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Discussion in 'Europe' started by spartan1979, Aug 31, 2013.
So, I just gotta ask, do you really want more stories about the Hofmann twin sisters!?!
You know the sisters at Brauerei Barnikel in Herrnsdorf? They are legendary.
Maybe a pic would peak my interests - or smash them into Never-Never-Land.
Never trust a skinny brewer. Or a cook for that matter.
Day 8 - Bamberg
The plan for this day was "The World's Best Leberkaes and The World's Best Bier."
So we headed over to Schenkerla about 9:30 AM and the Metzgerei was closed! On Mondays and Tuesdays. When we were here in 2010 we had found another one nearby so we went to find it. Since I was operating from a vague recollection, I was surprised that we found it so easily.
So, we picked up a couple of Leberkaes and headed back over to Schenkerla.
I had another Ur-Bock and my wife had the Ur-Weizen. A great way to start the day! It was also the emptiest I've ever seen Schenkerla.
The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent sightseeing.
Finally, it was time for more bier so we we walked over to Wunderburg, the home of the Brauereis Mahrs and Keesmann. Getting there was a nice walk along the Regnitz. First we headed to Mahrs.
We started out with the famous "U." I really liked it, but my wife thought it had diacetyl. I don't seem to be able to taste diacetyl so it didn't bother me. All the beers are poured by gravity.
I like the atmosphere of the old tap room at Mahrs. We finished up with a Bock and a Hell.
Then we headed over to Keesmann.
We had dinner here and started out with the Herrin Pils.
Both the food and the beer was very good. The Pils was second only to Faust. We finished dinner with a Sternla and a Weizen.
We finished our visit to Bamberg at our favorite place, Spezial.
We didn't have any pictures of us together, so we had to resort to a selfie.
It was fitting that we ended the night with the Lagerbier.
Very nice report and pics. Thanks for that. Glad you enjoyed the Leberkaes-Schlenkerla combo. The Leberkaes you ended up getting might actually be my personal favorite -- ahead of even the Liebold (my dorm was right up the street on Judenstrasse...on the way to Klosterbrau). Good stuff, especially finding a favorite in Spezial; that place is a gem for sure. Prost and Happy Thanksgiving!
Day 9 - Koln and Düsseldorf
We got up and headed over to the Hauptbahnhof to go to Köln. We had been there in 2010 for an evening . That time we arrived at dusk. We walked out of the Hauptbahnhof and were literally awed by the Dom, but we were with a group and had no time to linger. This was a side trip to correct that.
We got off the train, stashed our bags and spent a few minutes staring in amazement at the Dom.
Then we headed over to Malzmuehle for lunch.
Then it was back to the Dom for a tour of this beautiful Cathedral.
It's hard to get a picture of the whole thing. The tour was shorter than I would have liked, but it was still worth the time. We ended our brief visit to Köln with a visit to Fruh.
Then it was on to Düsseldorf. After checking into the hotel, we walked over to Schumacher for dinner. The place was packed. Initially we were told 45 minutes for a table. Then we were told we should come back at nine. But we hung around and when the host figured out we weren't leaving, he managed to find us a place!
I must have forgot the camera because I found these on my phone.
One of the reasons we made a point of returning to Düsseldorf was that I've brewed several Alts since the last time I was there and I wanted to taste the real thing. So I actually took some notes, comparing the beers to what I remembered mine tasting like. As I tasted others, I started comparing them to each other. The Schumacher seemed to have a similar malt profile to mine while being more bitter and crisper.
So we finished dinner and it being relatively late, we decided to return to the hotel. Not a real exciting bier day, but we did get to mark the Kölner Dom off our list and made it Düsseldorf. Not too bad.
One more day....
What did you think of the Malzmuehle? Koelsch is criminally underrated IMO, and Malzmuehle's is a superbly subtle, but hugely satisfying, example of the style.
Koelsch isn't my favorite style, but I enjoyed the Malzmuehle, maybe a bit sweet. I also really liked their tap room. Both were better than Früh. Also better than the Sion and Peters I had last time.
I find Malzmuehle to be the most balanced of all the Koelsches I've tried. Food is really excellent, too. You go for something traditional like "Himmel und äd?"
Sorry to be pedantic here, but the beer's name is Mühlen Kölsch. Look at the glass in the picture for verification. The name of the place is Bauerei zur Malzmühle, as the picture attests. Mühlen Kölsch is my favorite of all the Kölsch beers precisely for the reason spartan1979 mentioned, it's sweeter, i.e. maltier than the others. I find Früh to be not nearly as good, and Sion undrinkable (and owned by Radeburger Gruppe.)
