Bamberg, with eight breweries in its centre and dozens peppering the surrounding region, lives and breathes beer as if it were air. And that air carries the meaty aroma of beechwood smoke.
Wondering why Munich isn’t awash with Mango-Juice Double IPA, Espresso Coffee and Vanilla Stout, or Arugula Brett-Spiked Saison, is like complaining that the Italian Alps don’t look like the Cotswolds, or that the Vietnamese don’t eat roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
With the Oktoberfest on the horizon, I consider the birth of Mӓrzen and Hell at the festival, explore Munich beer offerings away from the Theresienwiese, and pay tribute to Georg Schneider, patron saint of Weiβbier.
The Reichsparteitage schedule of drinking, communal singing, political speeches and celebration of the Volksgemeinschaft was an amplified version of an evening in Munich’s beerhalls in the 1920s and 30s.
A Chaucerian pilgrimage to the Ales Tales Belgian Beer Festival in Bethnal Green, on which two signs are given, three poets share their wisdom, 10 ales are drunk, and one circle is closed.
With a couple of friends to lend a helping hand, brew day can be a hospitable time of aimless conversation, mutual admiration of shiny brewing equipment, and shameless indulgence in good beer, cheese and ham.
International mega-brewers acquiring craft breweries poses a substantial challenge to the concerned consumer that arguably needs to be addressed by the US Brewers' Association. With their “independent craft brewer” definition, however, and especially with their new seal, they have only compounded that challenge.
Why was Dany Prignon – the George Best of Belgian brewing, its Richard Feynman, its Doctor Who, if you will – enquiring after my drinking habits?