Germany Renaissance or rebellion? The new wave of German brewing

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

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  1. CoverMePorkins

    CoverMePorkins Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Delaware
    Beer Trader


    For the 18 months I have left to live in Germany it would make me happy if it happened. It would save me travel time and possibly money to get different beers. I want to try as much as possible.

    This was a grocery/beer store in Iowa City, Iowa I went to a lot. I am linking just the German beer page and you can also look at what they offer from different countries. It would be nice to see something like that here.

    http://www.johnsgrocery.com/Departments/Beer/browse.cfm?action=browse&method=origin&arg=DE
     
  2. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I don't know how I missed Herr Burgess' post. That would be great, but it's not likely to happen anytime soon, I don't think.

    EDIT to add: Nice link. This reminds me of the time I went to my local German bottle shop and asked to special order a case of Weihenstephaner Hefe Dunkel and they told me no. So I called the wholesaler (who will deliver to your house! for like 2 bucks extra! per delivery and not per case!) and ordered the Weihenstephaner Dunkel and they told me no. Ahhhh, Germany...
     
  3. CoverMePorkins

    CoverMePorkins Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    From what little experience I have in the German beer culture and after reading some threads on this forum I agree it won't happen anytime soon either.

    Our best friends here are a German couple in their late 40's. They have two sons 18 and 15. My wife and I are mid 30's. The father is a pils and hefe drinker. The mom is a pils, radler and a pils-cola mix. The 18 year old is also a pils drinker but he is more into booze and flavored vodka drinks. The brewery of choice for the pils, radlers and mixery's are from Karlsberg brewery out of Homburg. Homburg is about 15km from our town. They like to support them and it is more fresh. The father was a Erdinger hefe drinker but I switched him to Weihenstephan.
    They like the beer they have and don't seem interested in trying anything else, especially from a different country. If it isn't a German beer than it isn't as good. I find this sort of funny as they pour a coke in the hefe or buy it premixed.

    I guess this is common place for the older generation of German beer drinkers. Is this common with younger Germans?
     
  4. jonb5

    jonb5 Savant (939) May 11, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    I don't really see much evidence of younger Germans being much more adventurous than their parents when it comes to beer. They drink more mixed and flavored vodka drinks etc. The lack of any decent foreign beers in Germany is a problem. There is hardly anything beyond the standard Macros. Many don't even realise that beer is brewed in Belgium and those that do think drinking it will probably kill them. In my experience, only Czech beer was considered drinkable by hardened German beer fans. As I mentioned earlier, a high percentage of Germans buy a maximum 3 types of beer over the course of a year.
     
  5. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    True, vodka is more bang for the buck. When you're 17 that seems to matter.

    To you maybe. Have you ever noticed that the only people who complain are expats stranded in not so beer savy regions of Germany and people who are desperately trying to score scenepoints on beer boards in order to get their business off ground ?

    That's simply not true...

    The same goes for English beer.

    And that makes us seem inferior to you somehow, doesn't it ? I'm starting to get really annoyed with this attitude, you know...
     
    Bobator likes this.
  6. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    It's successful advertising at work. It's a sad fact that most Germans think that way. My own Dad is one of them. At least I managed to get him off the Macro lagers and into small regional breweries. He still always has a funny remark when I bring some "weird" Belgian beer for my Mom who loves them.
     
  7. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Of course they told you "no". Likely, none of their suppliers had the Weihenstephaner listed and nobody will jump through all kinds of legal and organisational hoopla necessary to open a new account (not to speak of possibly necessary up-front payments) just to sell ONE case. Guarantee them a truckload sold per week and they will likely sing a very different tune.
     
  8. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

  9. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Well, it's medieval legislation and just like burning witches and applying torture for truth finding it could probably use an update. I wouldn't call it "stupid", it made a LOT of sense back then in 1516 but it certainly is outdated.
     
  10. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I'm not sure I can explain it in a way you could understand. I wouldn't feel threatened if they'd just sell English or Belgian beer in stores but the idea of a small regional brewery trying to branch out with something that's considered "exotic" (to use a mild and inoffensive term) freaks me out because considering the taste of people that would most likely end in total disaster and likely kill off yet another of "my" breweries.

