Monday, January 12, 2015

A Franconian Foray

Not too long ago I was in Germany for BrauBeviale, a brewing industry trade show that takes place in Nürnberg and a little beer hunting in Bamberg. I also had the pleasure to tour the Weyermann Malting Co. and attend a really great party there. BrauBeviale is a nice contrast to the American Craft Brewers Conference and as you would expect, a good opportunity to discover European brewing supplies, manufactures and equipment that is not well known in the American market. There was an abundance of excellent complementary beer on the trade floor and many vendors cooked up sausages for hungry attendees.

Brewery-fresh, Self-serve Pilsner Urquell complements of the Mueller Co.

Nürnberg is an attractive town. It’s hard to believe it was so heavily bombed in WWII. Here is a good pub/brewery guide for those making the trip. Sadly the Andechs Wirtshaus at the Deutscher Kaiser hotel was closed. A real blow for me as Andechs is one of my favourite German breweries. I sure felt cheated out of a few liters which I did my best to make up for on an excellent pub crawl with Frau Lang from Rhön-MalzWe made one pub discovery - Nürnberger Alm completely by chance, just walking by and as as it turned out, they had the best selection of beer that I found in the city. The wild boar with dumpling plate I had to eat was pretty damn tasty too.

At the European Beer Star awards tasting

Bamberg, with it’s World-Heritage city center was all I hoped it would be and more. Drinking Rauchbier (smoked beer) at the source is really the only way to experience it at it’s best (see an earlier post for more info). The bottles of Schlenkerla that I brought back to Bangalore were something of a disappointment. I guess it just doesn’t fare well in the bottle. The Ungespundetes (unfiltered kellerbier) at the cozy Spezial Brauerei pub on the other hand was probably my favourite and most memorable beer of the trip. Honorable mentions to Andechs Helles, Forsthaus Templin Bock - both on the Brau trade floor and Löwenbräu Weissbier at the brewery in Buttenheim. It was here that I had the pleasure to meet Hans Modschiedler - a brewmaster and early pioneer in bringing craft beer to India at the now defunct  Rockman Beer Island brewpub in Gurgaon. It’s sad this one didn’t survive. I’m sure the beers brewed by his hand were the “real deal” and quite good!

The best beer of the trip at the Special Brauerei

The original malt extract evaporator at the Weyermann Malting Co.

While it’s a little late, best wishes for a hoppy and prosperous New Year to all! My crystal ball is hinting at change, opportunity and an exciting year.

Craftworks News
  • A new batch of Stout is on-tap and this one is really tasty.
  • I’ve revamped the Golden Ale because we just don’t have the extra 4-5 days that it takes to dry-hop this beer. Rather than just try and “pull a fast one” we are calling it what it is, a new beer - Helles Ale. As the Golden was an Ale version of a Pilsner, the new beer is an Ale version of a Helles (German for light) lager. But rest assured there is still a pretty good hop smack and it’s still finished exclusively with the best quality Czech Saaz hops.