Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorry about slacking off.

We've been staying up late and getting up early and we haven't really done anything new.
We're now in Belgium, staying in Antwerp but today are on a day trip to Brussels. I am coming down with a bug, so I figure I won't blog much the rest of the trip. Just read the posts from 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 for an idea of what we are doing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Us at the webcam

Because it is dark and there is a Christmas market in the square, it is hard to see us. If you look in front if the Christmas tree you will see some bright spots -- including a rectangular one -- that is us with our phones and iPads turned on.

Bamberg to Düsseldorf

We took the train to Düsseldorf, then sampled some Altbier. Pictures now, words later. Today is laundry day which overrides all else.

We had a couple of beers on the train. First a collaboration between Creemore Springs Brewery (in Ontario) and Zum Schlüssel.

The some Schlenkerla Urbock to remind us of what we were leaving behind,

Uerige (as if you didn't know)

The First Uerige

Reibekuchen -- potato pancakes. Yum

A quick beer at Schlüssel

More beer at Füchschen

Razenputz schnapps. Literally "Throat Cleaner"

Füchschen Weihnachsbier -- only in bottles except Xmas eve


Kürzer comes in 20cl glasses (instead of 25cl)

Schumacher -- we completed all five breweries

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Four in Bamberg (Partial)

Our 5 liter keg of Ur Bock

Lunch At Schlenkerla

A Liefmans Glühkriek to warm up

Day Three in Bamberg -- Bockbier tasting

Cafe Abseits

Our Table

Warm up beers: Mönchsambacher Lager, Huppendorfer Vollbier

The famous Schnitzel Sandwich (XL version)

Griess (Geisfeld) Bock

Mönchambacher Christmas Bock -- a week before release

Three Pale Bocks. Huppendorfer was the favorite

Schlenkerla Ur-bock, Weyermann Willy Wonka bock and London-Bamberg Porter

Eckarts, in the middle of the river

Gänstaller Zwickpils and Eckarts house beer (middle)

Keesmann bock and Gänstaller Kellerbier at Stöhrenkeller

A delicious Panang Curry ar Stöhrenkeller  

Day Two in Bamberg: Trip to Merkendorf, Memmelsdorf and Strassgiech

For now, just pictures. Words to come later

We gathered at the ZOB (Central Bus Station) for our excursion.

The first stop was Merkendorf, home to two breweries. The first we visited was Brauerei Wagner.

They had an amazing eight beers on draft: Pils, Ungespundet, Märzen, Richard Wagner Dunkel, Pale Bock, Dark Bock, a special beer for the towns 850th anniversary and a wheat beer. All were good.

Then we moved down the street to Brauerei Hummel, which had only seven beers on draft: Pils, Kellerbier, Pale Bock, Dark Bock, Christmas Bock, Anniversary beer and a wheat beer. The Christmas bock and the kellerbier were the two favorites.

The proprietress asked us our favorites and the brought us a Mass (1 liter) of the kellerbier as a thank you.

We took the bus back to Memmelsdorf (through which we'd passed on our outbound journey) to visit one of the two breweries there. We skipped Brauerei Höhn for lack of time. We did visit Brauerei Drei Kronen...

They had three beers on draft, as their season bock had run out already. There was the Kellerpils, Stöffla -- a lightly smoked lager -- and a Lagerbier.

Stöffla and Kellerpils

Next we caught the bus to Strassgiech. If we had had time, we could have gotten off in Drosendorf for Brauerei Göller.

This is the tap room for Gänstaller Bräu. The actually brewery is in Schnaid, south of Bamberg. We started off which either his bock or kellerbier -- both of which were excellent.

Dinner followed, which for me was the Schnitzel breaded with spent grains in a beer-onion gravy.

Andy Gänstaller (the brewer/owner) proceeded to bring out samples of seven or eight of his beers in process, including an amazing "Imperial Pale Lager" that would fit in with any West Coast IPA, and a beer he brewed with De Mollen (Netherlands) and Nårke  (Sweden) that was a very dark, 10%  bottom fermented lager. Our friend Gunnar decided it was best called an "Imperial Schwarzbier" which fit is as well as any.

We had long since missed the last bus back to Bamberg, so we ordered a fleet of taxis to take us back. This was one of the better days of all the past beer trips.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Day in Bamberg

Sorry this is a bit late. Friday we had an early bus to catch and jet lag finally caught up with me. 

After checking out of Hotel Andres we headed for out new hotels, Brauerei Spezial and Brauerei Fässla. We agreed to meet in a hour at Spezial for a beer and discus the plans for the day.

I started out with the bock as I wanted to taste it with a fresh palate. I liked it better after a night's sleep. Still need to drink few more, though.

We had one person who was about to arrive so we had another beer while waiting for him. I went with the U, just beause.

When our weary traveler arrived we waked across the street to Fässla for lunch and a beer. About have had the Pils and have the Lager. Both were good, but I am still partial to the Pils. Forgot to take pictures, so you'll just have to look one of the bazillion other pictures of Fässla beer found on this site.

We decided to walk down to Mahrs and Keesmann to check out their bocks. On the way we passed the site of the former Gaststätte Wunderburg. It is now named "Moe's" and I am not sure if it is open yet, but the beer list looks to be pretty good: Fässla Pils, Huppendorfer Vollbier, Wagner (Merkendorf) Richard Wagner Dunkle (which routinely wins the European Beer Star award for it's category) Kundmüller (Weiher) Lager, another frequent Beer Star winner. Will have to check this place out.

We stopped at Keesmann first. Somewhat violating the tradition of this blog, here is the gang out front of Keesmann.


We all went with the bock, and in keeping with tradition, ordered and drank it in the Schwemme. I was very, very good -- clearly strong but not at all sweet and a nice bitter finish. It could be dangerous. 

We only had one -- it was either move inside or go across the street to Mahrs. We crossed the street

 They only had the Helles on, so we had that to start.

Stefan Michel, the brewer (and future owner) came by and chatted with us for a while. I asked about the Festtags Weisse and he said he had just bottled some. He left for a minute and came back with some bottles. "Be careful," he said, "the labels are still wet.")

You could see the beer was still foamy in the bottle, and when we opened on there was no sound -- no time for any bottle fermentation. The beer was carbonated, just not quite as much as a wheat beer usually is. This beer ranks up with Schneider Weisse and my favorite wheat beer. I wish it was available year round (and in my local).

When we finished the Festtags Weisse we noticed a new barrel being tapped. The Bock? No, the U. Oh well, another beer to drink...

After the U we asked the bartender when the Bock was coming on and he said "when people ask for." OK, we said, we'll take seven...

Mahrs bock

Huey,  Duey  and Louie
One bock was great, two would be too many so we moved on the Schlenkera were we had a bite to eat and an Eiche or two. Then some of us walked up the hill to Stöhrenkeller for a nightcap. Half had the Drei Kronen (Strassgiech) Kellerbier and the other have the Keesmann bock. All were happy with their selections.