Friday, October 29, 2010

Walking around Berlin -- Part 1

Our main goal was to find draft Berliner Weisse. In this, we failed. But we visited a few nice pubs and a bunch of brewpubs and got to see some of the city, so overall it was a good day.

We started in the Nikolaisviertal on the advice of a friend who in the past spent lots of time in Berlin. First up was Zu Letzten Instanz -- which claims to be the oldest pub in Berlin. It certainly looked the part. No draft Berliner Weisse but some beers to try anyway.

We had a Schultheiss Pils, Kindl Jubäliums Pils and a Märkische Landmann (Dunkel). All were fine but not terribly interesting. The Landmann was the best of the bunch.

Just about around the corner was Georgbräu, a brewpubs along the river. Two beers, Hell and Dunkel. The Hell was Ok but the Dunkel was foul, nasty, infected and undrinkable. The smell alone was almost cause me to lose my lunch. Needless to say, we didn't stay long.

Next on the list was Zum Nussbaum, another quaint old pub. We had a Potsdammer Rex Pils (Brewed by Kindl) a Kindl Pils and a Kindl Bockthe Pils were ordinary but the bock was quite nice

We had one other place to check out -- the Alt Berliner Weissbier Stube but no draft Berliner Weisse and all the other beers we'd had so it was off to Alexanderplatz to find another brewpub. Along the way we saw a bunch of one man walking Bratwurst stands. I'm not sure I'd want to walk around with a propane pipe between my legs.

We soon found Brauhaus Mitte, a gait restaurant and brewery and surprise surprise they had four draft beers: Hell, Dunkel, Weizen and a Festbier. We skipped the Weizen for the first round.

All were decent, but the fest was too sweet. We had found enough of these overly sweet beer to think maybe it was a feature not a bug -- that must be what the locals liked. We decide to try the Weizen and it was OK but nothing special.

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Leipzig -- Brauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof

We hopped on a tram to Bayernplatz where Leipzig's original train station the Bayerischer Bahnhof is. The old terminal building is now a brewery and restaurant and one of the two Gose producers in town.

They also brew the usual brewpub beers but we came to Leipzig for Gose and so Gose we ordered. As it had been the night before, it was not as sour as the Döllnitzer but was more drinkable -- especially if consuming mass quantities (which we didn't).

The brew house came from Kaspar Schulz in Bamberg and there were stacks of Weyermann malt, so there is a Bamberg connection.

There was nobody around but one kettle looking to be partially full of wort -- maybe they were letting it sour? It makes a good story so I'll go with it whether true or not.

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Walking around Leipzig -- disappointment

Directly across from the Thomaskirche is a brewpub, not surprisingly named Brauhaus an der Thomaskirche. They brew the standard German brewpub beers -- Hell and Dunkel (pale and dark). They also had a bockbier. All were drinkable but under attenuated -- that is, not completely fermented, leaving them a cloyingly sweet. The bock was especially so and could probably used another month of lagering.

We headed next for the new Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) which conveniently has a pub in the basement, the Ratskeller. I had a report that they seved one of the local beers (Reudnitzer) but instead of the beer hall we expected it was more of a fine dining restaurant. But by then we had been seated and order a small beer each to be polite. They were the same as what we'd had the night before at Barthells Hof and frankly, we didn't finish them.

So we headed for the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) where there was also supposed to be a restaurant that served Reudnitzer. But they to only served Krostitzer and other Radelberger beers.

So we gave up and decide to head to Brauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof, one of the Gose breweries in town.

There are two breweries in Leipzig and in all our walking we didn't see signs for either of them. We saw lots of Kölsch -- Früh, Gaffel and Sion and lots of National brands but no local beer except the Gose pubs we visited.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leipzig -- Thomaskirche

Warning -- another non-beer post. I'll try not to make a habit of these.

Long before I ever heard of Gosebier, I've wanted to visit Leipzig. In college I took a number of music course as electives and one of the professors had recently spent a year in Leipzig (1970-71). She was a specialist in Bach choral works so it was a good place to be. She was forever talking about the Thomaskirche (where Bach spent the bulk of his professional life) and how great the acoustics were. It was also a great way to waste time in class -- somehow work the discussion around to Leipzig and she'd talk for 10 minutes until she realized we were just trying to "run out the clock" on the class :)

So just some pictures for now...

There was a small service going on when entered. The members were singing hymns and although there weren't many of them, their voices filled the church.

