Southwest Brewing News December 2011/January 2012 : Page 1
VOYAGES de : A Z E V S of LO IGOS CER T S E T BIER in BAMBERG , circa 2003 By Bill Metzger DREAMSTIME Twenty-five years ago four travelers set home in bits and pieces and, within months, forth on a voyage south of the border. forgotten. While none of the voyagers journeyed The BMW sped past and Nuco for the same reasons, each held swerved behind it and punched the two common loves: travel and accelerator. Having narrowly 100 120 80 beer. Good beer, or so they avoided the Volkswagen, 140 60 thought in those heady days the bier Bundesgenosse 160 40 launching the craft beer ratcheted the Mitsubishi revolution. Voyages of back up to 160. 180 20 Los Testigos de Cerveza “Bloody ‘ell, that 200 0 kph tells the story of how those was close!” the Brewer individuals evolved into exclaimed, looking behind one of the most well traveled again as Nuco returned to the bands of beer lovers on earth. middle lane. The Tuskafarian didn’t bother to look behind or to speak. They had been Autobahn Madness on the Autobahn for several hours and he “Look out!” yelled the Brewer, raising his had given up worrying about the high-end hands to protect himself from the rapidly vehicles flying past. After several Testigo approaching rear end of the Volkswagen. voyages, he trusted Nuco’s driving. And the Behind them, a BMW cut off their escape Brewer did have a tendency to panic. route. This was the end, the Brewer thought. Los Testigos were on the road again, this He would die in a fiery crash along with time in the middle of a seven-hour drive Nuco and the Tuskafarian, another casualty of Germany’s Autobahn delivered back See Bamberg p. 4 er e Bik Beer TIPS DREAMSTIME By Bev Blackwood II Beer lovers aren’t your ordinary travelers. And beer travelers don’t go on ordinary vacations. A beer trip, for the most part, is about discovering new beers in places you’ve never been before and expanding your knowledge of beers, brewers and breweries. If done properly, it can also bring the experience back to your friends in a far more tangible manner than an album of photos ever could. Going to a beer festival, such as the Great American Beer Festival in Denver or Oktoberfest in Munich is a very common type of beer trip, and choosing a great beer destination like Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland or San Diego is also not that unusual. More unique is the road trip that strings together a series of breweries and brewpubs along your route of travel. This requires a little more forethought INSIDE State by State News Event Calendar ...........................2 From the Editor ..........................3 Best of Show ..............................6 Business of Beer .........................7 Directories & maps ................12-15 Arkansas .......................8 Oklahoma ......................9 N Mexico/SW TX .......... 10 S California ................. 16 San Diego .................... 17 S/C Texas .................... 18 Austin ......................... 19 Nevada ........................20 N Texas ....................... 21 C Arizona ....................22 S Arizona .....................23 N Arizona ....................23 and research to pull it off. (Thankfully any Brewing News publication or www. brewingnews.com will help you find places along your route of travel.) Issues such as opening hours and tour times come into play, as well as where you’re spending the night. It’s one thing to have a sampler of five or six two-ounce pours, but quite another to have several pints and expect to safely make it another couple of hundred miles down the road. Having realistic See Trip p. 5
Bier In Bamberg, Circa 2003
Twenty-five years ago four travelers set forth on a voyage south of the border. While none of the voyagers journeyed for the same reasons, each held two common loves: travel and beer. Good beer, or so they thought in those heady days launching the craft beer revolution. Voyages of Los Testigos de Cerveza tells the story of how those individuals evolved into one of the most well traveled bands of beer lovers on earth.
“Look out!” yelled the Brewer, raising his hands to protect himself from the rapidly approaching rear end of the Volkswagen. Behind them, a BMW cut off their escape route. This was the end, the Brewer thought. He would die in a fiery crash along with Nuco and the Tuskafarian, another casualty of Germany’s Autobahn delivered back home in bits and pieces and, within months, forgotten.
The BMW sped past and Nuco swerved behind it and punched the accelerator. Having narrowly avoided the Volkswagen, the bier Bundesgenosse ratcheted the Mitsubishi back up to 160. “Bloody ‘ell, that was close!” the Brewer exclaimed, looking behind again as Nuco returned to the middle lane.
The Tuskafarian didn’t bother to look behind or to speak. They had been on the Autobahn for several hours and he had given up worrying about the high-end vehicles flying past. After several Testigo voyages, he trusted Nuco’s driving. And the Brewer did have a tendency to panic. Los Testigos were on the road again, this time in the middle of a seven-hour drive from Amsterdam to Bamberg, a small city in northern Franconia, Germany. Once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, Bamberg was the world’s rauchbier capital.
