Germany Place reviews

Discussion in 'Europe' started by herrburgess, Oct 15, 2013.

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  1. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Cafe Abseits is ranked higher on here than Schlenkerla tavern. This is all you need to know about U.S. "craft" culture and its priorities. I may as well rank my local beer nerd's walk-in closet where he "cellars" his rare beers as better than the Spezial Keller.

    (p.s. I love Abseits...but c'mon.)

    [/rant]
     
  2. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (296) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    Or it may just be that Americans are more comfortable in a tavern that resembles what they have back home.

    Schenkerla is rated 92 - Outstanding.
     
  3. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Yea, doesn't really rile me up...just thought it was telling. I mean, I will still default to McDonalds over there if my kid gets whiny! :wink:
     
  4. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Then they should just stay home.
     
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  5. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Doesn't surprise me, actually, and I'd guess it has to do more with "American" culture than with "American craft" culture. Service and selection are important to Americans;"Gemütlichkeit" doesn't factor into it. I always chuckle at the thought of someone trying to judge a place like Uerige on selection. Or service for that matter, if they get a grumpy Köbes without realizing that Köbesse are meant to be a grumpy lot.
     
  6. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Wait. Are there enough American touries visiting Cafe Abseits to make it profitable? I bet if you spent more nights there the main clientele would be Germans, right? That tells me that Germans themselves like the "craft beer" ambience just as much as the next bloke. What's on BA's site is totally irrelevant. I see it this way: I like an old gemütlich, old-fashioned German bar once in a while, but when I go out, I prefer something a bit more "modern." I think it's great that both ends of the spectrum exist. I wish there were many many more bars in Germany like Cafe Abseits, in fact, I wish there were one in FFM! I think it's great they both exist in the same town, giving you a real choice in beer-related establishments, not just the same old, same old.
     
  7. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Of course this is the "correct" answer. But what to make of the fact that Abseits is rated higher than Schlenkerla, Mahr's, Spezial, Klosterbrau, Greifenklau, Faessla, etc., etc.? Kinda crazy, right?
     
  8. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,506) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Just visited both. Schlenkerla was great and my visit really turned around my impressions of rauchbier. The setting was beautiful; however, they had three beers (only Marzen on-draft). My experience at Abseits was very pleasant and memorable. Both times we visited, Herr Schumann (sp?) sat at the bar with us and we talked about Franconian beer. He even pulled some bottles out of his cellar to share. The bar staff were very friendly as well and I got to try some spectacular regional Pils & Keller Biers, as well as an amazing experimental beer from Weyerman. Both are exceptional places, but I will have fond memories of Case Abseits to remind me of my trip.
     
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  9. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Are you back Stateside now? I don't know how to tell you this, but you just missed Schlenkerla's Urbock, which I think tapped a few days ago and is available now (and a case of which is currently en route to my apartment!).
     
  10. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Must write review!
     
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  11. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Let's see, that BA people are idiots? That their value system is different? That they appreciate the uniqueness of Cafe Abseits in Germany as much as I do? Who knows.
     
  12. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I was thinking more along the lines that many BAs could perhaps learn to value great traditions at least as much as newness and variety...especially if they are holding themselves up as "beer advocates." Are you saying I'm asking too much?
     
  13. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    If he doesn't, I will. :wink: You keep putting it on the Craft crowd to not be American. They value variety and service the same way any ordinary American does, and the same way Germans value tradition, the RHG, and nothing being open on Sundays. Each facet of one culture might seem strange to the other culture but that doesn't make one or the other inherently right or wrong. I think it would be nice if people came to Germany and got a better appreciation for how things work here, but I don't think it should be expected. Besides, isn't the story Jwale73 told as good a reason as any to like a place? Could you ever imagine a tourist coming back and sharing the same story about Schlenkerla?
     
  14. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I will do so, stay tuned!
     
  15. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    The "nothing being open on Sundays" made me literally laugh out loud. Not only that, it's a very good analogy -- and your overall point is well-taken.
     
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  16. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,170) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Obviously, the service rating of Schlenkerla is bringing it down!! I experienced it first years ago, being served (supposedly) by the most-appropriately named Frau "Suck" (no lie!!!). Again last month.... my wife and I went into the right-side room and snagged seats as 2 patrons were leaving. A waittress went by at least 3 times in the next 15-20 mins, while looking right at us, and continued on.... We finally got served, but got a bit hot in the process...
     
  17. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (296) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    Maybe, if that's all they want to do. But finding a place to to spend an occasional comfortable evening in a foreign country is not necessarily a bad thing.
     
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  18. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,198) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I haven't been to Abseits, but Shlenkerla's service is usually described as pretty close to infamous. It's like the Falling Rock Tap House of Franconia. Plus, one of the categories is for selection. They usually only have 2-4 taps. Depending on your service, I bet the "vibe" rating might take a hit, too.
    Mahr's on the other hand has a massive selection and really good service, so I don't know about that one.
     