    I made an experiment this past weekend and asked Michael Plank if he ever thought about trying to branch out and he didn't even dignify me with an answer. He just went straight over that and kept talking about his recent Japan trip. I know he can't afford dumping out a sud that (so he tells me) equals about 15000 EUR in raw material. I don't know how many liters that is but I clearly recall the 15000 figure from a different conversation that we had about why he doesn't brew a "Dunkel". He said he had no customers for it and he has tried before and it was a disaster.

    So, bottom line, I'd be fine with imports but I am convinced that Bavarian brewers should stick to what they do best.
     
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  11. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Nope, this isn't correct. I see now that Weihenstephaner Hefe Dunkel is not listed on their sheet, but at the time it was (maybe they were phasing it out?). But I had set up an account and ordered a case of this and a case of the St. Georgenbräu Kellerbier. My order went through and I got a receipt. The following Monday (the next business day, I think) they called my saying they couldn't bring the Weihenstephaner OR the Kellerbier (if I remember correctly) and did I want to order something else. I asked them for Tucher's Hefeweizen and Schlenkerla's Märzen, because I could remember those off the top of my head as being on their list. They said no they didn't have Schlenkerla either, so I told them forget it and canceled my order. It pains me to this day, as I was trying to get the Weihenstephaner for my father-in-law who was visiting soon. Oh well. You can check it out and tell me what I'm missing (bearing in mind that all the beers I inquired about were listed on this website at the time)...

    http://derueberbringer.de/index.php/getraenke/bier-biermischgetranke.html

    And is seems like I stand corrected in that delivery is €1,50 per case, not per delivery. Still.

    http://derueberbringer.de/index.php/lieferung/

    And even then, I still don't get why my local beer shop - an Alldrink, who is supplied by the above - would refuse to order it for me, unless for some reason they just stopped carrying it and hadn't updated their website yet. This strikes me as the most logical conclusion.

    Funny postscript, by the way...I was recently at a different Alldrink in another neighborhood, and this guy DOES carry Schlenkerla and seems to have a better selection overall as my local place. I asked him about the Weihenstephaner Dunkel and he happily told me I could order it from him. Dare I repeat past mistakes...? Yeah, probably at some future point I will do this whole dance again. :)
     
  12. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I agree with this 100% (except substitute "German" for "Bavarian").
     
  13. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I know you didn't really mean to insult me and I apologize for being so thin-skinned :)

    I never meant to generalize, I merely meant to point out that the numbers of Germans able is already smaller that it appears at first glance. Those able to being willing is yet another story.

    And we're being called "communists" for it :D

    As I already pointed out in my last post, I have no real problem with Belgian or English or even American beer getting imported, I just think it's a dangerous path for our indiginous brewers.

    Maybe it's just my germanic sense of order, my inherent need for labeling, talking but I want all those varied regions of Europe to maintain their individuality and their seperate traditions. I feel the americanisation of Europe is a great danger to our identity. And no, I don't have a problem with Americans at all, you know that. My wife is one for Pete's sake :) But I feel it's a devaluation of individuality to have everything available in all places at all times. I don't know how to express this any better and my concerns about this go far beyond the matter of beer. I'm not expecting anyone to feel that too but does it make sense from an abstract point of view ? I think understanding this concern I harbour will help a great deal when trying to understand my other ramblings on BA :D
     
  14. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Well, I consider Bavaria and Germany two seperate nations so... :D
     
  15. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Well, maybe the guy was just an idiot after all. From the details you gave no there seems to be no other conclusion possible.

    Maaaaan, there's a lot of horrible Fernsehbier on that list... I think next time I'm going to Holland I may have to use the A 6 and drop you a case of good stuff... :)
     
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  16. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Regarding who was an idiot, I am not one to judge. Or perhaps I am just the right idiot to judge, I don't know. In any case, I just chalked it up to Germany being the most awful place ever and moved on. ;)

    Regarding the Fernsehbier, that list has gotten noticeably worse since I looked at it last year. But these are the choices I face every time I walk into my local beer store. It is surely depressing.
     
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  17. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Come to Bavaria and Germany will seem even more awful.