If I had to choose a favorite Koelsch, I'd go with Paeffgen. But the Mühlen Kölsch () is a close second.
Radeberger swallowed a number of Kölsch breweries, see here. They are all brewed at Gilden Brauerei in Köln-Mülheim.
I also like Mühlen Kölsch the best, followed by Sünner and Gaffel. Haven't been able to try one of the smaller ones (e.g. Paeffgen) yet.
You are correct. I blame herrburgess for starting that and myself for blindly following along!
Speaking of Malzmuehle, anyone tried the Koelsch brewed with champagne yeast?
Thought this was pretty cool:
No, but that looks good! I had a plan to go up to Köln this week but stuff got all jumbled up and I had to cancel. I'd really like to hit Päffgen, Mühlen er, Malzmühle, and this one place my friend told me about that is his favorite bar in Köln. I've had one Mühlen Kölsch ever and that's about the extent of my independent Kölsch product knowledge, very sadly.
I had it when I was there in October (also their wheat beer). The Von Mühlen was €20 for a 750ml -- pretty pricey. It wasn't bad, more like a Belgian Triple than a kölsch, but not really worth it except for the novelty value. It took about 10 minutes before they could find someone who could remove the cork
I was surprised that the Pfaffen bier (aformer Pfäffgen in der Altstadt) was very good this past visit. Maybe my favorite of the day -- until we went to Braustelle
Do you like the Helios from Braustelle? Admittedly, I have only had it in bottled form here in the U.S. and not fresh from the source, but I didn't think it was in the same league as Paeffgen and Muehlen.
Day 10 - Der Endtag - Düsseldorf
Despite my comments in the @EvanRail thread, I do realize there are other things to do in Düsseldorf, although not as much as he did. We walked over to the Altstadt from our hotel and located the brewpubs. We saw the Rathaus and a few other sights and headed over to the Rheinufer.
It looks like a great place to spend a summer day/evening. But we were here pretty early and it was a bit cool so we decided to walk down to the Rheinturm.
Finally, it was time for a beer. Where else would one start than Uerige?
Our friends from 2010 were still there!
On to the Bier.
Uerige Alt is much roastier and bitter than the Schumacher Alt or my homebrewed version. Although I am thinking that the roast flavor may have been accentuated by the bitterness.
We wanted to try the Kürzer next, but they weren't open.
So it was on the Füchshen for lunch.
It was the day before Halloween so Füchshen was done up.
Less bitter than both Schumacher and Uerige. Also less malty and crisp.
I wanted to try one of the more commercial Alts for comparison. The Schlösser Alt bar was across the street from Füchshen.
Pretty bier and glass but the bier is nowhere as good as the brewpubs. It's sweet and had diacetyl. Even less crisp than the Füchshen. One glass was enough.
Then we headed over the the Schlüssel Schwemme.
Schlüssel Alt is softer than Uerige or Schumacher but not as bitter. It is more bitter than Füchschen. It also was had a bit more chocolate and caramel notes.
Finally it was time to try the newest brewpub in Düsseldorf, Brauerei Kürzer.
The Kürzer Alt is nutty with a bitterness to Füchschen. Some chocolate/coffee notes. Clean but soft.Creamy. Darker than most. A nice addition to the Altstadt.
The taproom is also is great contrast to the others in the Altstadt. It has a more contemporary vibe to it with a young staff. The menu is pretty much what you'd expect in an American brewpub. But since it was our last evening in Germany, we wanted German food. So we had several of their Alts and headed back over to Schlüssel.
At Schlüssel, our waiter wouldn't allow me to order until I pronounced Speckpfannkuchen correctly. It took me three tries before I realized my error. We all had a good laugh over it. It seemed that almost every time I tried to speak German, it brought laughter. But it was good-natured laughter and all I could do was smile.
We decided to wrap up the night at back at Uerige.
We had a great time in Germany. Saw lots of sights, got of the big cities on a few occasions and drank a lot of good bier. Everybody was friendly towards us. I also want to thank everyone in this forum for their help before we left.
I'm already thinking about the next trip.
Firstly, thank for you all of your posts/reports. I knew that it took quite some time and effort to put them together. I greatly enjoyed reading all of them!
“The Schlösser Alt was sweet and had diacetyl.” Do you think the brewers intended for the diacetyl to be present or was it just a ‘bad’ batch?
I have a hard time imagining they wanted diacetyl but I guess you never know. According to Ron Pattison's website, the brewery closed in 2003. A little more searching shows that it is now one of the Radeberger labels. Take that for what you will.