  19. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Initiate (181) Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Precisely, which I think is also one reason Belgium is held in such high regard here compared to Britain or Germany – with the establishments offering a choice of 40 or 60 strong beers, it is the beer culture most similar to the American one.
     
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's been thrown about by so many and so often, I have to ask when the service at Schlenkerla became so infamously bad?

    I admit that it's been some time since I cast a shadow on its door, but when I did I never felt I received bad service (ask me about the Weißes Bräuhaus and I'll tell you some good stories -- and I think that was more performance art than anything :wink: ). Maybe it was overshadowed by the great new friends at our table or the Bamberg Onion I sucked down, I don't know -- but I sure didn't feel unwanted.
     
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  21. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,506) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    I guess my concept of "just", might be a little off :wink: I was in Bamberg back in April. Missed the Fastenbier, but was able to get it on-draft when I got back home.
     
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  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,198) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader


    My first experience was average, but my second one was really good. Having a friend who was connected didn't hurt, though. I think some of it comes down to luck just because of the tourist groups they get coming through there. For people taking guided tours, Shlenkerla seems to be the one beer stop they run everyone through. It's also the one place you see on every travel show, too.
    I still always think of it like the Falling Rock here in Denver. They get tons and tons of traffic from people who end up there just because someone randomly told them to go.
    I think other places like Keesmann and Greifenklau don't get the same amount of passive traffic and aren't quite as surly as a result.
     
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  23. Slam_Dunkels

    Slam_Dunkels Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2013 United Kingdom (England)

    Maybe it's a case of these places being hyped up so much that the reality does not live up to the hype and expectation.
    I imagine being really excited about visiting this "awesome" pub during your trip only to be met by, to some people's standards, poor customer service would be really disappointing, the ratings then take a hit because of this and will influence the overall impression.
     
  24. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,198) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Is there a lot of chatter about Bamberg in Europe? Over here in the US the mention of Bamberg (even among geeks) garners only 3 reactions:
    1. A blank stare.
    2. "Oh, that's where that rowch smoked beer comes from."
    3. "My (insert random relative) was stationed there once."
     
  25. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Fun conversation that I had last year with an Austrian friend, which I think is typical:

    Me: "I'm going to Bamberg this weekend. It's the home of Rauchbier. Do you know what that is?"
    Him: "Yes, it's disgusting."

    YMMV!

    Cheers.....
     
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  26. seanyfo

    seanyfo Meyvn (1,020) Jan 2, 2006 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    About the Schlenkerla service thing,

    Can I ask are you guys ordering in German or English?

    At my last visit, my friend & I (both Scottish), we can muster up enough broken German to order and the service was prompt but without much warmth. However the American tour group at another table took ages to get served, i assume (perhaps wrongly), because they were only speaking English.

    Sometimes i wonder, obviously this is an American-central forum and you guys come from the land of super friendly/go that extra mile service, you expecting similar in Germany? However i will admit I've had spectacularly bad service in Germany too, Bar Fuesser in Nuremburg and Hofbrauhaus come to mind.
     
  27. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Again, Germans don't call their own country a Service Wüste (service desert) for nothing.
     
  28. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    We do, yet at the same time we feel that what's considered good service in the US is overbearing and pretentions. There's just no pleasing us it seems :grinning:

    Seriously though, most Germans don't care if a waiter smiles or not as long as whatever we ordered is here fast and hot (or cold, depending on what one ordered). We all know from our own lives that nobody waiting on or serving you really cares how you are doing as long as you open your wallet so you may as well keep the studied phrases to yourself and spare us, the customer the annoyance of having to pretend we care. Do what you are paid for to do and shut up.
     
  29. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Did you want a hug with your meal ? There's places for that too... :stuck_out_tongue:
     
  30. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    No. It's far more popular around here.
     
  31. seanyfo

    seanyfo Meyvn (1,020) Jan 2, 2006 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Nah, a high five would have sufficed
     
  32. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    He's right, for I get students coming back from the US freaked out being asked 200 times a day "if they're having a good day," or simply "how are you," when you enter a store are are served. The trouble is, when you ask a German those questions, you hear about every moronic or minor ache and pain s/he has, all about the pipes dripping in the house, how terrible his/her boss treats him/her, how s/he hates the weather today (too cold, too rainy, etc.). They never realize those questions are just a friendly American's way of saying hello. In other words, Germans take all this shit way too seriously. On the other hand, in America we're used to people being friendly AND polite, whereas Germans think being polite is enough, and friendly is only for friends. In America, everyone is your "friend" and we make and forget friends easily. In Germany, we take longer to make friends, and take it more seriously, to boot, but then those friendships are not as superficial as Americans; rather, they're deep and long lasting.

