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.
Why was Dany Prignon – the George Best of Belgian brewing, its Richard Feynman, its Doctor Who, if you will – enquiring after my drinking habits?
Whereas Belgian beer embodies the togetherness-in-diversity of the national football team, German beers assert their regionalism with all the heat and aggression of a local derby.