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Germany Beer Battle: America vs. Germany

Discussion in 'Europe' started by JackHorzempa, May 3, 2013.

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  1. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I think there are about as many definitions as there are people trying to define it... To ME, Craft beer is the polar opposite of industrial brewing so as soon as you cannot determine exactly where it was brewed and by whom then it's no longer craft, no matter how good it is in comparison. If your brewery is not run by a private person but by a board of directors, your brewery isn't craft, no matter how good you brew. Craft to me isn't about how the beer tastes, it's about the circumstances under which it is produced.
     
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  2. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    That looks yummy :)
     
    herrburgess likes this.
  3. Robert_N

    Robert_N Apr 10, 2012 United Kingdom (Wales)

    Here is another article to throw in the mix..

    “We feel as if we’re teaching a lot of Germans things about their own beer culture that they’ve forgotten.”


    “My friends would come to visit me in Berlin, and we would taste beer, and very quickly, I realized, we reached the end. We tasted all the styles,”

    http://drinkdrank1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/culture-shocked.html
     
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  4. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Couldn't agree with that article more.
     
  5. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Really ? I'm really starting to get seriously sick of all this "Oh we Americans are so great and so inventive and everyone else needs to adopt our ways because they work so well" kind of attitude myself. While in principle I agree that German brewing could widen the focus a little bit this just makes me want to punch people in the face. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
     
    seanyfo, Hutfabrik and LBerges like this.
  6. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I agree. I think that's the author's point. To wit:

     
  7. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    True, by American standards, many German breweries would be craft breweries. But the whole craft beer movement is about new and different than what was normally available. German breweries that have been serving their communities for centuries with the same beers aren't doing this. The original question about what percentage of Germans have had German craft beer was really "What percentage of Germans have had beer that wasn't traditional to Germany or at least their region?"
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  8. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'm no expert on the subject, but from what I can gather the craft beer scene in America is really consumer driven. People are open to buying new things, so brewers have a lot of freedom to create what they want. What Americans seem to be arguing for, though, is that German brewers must "get with the times" and create beers that no German wants to drink. In other words, the German beer scene appears to me to be consumer driven also, and the German consumer wants tasty, traditional beers.
     
    LBerges likes this.
  9. steveh

    steveh Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That sounds like how I'd put it if I could write well. When I'm in Rome (or anywhere abroad) I want to soak up the indigenous culture, not impose my ways on the people. On my next trip to Germany if I'm faced with the choices of Americanized IPAs or Imperial Stouts I'm going to be more than a little sad.
     
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  10. steveh

    steveh Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I have to think that's a pretty small majority (or at least I hope so). I have the feeling that American beer geeks just won't travel to where they can't get the beer they want. Which, of course, means more for us! :)
     
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    From boddhitree’s postings on the Festival der Bierkulturen 2013, there were a number of German’s enjoying ‘craft beer’ there.

    I suppose only the future will show whether there will be more breweries like Paxbräu opening in Germany.

    Prost!
     
  12. grantcty

    grantcty Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    If this is what "craft" beer is, then you can't count me out as a person who drinks, or wants to drink, "craft" beer. That may be a part of what this movement is about, but it's definitely not the defining characteristic to me. If anything, "craft" beer in the US was about a re-discovering of styles we had forgotten. Yes, plenty of brewers have "innovated" and tried new things from the early days. But the brewers, like Grossman, McAulife, Koch, etc., brewed styles that we once had here and wanted more flavorful beers than were available. It wasn't new or different for the sake of being new or different. It was about more flavor and variety that we once had and lost.

    Edit: I need to add Maytag in there as well. Spent a lot of his own money to save Anchor and focused on all-malt for a lot of his beers.
     
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  13. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Then I've never had German Craft beer and will never touch anything by that definition either.

    I do make a point to drink local beer wherever I go but I want to experience whatever place I'm in to the fullest, not support some thrill-seeking hipster trying to "break things up" because revolution is the taste of the day and he can impress his internet friends with it...
     