This is just part of the ceiling. If there hadn't been a service going on I would have tried to take multiple pictures and make a panorama

And to work in beer slightly -- across from the church is a brewpub: Brauhaus and der Thomaskirche.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking around Leipzig -- Sinfonie

We headed for a highly recommended pub, Sinfonie.

They still use old (ex-DDR?) symbols on the traffic lights here in Leipzig. I tried to get pictures, but had no luck with my point-and-shoot camera, but there had a nice legend posted on some of posts:

After getting turned around a couple of times, we arrived at Sinfonie just after they opened.

I decided to take one for the team and order a Köstritzer, since it is a (relatively) local beer here. It did taste better than the last one I had in the US -- a bit more malt and roastiness in the finish but still that inky flavor I think comes from color beer. The Döllnitzer Gose was clearer here -- still unfiltered but almost bright. The ones at Ohne Bedenken were almost milky. Don't know if this means the kegs had settled more or what. In any case it was good.

They had another beer on the menu, Wernersgrünner Pils. So we had a small one for the table. It was very clean and soft with a nice hop bite (to our hop-deprived senses).

It was time for my Gose and we ordered a bottle of Berliner Weisse to go with it. I haven't tasted the Kindl in a while and it was not as sour and nasty (in a good way) that I remember from before. But then again, I've come to enjoy Oude Lambic so my tastes haven't been static.

A shot of the bar. This looks like a great place and I would highly recommend it to anybody visiting Leipzig.

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Location:Brandenburger Straße,Leipzig,Germany

Arrived in Leipzig

After checking in to the hotel we went walkabout...

First stop was Die Gohliser Wirtsschanke in the Gohlis district of Leipzig:

Gohliserbräu, their contract brewed helles. It was pretty nice.

They also had Früh Kolsch.

They had a Schwarzbier as well, but it was pretty bad -- so bad I forgot to take a picture.

Not far away is Ohne Bedenken, the most famous Gosebier pub in town.

The just listed "Gosebier" on the tap list, it turns out this one was from Bayerische Bahnhof...

The other draft Gose was the Döllnitzer Ritterguts (on the right below). Much more sour but less of a malt base -- the Bayerische Bahnhof was more "beer-y."

I can see why Ohne Bedenken gets such great reviews -- it is a really nice pub and the addition of Gose from two breweries makes it extra special.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel but it was early so we decided to walk around. We stopped at Barthels Hof, which had been recommended by a friend -- and had a Krostitzer (not to be confused with Köstritzer) Pils, Schwarzbier and a bland hefeweizen from Schöfferhofer (a fellow brewery of the Radelberger group). All were drinkable, but that is about the best I'd say.

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Location:Brandenburger Straße,Leipzig,Germany

Wöllnitzer (Jena) Weissbier

So we hop of the train at Jena Paradies and grab a taxi to the Talschänke in Wôllnitz. The driver takes up a large hill and drops us in front of what looks like a private house, and drives off. There is a sign that says "open daily from noon" but it looks deserted. Before we panic we walk around the side and find the pub.

Inside we order three "flavors" -- plain, with raspberry and one with caraway seed.

All three are great. I was surprised that I liked the caraway but it was quite refreshing. The base beer is sour but not painfully so.

In round two we included a Waldmeister version. The best green beer I've ever tasted.

If you find yourself near Jena, make tracks for Wöllnitz.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some non beer pictures of Bamberg

Just because...

The cathedral as viewed down one of the many alleys in the old town.

The old Synagogue on Judenstrasse -- now a Baptist church.

St Michaels Church (as seen across the Regnitz)

"Little Venice" as seen from the lower bridge.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Bock Bier (Updated)

Sorry for the lack of posting -- to me arriving in Bamberg is coming home and I've taken so many pictures before I haven't really taken many this trip.

I though I would post some pictures of some of the bock biers we've tasted, but I realized there are four with no pictures: Fässla Bambergator, Keesmann Bock, Mahrs Bock and Rossdorfer Bock from Brauerei Sauer. To much fun drinking to take pictures...

Schlenkerla Ur-Bock. By far the favorite of the group.

Klosterbräu Bock

Beck (Trabelsdorf) Affumicator. A smoked double bock that is very nice.

And while not from Bamberg, we did have an Andechers Doppelbock.

And finally, a small bit of the Schlenkerla Eiche we tasted from the lager tank town the caves beneath the brewery.

Update: The Fässla Bambergator, which at over 8% is really deadly. The other missing bocks look pretty much the same as Klosterbräu -- just picture a different logo on the glass and you'll be close.

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Location:Obere Königstraße,Bamberg,Germany