Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Well, it looks like I may not be posting much from London, either. The hotel's WiFi is less than dial-up speed. If it gets better I will post some pictures.

In the meantime, if you are on twitter, follow me at @FredWaltman for pictures of the beer we are drinking...

Monday, October 27, 2014


Sorry for the lack of blogging.  Most the time here was spending doing the same thing last time I was here. And the time before that. And the time before that.

We started off with a Avec les Bons Voeux at the Kulimator. The first of many of this excellent beer.

I won't go thru all the beers -- some we old favorites, some where new. The one exceptional new beer was a 40th Anniversary (of Kulimnator + Bodega) brewed by Mikkeller for Dirk and Leen. It is 16.5% alcohol had has no detectable bitterness. It was matured for a year in Château d'Yquem Sauternes barrels. It is very, very sweet but has an amazing range of aromas.

I also managed to visit a number of new (for me) places. More details on these are available at www.BeerGuideAntwerp.com

First was Bar Deco, which is about two houses down from De Kathedraal (the former Het Elfde Gebod). Inside it just looks like another Antwerp cafe but they have a good selection of lambics at very, very reasonable prices. Definitely worth a visit.

I also stopped by the new location of The Highlander. This is a "Scottish Pub" that has a good selection of distilled spirits (Whiskey and Whisky) and a passible selection of beers. It's new location is around the corner from 't Waagstuk on Staadswaag

The next place I think is fairly new, but for all I know it could have been there for years. Den Hopsack is down a little street around the corner from De Ware Jacob. It is almost totally unmarked and we walked by it without even noticing. It is listed as not opening until 8pm but it was open this Sunday afternoon. There was what looked like a Sunday afternoon jam session of Celtic musicians going on. Plus Ename Blonde on tap and a decent bottle selection.

The last new place (it has been open 10 months) is De Kafétaria, just block or so south of the Groen Plaads. It is run by a husband and wife team -- he does the beer, she does the food. We had a good Stoofvlees along with some interesting beers.

We are off to London today -- I'll try and do more up to date reporting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sticke Day

Life is much easier when we stay in Düsseldorf, but since we're in Essen it was out the door at 8:30 to pickup coffee and a pastry, buy tickets and catch the train to Düsseldorf in time for the 10:00am opening. Which we made...

When we went in, no barrel! Not to worry, the first barrel is opened in the front room and they don't open one here until later in the morning.

Soon we had our first Sticke.

It was very much drier than usual -- almost to the point of being "thin." But it did have a nice malty taste and was very drinkable. Not as much apparent bitterness as the regular Alt. The new head brewery came by and chatted for a while. He though it was about 6.4% abv.

I love the copper bar but I am glad I don't have to clean in.

Soon it was lunch time and I ordered the Königsburger Klopse -- meatballs in a white sauce with potatoes and beets. A hearty lunch.

This is the tab from the morning sessions. 24 beers, IIRC.

We all headed off to run errands (like buy mustard) but all ended up walking over to Füchschen since we hadn't been there yet. Their beer has been a bit up and down the past few years but they had it dialed in today. A bit lighter in color than I remembered but very tasty.

We next headed over to Schumacher where I had the 1838. This is a new beer that is basically a hoppier Alt. I really liked first few sips but there was some diacetyl and it built up and got more apparent as the beer warmed up. If they get it right it could be a serious challenger for my favorite Alt.

We headed back to Uerge, but stopped first at Schweine Janes for Schweine Brötchen. Gotta coat the stomach with some port fat...

While waiting outside for 5pm to roll around a storm came thru. They closed down the outside bar and everything outside except for 10 or so standing tables by the door. They let us in early since the rain was so hard.

We soon found our table...

Because of the weather, things were subdued. The room was not crowded. I think many people just stayed home because of the rain and wind.

We had a good few of the barrel...

Finally about 9pm we decided it was time to leave. We had over 100 glasses for our table with the Dutch contingent (who were staying in Amsterdam) still going strong.

Of course we stopped for a Killepitsch on the way home.

These days are much longer when we can't stay in Düsseldorf. Hopefully next year no Messe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

We Arrive in Düsseldorf -- then Essen

We are staying in Essen as there were no rooms in Düsseldorf due to a very large trade fair. But we managed to arrange a four hour layover in Düsseldorf -- cut short a bit by Deutsche Bahn running late.

Since "Sticke" is dialect for "secret" they don't advertise it. So I was relieved to see the sign when we arrived at Uerige.

We were quickly served and almost as quickly drank ig. It was as delicious as I remembered.

They opened the outside bar across the street so we moved over to a table and shortly the Frikadelle man came by.

It's a tough choose as to which I like better -- the meatball or the mustard.

After 5 beers (they are small) we headed down to Jan Wellem Platz where there is a webcam. We stood in front of it for about 10 minutes to prove to those back home we were still standing.

Then it was time for a quick beer at Schlüssel...

...and Schumacher...

...before catching our train to Essen. There is not much of a beer scene in Essen and what little there is we'll explore on Wednesday.

A Summer Day in October.