Right, Schlösser belongs to Radeberger and isn't even brewed in Düsseldorf anymore, but at the DAB-brewery in Dortmund.
I think you explained exactly why I think Schlüssel Alt is my favorite in the city.
I've never had this one... your description sounds good enough for me to put it on my next itinerary.
That they're more "modern" without being too snobby sounds like a winning strategy for attracting Germans to the place. All the other "traditional" atmosphere places tend to turn off lots of the 20-somethings. So this is a good thing for the continuation of Alt in the world.
I speak German, so this word doesn't seem too difficult, but it's a decently long word, making it challenging for a non-native speaker to pick out the syllables. What was your error?
Thank you for your reports and the wonderful pictures, too. I enjoyed the way you added humor. Keep up the great work.
I'd also like to thank you @spartan1979 for the fine trip reports. I'm glad you could squeeze in Köln and Düsseldorf as well as some other small, unknown to tourist spots. Very courageous of you! The Germans, as you discovered, are pretty laid back about foreigners trying to speak German. They're always patient and many younger Germans are happy to switch to English if it gets to be too much.
I'm not surprised Schlösser didn't measure up. I've had a number of the macro Alts and they never seem quite right.
Cheers! Hope you get to come back soon!
It's worth trying. But then again, any bier is worth trying at least once.
I hope so. This place wouldn't have been out of place in any American city. Except, of course, for the bier.
We did notice that we most of the places we went to had an older clientele. We even commented that even though the drinking age is sixteen we don't think we saw anyone that age in a pub, even with their parents.
I was pronouncing the "ch" in "kuchen" like it would be in English instead of the "k" type sound of German. I knew better, but forgot.
I think you picked up on the main reason for the decline of the German beer industry. Yes, the mass produced stuff is either horribly forgettably bland or just horrible, but the absolute main problem with the German beer industry is demographics, and as the Republicans in the USA will find out eventually to their horror, you can't fight demographics. Beer has lost it's place with the younger crowd as a cool thing to drink, replaced by vodka-Red Bull or vodka-fruit juice concoctions. Unless the beer industry radically changes its image and comes out with products that have actual taste, yet don't pander to this demographic by simply mixing fruit juice with beer-similar products, which has been their only strategy to date, it will become an extinct industry when the 40+ crowd lose their ability to spend, or simply die off.
Yes, you and other Touries love the old-timid German feeling, but it's "blah blah, boring" to the younger crowd. You and the Touries could never support an entire beer industry of a country, except only in minor, localized settings. In Bayern, the locals, young and old support their locals more, especially in small towns/cities, but that's a 0.1% part of German population, tops. If you look at the people who came to BrauKunstLive or Festival der Bierkulturen, both celebrations of NON-German beer styles, the interesting part was it was mixed age-wise and lots of the young crowd totally excited by beer for the first time in their lives.
This is also what Germany needs. It seems from reports from Berlin that "craft beer (new American and traditional German styles) bars" are gaining traction in Berlin and München, even if it's by having a more modern atmosphere. What you call an "American" style bar is really just a normal, modern bar here. Just because it's not traditional German, doesn't make it American. To me, and "American" style bar is a sports bar here. Again, thanks for the report; your insights will greatly help me plan my future trips within Germany.
Wow, @boddhitree , a very elaborate assessment of the current state of things in Germany concerning the demographic problem the German beer industry faces. As you said, their only uninspired answer yet has been to put out mixed juice&beer-beverages.
I've been to the big Bierhalls in Düsseldorf, München and Köln myself. They usually attract a middle to older-aged crowd, but I understand that. I guess, they don't even want the young people there: too much trouble, not enough business. Those places are just about beer and traditional food, why would a group of teenagers spend their Saturday night there? The youngest folks you see there are usually mid-twens on weekends using these locations as a starter to a night out in the clubs. Or touries.
I wouldn't set the border at 40+ though, rather at 30+. At least for me and the people I know. Although of course, there are still a lot of people today in their middle or late 30s who still act like teenagers.
P.S.: Is it just me, or is BA horribly slow these days? Something wrong?
@boddhitree I feel like this is a bit of a Sky Is Falling approach. My guess is that those kids drinking mixers now will grow up and start taking pride in the local product (they are German, after all ). Or perhaps the next wave will laugh at the old folks drinking mixers while they go have their beer. You say the Touries can't support the city, but Uerige alone goes through some 1 million liters of beer at their brewpub alone for a city of only...what... 600,000? (not sure of my source on either of those numbers but I think I'm remembering correctly). That's 4 million little glasses per year that get poured at Zum Uerige. It can't all be old folks and retirees.
