial at my "local" recently with no problems. You'll be fine....
  37. steveh

    steveh Champion (775) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    They don't brew that with rice, do they? That's exactly what happens to me if I drink a Budweiser or a home-brew "clone," and even when I have some beers that might not use as much rice, but never with anything highly-hopped.

    I call it an "instant hangover." It's why I don't judge American Light Lager in HB competitions anymore -- too many weirdos trying to brew a Budweiser -- believe it or not!
  38. Brought some Alpha King back for the wife in Germany when we lived there. She had craving for a hoppy American beer (1998 timeframe). She said "This is so one dimensional". Now she wants a lot of homebrewed German and Czech lagers on tap in the summer.

    We lived in the beer wasteland of Wiesbadan. There were 3 bierstubbe, off the top of my head, that had Czech beers on tap. Some of my friend liked PU or Budvar. They thought Czech beer was fine, as it met the Reinheitsgebot.