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  14. craigster

    craigster Jun 4, 2008 New York

    mjtierney2 is right—I wrote the article. This discussion is far less about improving and/or reinvigorating the German beer industry and more about selling American DIPAs and Imperial IPAs in another market. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the folks in the Washington Post article seem to be a little pushy about.

    For those who stopped by drinkdrank1.blogspot.com, by the way—Thanks!
     
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  15. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    It’s deeply ironic that “craft beer” advocates who claim to stand for diversity, are actually in the process of creating a monoculture. The dedicated “craft beer” fanboy can now travel from one end of Europe to the other, drinking IPAs and imperial stouts, without ever having to come into contact with the actual beer culture of the place he happens to be.
     
    AugustusRex, Pecan, Hutfabrik and 5 others like this.
  16. Robert_N

    Robert_N Apr 10, 2012 United Kingdom (Wales)

    My friend has been in Barcelona and the only thing he drank was Rogue IPA's :(
     
  17. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Maybe soon Berlin will be the Palma de Mallorca of Germany, where hoards of U.S. beer geeks pound American-style IPAs the way Germans pound Warsteiner in that city. Good Lord....
     
  18. craigster

    craigster Jun 4, 2008 New York

    What's really ironic is that neither IPA or the idea of Imperials are of American origin. The only true indigenous American styles are cream ale and steam beer.
     
  19. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    And Scottish Ale.
     
  20. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Yes ! YES !!! That's my point exactly.
     
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  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    You neglected to list Classic American Pilsner and Kentucky Common.

    Prost!
     
  22. LBerges

    LBerges Feb 14, 2010 Germany

    Like to add: Not just a private person, but a brewer. Auf gut deutsch: Craft beer ist wo der Brauer noch der BESTIMMER ist.
     
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  23. LBerges

    LBerges Feb 14, 2010 Germany

    Nonono. Do not assume that is true for the rest of the world.
    The American craft beer movement is about new and different than what was normally available.
     
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  24. LBerges

    LBerges Feb 14, 2010 Germany

    Good point. More than 50% of all Germans drink beer that is not tradional. They drink Pilsner, a Czech style that came to Germany quite lately (about 1850). But the tradional styles (1516 and earlier) have a comeback and win market shares from Pilsner now.

    Maybe you wanted to ask:
    What percentage of Germans have ever had an IPA oder ImpStout? My guess: <0,1%
    Having said that:
    What percentage of Americans have ever had an Ungespundetes (to name a German craft beer style) My guess: <0,1%
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  25. Hutfabrik

    Hutfabrik Jul 3, 2013 Maryland

    Late to this thread but I totally agree with Stahlsturm. In my opinion he really hit the nail square on the head! Check this take on Freigeist and Monarchy Ales (especially the last sentence).

    "Come meet Sebastian Brewer/Owner of Freigeist and Monarchy Ales from Germany
    Sebastian is making some of my personal favorite beer styles. These you do not want to miss.
    Sebastian makes some of the world’s best beers
    We will have 19 of his beers on draft. A very large selection from a brewer that bucks the trends of what you will think about German beers."
     
    danfue likes this.
  26. danfue

    danfue Sep 16, 2012 Germany


    You have the link?
     
  27. Hutfabrik

    Hutfabrik Jul 3, 2013 Maryland

    It's on Facebook so you might not be able to see it (go down to June 28).

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maxs-Taphouse/28772849677

    I am always looking / asking for great German / Austrian beers (especially unfiltered lagers) but I am always met with this way of thinking. Also destroying great German / Austrian beers by putting them in whiskey barrels ect (trying to turn them into sour Belgium ales). The latest victim Hofstetten Granit Bock.
     
  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    I also love this line. I'm late to the party as well, but I thought I was the only one on beeradvocate that thought this way, until I came to this forum. If you suggest a double IPA isn't a "real" beer on the main forums, out come the pitch forks...