    I don't know the old list but the one I just went through gave me eye cancer... Maybe you should join that seperatist party that wants to re-unite the Rheinpfalz with Bayern. I mean, beer wise your situation can only improve, can it ?
     
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  18. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    CoverMePorkins, please don't be mad at me asking you to join our conversation here. Meet Stahlsturm, our beloved curmudgeon and defender of anything new and hater of everything non-bavarian. (I exaggerate, right?) Though he has good points and argues his position quite well, I sometimes think he would prefer if we actually lived in 1516 beer-wise. To him, I think there's only one choice, everyone in the world move to Bayern and drink only beer made within 25 km of Regensburg. Otherwise, we're all going to hell in a bucket and what we're drinking will lead to sin, sin and more sin (beer-wise). [pulling your leg, Stahly]
     
  19. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    And I keep wondering why Germany is called a "service wasteland?" That is exhibit A. A lot of service has improved in the 27 years I last lived in Germany, but it's still not uncommon for German service personnel to have that attitude. I've seem tons of improvement since when I lived here in the mid-80s, but I still run across this occasionally.
     
  20. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (290) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Truly interesting times. I see it as a crossroad for brewers, distributors, retailers and consumers alike. I would like to believe that, if anything is to happen, it will be consumer-demand driven. Hearing the accolades of BrauKunst from an old school friend Christian at Brauerei Bosch, apparently they DOUBLED attendance from last year to reach over 2000 visitors. In addition, I am reading from the industry pages that "craft beer" is definitely on their radar.

    Looking back on the resurgence of beer in the US, it was really created in the same fashion - small groups of "beer geeks" were curious and were willing to pay more than usual for non-conformist beer. Sounds like the story above...
     
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  21. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I almost fell off my chair laughing while reading this. So you mean to tell me Mr. Planck holds the beer taste of Japanese (or let's say Americans) in higher regard than his compatriots? Maybe there is no hope here. Wrong. There is hope, and BKL demonstrates that there's at least over 5,000 people yearning for something other than bland beer (Planck should've gone to BKL, for he doesn't make bland beer.)
     
  22. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I know :p But at least I bring crates of beer, don't I ? :)
     
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  23. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    YEP, he does, and he's sweet and loveable, though he probably doesn't want that part to get out and ruin his crusty reputation. And I've seen growth, for he even liked the Nutella Stout. ;)
     
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  24. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Glad to amuse :) :p

    I meant to tell that he seemed to feel uncomfortable with my question. I'm not planning to let him off the hook that easy, I will ask this again next time I meet him face to face. He just happens to have success over there doing what he does anyways and he's riding the wave and enjoying it. I don't blame him at all. The number of Japanese tourists you meet in the streets of Laaber these days is mind boggling.
     
  25. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Do I really have a crusty reputation around here ? o_O
     
  26. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I agree completely. This from BKL's website:

    I try to imagine lebendigen, weltoffenen, experimentierfreudigen Neuen Deutschen Bierkultur. (lively, cosmopolitan, enjoys experimenting new German beer culture.) and Stahlsturm in the same sentence. :p
     
  27. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Not happenin'.... *gnarl*
     
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  28. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (290) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    You just did it.
     
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,003) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Hmmm...perhaps the true rebellion will be AGAINST American influence in German brewing ;)
     
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  30. jonb5

    jonb5 Savant (939) May 11, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    Not at all, it's a statistical observation and in no way meant as a criticism.
     
  31. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (290) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    I guess this brings us back to the discussion about American styles. For many there are very few true US styles, most of them being bastard sons of English styles.
     
  32. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I think of you more as a "traditionalist". A crusty, crusty traditionalist. :p
     
  33. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'm just kidding you of course Stahlsturm, I enjoy hearing the German viewpoint in these conversations and as I've said, I agree with you on many points.
     