It was a glorious summer like day. We spend the afternoon in the garden at Greifenklau and at Spezial Keller and then a great dinner at Brauerei Spezial.

Today is a travel day, so just pictures for now...

The brewery sign at Spezial

Greifenklau Lagerbier


Greifenklau Rauchbier

Spezial at the keller

View from Spezial Keller

Spezial U

Roast Venision

Spezial Märzen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Schnitzel Day

We started the day at Cafe Abseits for lunch. The appetizer was a Mönchsambacher Lager, one of my favorite beers...

Followed closely by a Schnitzel Sandwich. I went for the regular instead of the XXL as I'd be having a schnitzel for dinner as well.

Gerhard (the proprietor) brought out a bottle from a Brazilian Brewery, called Bamberg (Cervejaria Bamberg). The brewery specializes in German styles. This one was a "Sticke" but at 8% it was more "Doppelsticke." It was right on -- maybe a tad more bitterness than the Uerige Doppelsticke but the malt profile was dead on.

Next up was a beer from Pax Bräu in the far western part of Franconia. It seemed to be Belgian Abbey style Double and was brewed with wheat malt, honey and coriander. If you drank it blind you would think it came from Belgium -- or a US brewery making a Belgian style.

Next up was the Rossdorfer Bock from Brauerei Sauer (in, as you'd expect, Rossdorf). This was on tap but Gerhard also had bottles. This was a very tasty bock -- not too sweet and very drinkable.

Cafe Abseits has new hours, they are closed between 2pm and 5pm every day except Sunday. So it was time for us to leave and head to Keesmann.

The Keesman bock has often been one of my favorites for the season. This year's was good, but a bit too sweet to make it to the top ranks.

Then it was across the street to Mahrs, where we had a reservation for dinner. We started off with the U, which was very good today.

For dinner it was the Biertreberschnitzel -- a schnitzel breaded with spent grains and an onion and beer sauce. This is basically the same recipe that used to be served at Andy Gänstaller's place in Strassgiech. The Strassgiech version was better but this one is worth having.

I had the Mahrs bock with dinner. It was good but also a bit on the sweet side. One was enough.

I love this poster Mahr's has -- "Handmade once 1670"

We headed back towards the Altstadt with a stop at Eckerts on Oberemühlbrücke where they have the Gänstaller Zwickl beer on draft.

This one was delicious and I wouldn't have minded a few more but we were sitting outside and it was getting cold, so we moved on.

Literally around the corner is Klosterbräu. I had see a few people's "trip reports" online praising the beers here. I haven't had a decent beer here in years, but in the interest of science we stopped and ordered a Schwärzla and a Braunbier.

First off, the bartender ripped me off and charged me an extra Euro, which is really adding insult to injury as Klosterbräu is already the most expensive brewery in town. In the past they have either been  a diacytal bomb or had strong soapy flavor (which is a sign of infection). These were neither, which is a good thing I guess, but neither was really drinkable with some weird flavors. Between the four of us we barley managed to finish half and just left them. 

We decided to call it a night and headed back to Spezial (where we are staying) but decided to stop a Fässla for a night cap and to rinse the awful Klosterbräu from our mouths.

The Fässla Gold PIls was wonderful -- crisp and clean and nicely hopped (for a Franconian beer) and a fitting end to a mostly good day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Visit to the 'dorfs

Merkendorf and Memmelsdorf, that is.

First stop, Brauerei Wagner in Merkendorf. Seven beers on tap

From left to right: Jubiläumsbier, Märzen, Festbier, Richard Wagner Dunkel, Weizenbier, Pils and Ungespundet. All were very good.

I went with the Pils as my second beer.

Then it was down the street to Brauerei Hummel. Their table card only listed six beers on tap but there was a seventh -- the Cowboy Schwarzbier -- just about everybody's least favorite at Hummel.

Märzen, Jubiläumsbier, Räucherla, Kellerbier, Pils, Cowboy Schwarzbier with Weizenbier in the back.

The Pils had a bit of diacetyl, the Schwarzbier a ton of it. The Jubiläumsbier was lightly smoked and my favorite of the bunch. The weizenbier was a little too sweet for most of our tastes.

Then it was back to the bus stop to take the bus back to Memmelsdorf.

First stop was Brauerei Drei Kronen where they had four beers: the usual three (Stöffla Rauchbier, KellerPils and Lager). The seasonal was a "Franconian Alt" or FrAlt.

All were good. The consensus favorite was the Keller Pils but the FrAlt got good reviews as well.

Then it was up the street to Brauerei Höhn, which had their bock bier on.

It was surprisingly drinkable for a 7.8% beer. It was one of the better beers of the day.

We then caught the bus back to Bamberg. We regrouped at Spezial then headed for Schlenkerla for a couple of Ur-Bocks, then walked up the hill to Stöhrenkeller which we had heard the Gänstaller Zwickl but that was replaced with the Keesmann Bock. The other beer was the Witzgal (Schlammersdorf) Lager -- one of my favorites so I went with that. I did taste the Keesmann bock it was very good as well.