“You know they sell bier on the Autobahn,” Nuco said, once he’d slowed to a comfortable 150 km/hr.
“It probably bloody makes these drivers slow down,” the Brewer replied.
“They sell porn, too,” added the Tuskafarian. “Have you noticed that every rest stop has porn videos?”
“Could be dangerous while you’re driving at this speed,” commented the Brewer.
“The Fatnecks must be having problems procreating little Fatnecks,” said Nuco. “Maybe we can help out.”
“Fatnecks?” the Brewer inquired, glancing behind again.
“The Germans. We call them Fatnecks.
The BigGuy was traveling through Europe by train and he ran into a couple of Dutch travelers. They were complaining about the Germans, saying, ‘They come up here with all their money and their fat necks.’”
“I can understand why they say that,” said the Brewer, who had just spent a couple days in Amsterdam with a fellow Firkin brewer. His island mate had related some of the World War II atrocities committed by the Germans against the Dutch. Europe, while committed to a united future, would scarcely forget its past.
“They call you the Fatneck,” the Tuskafarian observed.
“German ancestry,” Nuco said proudly. Once past Wurzburg, the Mitsubishi storm trooper turned onto a two-lane road leading to Bamberg. The international group of traveling bier tasters had left Amsterdam before noon, but by the time they reached the two laner, it had grown dark.
“You don’t have to pass a lorry on a blind curve at night!” the Brewer exclaimed, as Nuco overtook a large, slow-moving truck.
“I can see ahead to the next car’s rear lights, which means no cars are coming,” Nuco explained. “Then, once I get in the passing lane, I keep my eyes peeled for approaching lights. It’s safe.”
“Besides, they’ll look at our license plate and think we’re Dutch,” the Tuskafarian added.
“That’s right,” Nuco said, “they’ll think the car is full of crazy Dutch soccer fans.”
“Okay, we’re here, now where do we go?” Nuco asked as the group neared the center of Bamberg.
“Don’t you have a map?” the Brewer asked.
“I thought you had one.”
“I have the CAMRA Good Beer Guide to Bavaria, but it focuses on breweries and bier, not maps.”
“I’ll remember how to get there once we get to the center,” Nuco said. ”It’s a small town.”
“Where’s the Blokester when you need him?” the Tuskafarian asked, eliciting laughs from the group. The Blokester, a notoriously disoriented Testigo, could get lost in a parking lot.
“What happened to the Blokester?” Nuco asked. The fellow Testigo was supposed to have come on the voyage.
“He booked the wrong week off from work, and when it came time to go, he was unable to get someone to take over his shift. Where are we going?” The Brewer noticed that they had just passed the same building for the second time.
“Don’t worry, I know this city,” Nuco replied.
A half hour and several trips past the centraal platz later, Nuco admitted to being lost and pulled into a parking lot abutting what looked like the center of town. Spotting a fast walking Frau, he strode up to her and in his best, university-learned Deutsch, asked directions.
“What did she say?” the Tuskafarian asked.
“She said she had to do an errand but if we waited, she’d guide us. She said it was too difficult to explain.”
Confident that three years of Deutsch and his Fatneck ancestry had navigated him through the simple conversation, Nuco settled back in the driver’s seat to wait. A short time later, the Frau reappeared and waved to them. Nuco started the Mitsubishi.
“Where do you think she’s gone?” the Brewer asked ten minutes later.
“Maybe she parked in a spot that’s hard to get out of,” Nuco suggested.
“Let’s not wait any longer, I’m thirsty,” said the Tuskafarian.
“This bier is brilliant!” Nuco exulted. He sat in front of a Spezial Lager, in a smoky cavernous dining and drinking hall. A wonderful yet subtle smoky flavor pushed through the fresh German lager, making it highly quaffable.
“Not as much smoke as I expected,” the Brewer said, smelling the bier in his stein.
“Wait ‘til we get to Schlenkerlah,” Nuco replied. “They’re the king of smoke. When do you think that waitress is going to bring our food? We’ve been waiting a while.”
“She’s slow because she’s not worried about getting a tip,” said the Tuskafarian.
“Have you been watching this feud?” Nuco said. “The guy at the table across from us wants another bier. When the waitress took their food order, he snapped at her and now she’s blacklisted him, won’t get his bier. She brought the woman her food, but she still hasn’t brought the guy his bier.”
“Wait staff has too much power,” the Brewer observed.
“I bet we get our meal before that guy gets his bier,” Nuco predicted.
On her next trip through the dining area, the waitress brought the man his bier, then proceeded to lecture him about his rude behavior. Finally, Fraulein Goldbricker brought los Testigos their meal of schwein, brot und käse, and they settled in to eat.
Schlenkerlah was easy to find on foot and los Testigos entered and took seats in a back corner of one of the famed brewery’s cavernous rooms.