  34. PancakeMcWaffles

    PancakeMcWaffles Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2012 Germany

    I'll have to disagree with you there!
    I and some of my friends are quite aware of what we want to drink. I don't even want to touch beer mix drinks neither do I drink much of the German Macro stuff these days. (The Moninger coffee beer was an accident, pleeeaase believe meee, I'll never do it again :D)
    I love to try new beers and experience all kinds of flavours, Cantillon (and other lambics) really caught my attention because they are so interesting flavourwise, nothing like a boring Pilsner that does not have anything exciting about it.
    But it does indeed hurt my eyes when I see younger lads in town with Beck's Green Lemon or other stuff like that :confused: Maybe they'll need some time to acknowledge good brews :D
     
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  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,736) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You stated: “ …if anything is to happen, it will be consumer-demand driven.”

    This was a crux of my first post to this thread:

    “I am not an economist but my understanding is that in a market driven economy companies will produce products to service the demand. I am assuming that the economy in Germany is a market driven economy.

    So, if the nationwide German beer consumers truly want quality, non-boring beer and are willing to pay for that quality then it is reasonable (based upon market driven economics) that some company (or companies) will step forward to service this demand. Let’s postulate a beer company called German Alps Brewing Company. They will produce high quality (and consequently more expensive) beers that they will sell and market nationwide. Maybe it would make sense for them to have a German centric portfolio of beer:”

    I also formulated a number of fundamental questions in my first post:

    It seems to me that there are a number fundamental questions that need to be resolved:

    · Is there a nationwide demand from the German beer consumers for quality, non-boring beers and is this a year round demand?
    · Are the German beer consumers nationwide willing to pay more for higher quality beer?

    · Do the German beer consumers nationwide desire a variety of quality beer?

    If the answer is yes to the above questions then:

    · Are there breweries in Germany that are willing to make these beers for the nationwide German beer consumers?
    · Are there breweries willing to make the necessary commitment from a sales and marketing perspective to handle a nationwide market?

    Do you have an opinion on any of the above questions?

    In my original post I postulated that German Alps Brewing Company would solely brew a variety of German style beers (I didn't want to intorduce the controversery of mentioning beers like IPAs, Porters, etc.).

    Cheers!
     
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  36. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (290) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Let me just give you one man's opinion on your questions, in a nutshell.

    Nationwide demand? These things always fester in small cells, beer fanatics can be anywhere, so yes.
    Pay more? Possibly. They will probably have to due to higher cost of goods.
    Desire a variety of beer? This has been the hard part in the US too. Through tastings, events and homebrewing, many have been exposed to "new" flavors. It takes time to 1) get it into people's hands 2) acquire a taste for "new".
    Willing players/brewers? By all means. They are also of a typical "bandwagon" mentality anyway.
    Sales commitment? Again, this depends on the wholesalers. As with any distributor, they will carry it if it sells, therefore the demand driven side of the equation.
     
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  37. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,003) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    From the looks of the place they just opened in Moscow (using Schulz equipment from Bamberg), looks like they will be brewing their own stuff. Now to me, THIS looks like a renaissance (even though I don't see any wooden barrels...yet) ;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  38. CoverMePorkins

    CoverMePorkins Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Delaware
    Beer Trader


    I would hope you could vs a small market in Iowa 7000km away in a town of around 100,000 people. My point of that link was all the the import beers, including Germans, along with all of the American craft you can get in small town Iowa. Find me a market in Frankfurt with 20 times the population with that kind of variety.

    Not trying to start a pissing match, just making my point.
     
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  39. CoverMePorkins

    CoverMePorkins Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    It is good. I am enjoying this thread and others here. This forum is about German beer and culture. I am just a guest living in it for a short amount of time.

    I think Germans make a great beer and the best in its style. If I want a hefe it is going to be a Weihenstephan. However, Germans do not make my favorite beers overall and I like having more choices which Germany lacks.
     
  40. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (385) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I have to say, I disagree with Stahlsturm on this one. I don't buy the argument that if you "take away all the good options and all you have are bad options!" Heidelberg is a town of 140,000 (roughly?) and in Germany but does not get Mahr's, and you can only find Schlenkerla at one place, and you can only get one or two Schneider Weisse products. Yet East Bumblef#ck Iowa (no offense) has access to them? And anyway, as Porkins points out, his list was just the German beer aisle. They'll also have American and Belgian aisles most likely. America has German covered (no pun intended) hands down in the retail side of things. I love the variety of German beers and defend it against accusations of being boring, but that variety is not reflected in the local beer store or grocery store.
     
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