    I also wonder if many of the US craft beer drinkers actually like beer, do they simply love fruit (the most popular double IPAs) and coffee/chocolate (many of the popular imperial stouts).

    As someone who began drinking better beer almost ten years ago, I too started with IPAs and imperial stouts. Then I went to Germany and fell in love with "simple" lagers. I didn't have, or even crave, a single IPA while I was over there. I would say two years ago was when I began seeking out more basic beers (leaving the "thrill seeking" of my youth behind).

    Certainly Germany could expand their portfolio a bit more, but by no means do they have to. I would say US craft beer could dial back the imperialism far more than Germany needs to begin experimenting with imperial pumpkin ales. The US I feel is a classic case of running before you learn how to walk. Many brewers never having perfected the English pale ale before they created the IPA, and numerous breweries lacking in classic examples of pilsners, instead jumping to the IPL (Prima Pils?). There are obviously American versions of each that are quite good, but they are few and far between. But I can swing a dead cat (why is everyone swinging decomposed felines by the way?) and find a double IPA brewed to style.
     
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  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am a big fan of German beer styles: Altbiers. Kolsch, German Pilsner, Marzen and on and on.

    “ …do they simply love fruit (the most popular double IPAs) and coffee/chocolate (many of the popular imperial stouts).” I am not generally a big fan of DIPAs but I do enjoy drinking Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Heady Topper, Abner and some others. I rarely get a chance to drink Founders KBS but I was able to get two small glasses at the recent Philly Beer Week; this year’s version was AWESOME!

    “…leaving the "thrill seeking" of my youth behind” I am very far from being a “youth” but I still enjoy drinking what I suppose you would call a “thrill” beer. Maybe “extreme” is a more widely used term?

    “..jumping to the IPL (Prima Pils?).” You are not the only person to intimate that Prima Pils is some sort of an Americanized version of a German Pilsner. Below was in a recent thread:

    “Prima Pils, to me, is more of an American extreme take on pils with their use of hops.” That is something that other BAs have stated as well.

    As a ‘reminder’ Prima Pils is the two owners/brewers of Victory’s version of the German Pilsners they drank in Germany in the 1980’s when they were in training/brewing in Germany. Both Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet trained at Germany’s Weihenstephan Institute.

    You can read more below:

    “Owner Ron Barchet began the evening from the head table presenting the history of Victory’s brewing with a visual overhead slideshow. The brewery’s roots can be traced back to Barchet’s time spent in the Tettnang region working and learning about German beer brewing. In fact, it was a taste of Waldhaus Pils that first led him down the road of exploration and yearning to know more about the process of brewing what became his favorite beer.”

    It is likely more appropriate to describe Prima Pils as a beer like they brewed in some brewery(s) in Germany over two decades ago.

    Cheers!
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  30. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I SHOULD'VE copyrighted that... Dammit :D :p
     
  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I too enjoy these types of beers, but I take them for what they are. I feel many US craft drinkers simply seek the hoppiest (fruitiest?) beers out there, and leave a huge segment of brewing behind.


    I still contend Prima Pils is/was an exception to the rule. I understand the IBUs match up with some of the "hoppier" Northern German Pils from a few decades ago, but IBUs simply indicate bitterness. Flavor/aroma can be impacted by multiple factors. Two beers with equal IBUs can most certainly generate different levels of flavor/aroma. Weihenstephaner's Pilsner (to me at least) is not nearly as hoppy as Prima Pils, and this is where they trained. The folks from Jack's Abby in MA were also trained there, and they're the pioneers of IPLs.

    I believe it's entirely possible the brewers at Victory found a hoppier pils two decades ago, and discovered to them (and most likely the general public) a hoppier pils would taste better and sell better in the US. I'll ask you this, if they brewed a pils more like, say, an EKU pils, do you think it would achieve the same accolades as Prima? They make a Helles (non-hoppy) and it barely garners any attention.
     