    Nonetheless, Service is often horrible in Germany, but it's A LOT better than I remember 30 or 25 years ago. Having traveled abroad and seeing much better examples of service, Germans have been demanding a higher quality, though never the "friendly" variety of the perky wait-staff who giggles and writes her name on the table in crayon. Just imaging that scene in Germany would send Germans into fits of laughter or screaming, running in horror of a) the implied intimacy, b) that they are now required to be equally "friendly," neither of which the average German would feel comfortable with. Yet Americans like or crave that intimacy or perkiness, no matter how superficial or acted. Yet most Americans tend to lead very superficial friendships that Germans would define as "acquaintances."

    So, terrible service is frowned upon in Germany too (Germans are now more willing to complain directly, or simply get up and walk out), now, yet in tourist traps, it's the norm b/c 1) they'll never see you again probably, 2) there's always another tourie to replace you, & 3) they get paid wether you're happy or not in the non-tip system Germany employs. Personally, in Germany, I always try to tip at least 10% for good service as a suggestion to keep up the good work, and don't tip bad service, and say to them (in German), "thanks for the great service."

    So, in Schenkerla you see a parable of German culture played out before your eyes. Oops, was this at all about beer?
     
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  33. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'll admit that it took me a little while to adjust to "German Service" but that said, the first time I went was with some friends, one of whom is a native German and one a Dutch friend who speaks German fluently. My German is not great, but I've always spoken and ordered in German and try not to come across as a Tourie. I'm sure my accent gives me away, but still.
     
  34. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Even the very thought of this ever happening at Schlenkerla gives me a good chuckle.
     
  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That's a good question and difficult to recall, but thinking back on my visits they were after I learned German and I'd gamble that I was probably using it as much as possible.

    I was always taught that you'd get respect for the attempt at using the language -- Stahl can tell us if that's a certain level of rubbish. :wink:
     
  36. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I have found this to be true. At most places. *ahem*

    One time my wife and I went we ended up joining a table of older locals. The waitress was fairly brusque with me and my wife at first, but the longer we sat and (presuming here) the more German she heard us speak the more she warmed up to us. It could also be that she knew the locals we were with and just figured if we were OK by them then we were OK by her. Although at first the very same waitress did try to shoo us out of the joint for not having a reservation. She also brought us the wrong beer (I had asked for zwei Fastenbiere and she said, "zwei Biere?", scurried off and came back with two Märzens...). But I digress.

    For the record, I actually like the place and have been three times. I would go back. But I could also easily see where some people might prefer a different spot.
     
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  37. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I have found that the key to good service at Schlenkerla is having Matthias Trum intervene on your behalf. :wink: The day after I got to interview him, my buddy and I returned around 11:30 a.m. with a couple of Leberkaesbroetchen in hand. Sat down in the Schwemme, grabbed some beers at the self-service window, unwrapped the rolls, and started to eat. A couple minutes later a waitress comes through and raps her knuckles on the sign above the table, which clearly states that you're only allowed to eat food you bring yourself between the hours of 9:30 and 11:30. She says something like "Ihr seid hier nicht fremd" and points out the time, indicating we should clearly know better. We pack up our rolls dutifully and focus 100% on the beer. Just then, Matthias Trum enters. He greets us and asks how it's going. I say that everything's great...but that we apparently arrived a bit too late to eat our snacks. He then says, "No, please, eat." We're still a bit timid about breaking out the rolls again...until we hear him telling the waitress to let us eat in peace. She comes out and apologizes, and we finish our snacks and beers. We later -- and henceforth -- refer to this as "pulling the Trum(p) card."
     
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  38. danfue

    danfue Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 Germany

    I work in the service industry myself: the attempt of at least trying is always good. Speaking English though is not a problem at all. A German and a Spaniard or a Russian and a Japanese will usually try to communicate in English. I worked for an American company, so there were a lot of American guests. What really pisses one off though is when an American lets you understand that he/she is expecting everybody to speak English when he/she is a few thousand miles away from home.
    On another note though, try speaking English in France (outside of the big Touri-locations)! They will most probably give you a look like this: :astonished:
     
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  39. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    My one trip to France was Strasbourg -- my German came in very handy! :grinning:

    I don't get that myself. My one mistake before my first trip to Germany was listening to everyone who told me, "Don't worry, everyone there speaks English, You won't have a problem."

    A.) There may be a lot of people who speak English, but they don't always let it be known.
    B.) There aren't a lot of people in the smaller towns who speak English.

    Learning more than enough to get by was the best thing I did for return trips. If only I could remember half as much as I forgot! :wink:
     
  40. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (296) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    I've been trying to learn some German in preparation for my upcoming trip (leaving Sunday). I didn't get as far as I hoped. But what I have is better than nothing.
     
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