@danfue slow for me tonight, too. So many people so little beer bandwidth!
I think that the "other guys" (spirits & energy drink) have been able to make their products sexier than grandpa's beer, which is one reason why the youth is looking for new things rather than hugging their beer to death.
Short anecdote: A German friend of mine (who is a beer drinker) posted on his FB page tonight a picture of "Ficken" schnapps (I kid you not) that they were drinking at a disco. You may brush this off as "who cares", but 4 30-something chaps drank this garbage instead of beer, which they normally would do. The aging industry is melting one beer at a time.
You may have a point, but I really doubt I'm not that far off the mark. I teach a lot of Abiturienten, 17 or 18 year olds who need to write English better in order to pass their Abitur, and almost all of them, in my discussions of what they like to do in their free time with friends, mention almost only vodka-Red Bull, etc, and turn their nose at beer. For them, beer is uncool, the epitome of old-fat-fart's drink, and a case of beer's too heavy to carry around compared to a bottle of vodka and juice. I'm not the only one to have noticed the trend, as many articles in German media have attested. The problem is that during one's formative years, one's habits are formed for lifetime. That's the scary part for brewers: losing upcoming customers to replace the older generation. When older, I doubt they'll go to beer, wine maybe, more sophisticated cocktails, yes, too.
Anecdotally, I see this all the time, weekends, evenings on the subway, where to kids are carrying vodka-juice or whatever around to drink while on the go. The regular old Pils won't cut it for them, and if that's all they're being offered, which is either bad or bland beer, then I don't blame them for not wanting anything to do with it.
The only thing that will bring them back to beer, IMO, is a craft revolution similar to what happened in the USA. Now, Scott herrburgess, before you fly off the handle and rail at the U.S. beer-hipster scene, I seriously doubt Germany will go to the extremes Americans have gone to. Germans are too measured and reasonable. What happened in America will not replicate itself exactly in Germany, but I know... if the beer industry doesn't offer the a product with more authentic tastes, for Germany novel flavors like C-hops, it's doomed to shrink a lot more than it has already. That's my prediction, but like America, it will require education and time. Even if it's like Kürzer, putting an old beer style in a modern, less anachronistic setting, that's for Germany progress.
They would've had Jägermeister in earlier years. The real problem is that that disco probably has 62 kinds of Becks and no real beer. And why do they do that ? Because the owner of the disco makes more money that way and that is all that counts in that kind of business.
It's also much cheaper. We used to call this the "Preis-Rausch-Verhältniss" back when we mainly used to drink to get hammered cheap and quick.
Only met a brother and sister and Barnikel. Very nice peiople. The brother gave us a lift to another village to catch a bus.
Maybe so, but tastes change. They kids will put down the Mixery beers eventually and start looking for places to go that are a little quieter than the disco.
You say that like Jägermeister is bad or something.
I'm saying it was (and in some places is) a huge trend to drink that stuff.
Very cool term!
I still grew up mainly with beer, the Preis-Rausch-Verhältnis often made for cheap and industrial beers back in those days. And this despite two big factors: 1) the mixed beer-drinks were already on the rise, as well as some light and ice beers that were tried and failed by some breweries at that time. 2) I grew up in a traditional wine-region. But wine is nothing for teenagers, and it's too expensive.
I'm with MJT on this one. I think, most people (surely not all) won't drink Vodka-Red Bull and the likes forever. Lives change a lot, you get married, you settle down, you get children. Most people won't pour themselves a Vodka-Red Bull when they get home after their working day. Some will turn for wine, others for beer. But those who turn for beer will turn for the industrial crap first. The focus shouldn't be on if somebody drinks beer, but what beer does he drink.
I think it's unrealistic to predict a collapse of the German beer industry, I would think that it is heading for a contraction and even more consolidation, but that it will stabilize at a level where it is in harmony with the new market conditions (people drinking less beer, less often, on average). Beer industries in other countries exist despite a per capita consumption which is considerably lower than that of Germany, only there's alot fewer breweries to serve the market. With consolidations, brewery closures and brands being discontinued, I don't see why some of the brewery groups couldn't survive in their current size, and still be profitable, in a smaller market.
Of course, this would not be a scenario which would appeal to people on this forum, but I offer this up as a counterargument to the idea that German beer is headed for the scrapheap of history due to (currently) flailing demand.
If you want some tough German pronunciation, check out