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  32. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Jim from Victory has himself documented right here on BA that they wanted to combine the bitterness of Jever with the nose of Waldhaus pils (a small, specialist brewpub near Karlsruhe). You are wholly safe to assume that they did so to appeal to U.S. palates. Jever had around 45 IBUs in the 80s/90s. Prima is -- again according to Jim's posts on these boards -- 52 IBUs.

    I, too, would like Jack to explain why he can tolerate a 7 point difference between Prima and 80s Jever (and still celebrate both of those beers) but can't tolerate the same difference between past and current hopping levels of German pilsners (which he continually disparages). The only thing I can conclude is that he -- like so many others on here -- feels that more is better.
     
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “I'll ask you this, if they brewed a pils more like, say, an EKU pils, do you think it would achieve the same accolades as Prima?” I really have no way of knowing that but I would guess (and it is just a guess) that an EKU type pils may not sell as well. Having stated that it is important for you to realize that Prima Pils was (and is) brewed the way it is because that is the way that Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet likes their pilsners. They enjoyed drinking a variety of pilsners during their training/working days in Germany. The primary inspirational beer for Prima Pils was Waldhaus Pils but they also enjoyed drinking pilsners from other smaller German breweries called Hausbrauerei. Based upon their exposure to German Pilsners ‘back in the day’ they brewed Prima Pils to be like their favorite German Pilsners they enjoyed drinking in Germany. Prima Pils is not an IPL! To suggest that it is, is totally wrong.

    As regards: “The folks from Jack's Abby in MA were also trained there, and they're the pioneers of IPLs.” I have never drunk a Jack’s Abby beer and I know absolutely nothing about the brewers of Jack’s Abby. To infer that because they were trained at Weihenstephan Institute just like Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet has absolutely no bearing here. The Jack’s Abby folks like to brew IPL’s while Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet brew a German Pilsner called Prima Pils.

    “They make a Helles (non-hoppy) and it barely garners any attention.” I enjoy drinking Victory Lager (their Helles) and I also enjoy drinking Sly Fox Golden Helles (and Weihenstephan Original for that matter). There is no doubt in my mind that the US is not Bavaria; there is very little demand for Helles beers here. My attitude is: good, more tasty beer or me!

    Cheers!
     
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  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    MJT, maybe I could live my life vicariously through you (in the interim, until I win the Powerball)? Your next mission, get some Waldhaus OF Extra Herb and report back. Make sure that you take note of the beer’s aroma.

    You da man!

    Prost!
     
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  36. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'll try, Jack! As you've probably learned by now, your average choice at a Germany retail outlet is not like it is in the US, therefore I'll have to make an effort to seek it out. The good news is that my wife really wants to go to the Black Forest, so I think we can make our way down. I will report back. Good luck with the Powerball!
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  37. PancakeMcWaffles

    PancakeMcWaffles Jun 15, 2012 Germany

    You mixed up something- Waldhaus is a regional brewery in the Schwarzwald area (not far from the Rothaus brewery if I remember correctly) and the brewpub in and around Karlsruhe is Vogelbräu (also mentioned as an inspiration). Their Pilsner is at 50 odd IBUs.

    I am on the search for Waldhaus OF extra herb as well. Maybe you should stop trying to win powerball and get a fundraiser for a Jack H. Germany Roadtrip going? :D I'd pay for the Vogelbräu visit, I think you'd love that place :D

    Cheers
     
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  38. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Good catch. I thought I was missing one that Starkbier (Jim) mentioned. Matter of fact, it may have been that Jim said they all liked the Jever, but that they ultimately based Prima on the bitterness of Vogelbräu and the nose of Waldhaus (or maybe vice versa...too lazy to search back for the exact thread/quote).

    EDIT: so I did go back to the original thread/post. Jim said that it was the overall taste/feel of Vogelbräu and the nose of Waldhaus. That and BBC's pils....
     
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  39. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    There was some momentum towards a Send Jack To Germany fundraiser but then got tripped up in the planning stages when everyone sobered up.
     
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  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am pretty sure that the Treasurer absconded with the funds.:confused:

    Non-Cheers!
     
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