In addition to serving the world’s smokiest beer, Schlenkerlah was renowned for its sheer beauty. Numerous rooms shot off the front entrance, some boasting large tables for dining and merriment, others small and cozy. Los Testigos sat where they could observe the beautiful, copper-clad service area. Behind the area, a man poured half-liter glasses from two wooden casks.
“Where’s the waitress?” Nuco asked after five minutes had passed.
“I haven’t seen one yet,” said the Tuskafarian.
“Let’s go up to the bar and order,” Nuco suggested.
The Brewer sat back, accustomed to the casual service, while the two impatient Americans strode up to the service area. Nuco ordered two rauchbiers and a bock.
“Put dat down, I bring da bier.” A waitress took the biers and followed them to the table.
“This is brilliant,” said the Brewer. The märzen-style rauchbier was smooth, malty, refreshingly clean, and bore a strong smoky flavor. The bock, a seasonal, was even better.
Schlenkerlah was hastier about closing than providing table service and los Testigos only managed to order two biers before the bar closed without warning. Retiring to their hotel, the group took advantage of their position as guests to order a last lager.
Gemütlichkeit at Greifenklau
Armed with a city map, los Testigos made straight for Br. Greifenklau the next morning.
“Not much smoke in this one,” the Brewer said, once they had reached the brewery’s pub and ordered biers.
“I don’t taste it at all,” said Nuco, looking up from the menu.
The waitress came over and politely listened to Nuco’s Deutsch, then left carrying the menus.
“What did you order?” the Brewer asked.
“Not sure,” said Nuco, “I think the big sausage plate.”
This time Nuco’s Deutsch was intelligible and soon he and the Brewer were consuming sausages and sauerkraut. Their thoughts returned to the Tuskafarian they had left behind. “Where do you think he went?” Nuco asked.
“He’s out finding himself,” said the Brewer.
“He did say he had some things to sort out, which is why he came solo on this trip,” Nuco said, “but I think he’s looking for a coffee shop. Did you see that one with the big marijuana leaf on the door when we were driving around town?”
“That wasn’t a coffee shop, they just sold paraphernalia. It’s still illegal to sell pot in Germany.”
“Maybe they’re loosening up,” said Nuco, hopefully. “Hey, today is Election Day in the U.S. In New York, there’s a candidate for Governor from the Marijuana Reform Party.”
Once they’d polished off the brats, los Testigos began poring over the street map. The waitress approached the table and Nuco managed to make small conversation with her. In the process he told her his friend was a braumeister in England. With that, the entire bar took notice and by the time they had finished their bier, the Testigo duo had been given directions to three more breweries. “Wir gehen mussen,” Nuco said, explaining that they had bier research to do. The bar patrons all laughed and raised their steins auf wiedersehen.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Bier+In+Bamberg%2C+Circa+2003/911277/91647/article.html.
Beer lovers aren’t your ordinary travelers. And beer travelers don’t go on ordinary vacations. A beer trip, for the most part, is about discovering new beers in places you’ve never been before and expanding your knowledge of beers, brewers and breweries. If done properly, it can also bring the experience back to your friends in a far more tangible manner than an album of photos ever could.
Going to a beer festival, such as the Great American Beer Festival in Denver or Oktoberfest in Munich is a very common type of beer trip, and choosing a great beer destination like Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland or San Diego is also not that unusual. More unique is the road trip that strings together a series of breweries and brewpubs along your route of travel. This requires a little more forethought and research to pull it off. (Thankfully any Brewing News publication or www.Brewingnews.com will help you find places along your route of travel.) Issues such as opening hours and tour times come into play, as well as where you’re spending the night. It’s one thing to have a sampler of five or six two-ounce pours, but quite another to have several pints and expect to safely make it another couple of hundred miles down the road. Having realistic expectations about time to get somewhere and how long you’re going to linger is very helpful when it comes to planning your travel days.
Safely enjoying your beer once you’ve found it is also a critical element of beer travel. Obviously, no one should ever drive while intoxicated or even buzzed. Public transportation or cabs become a requirement for a pub crawl or series of brewery tours that might impair your driving. Depending on the size of the city, walking between your destinations may be a viable option (and also sober you up a bit between stops.) The best way to reach far-flung brewing destinations is to have a designated driver who doesn’t mind chauffeuring you around. Regardless of how you’re getting to the beer, also remember that if you find that “perfect pint,” but can’t have more than one, a lot of brewpubs offer growlers to go, enabling you to enjoy a pint or four later when travel is no longer an issue. If you’re in a car, having an ice chest or other means of keeping beer cold makes having a nightcap back at your hotel a possibility.
Touring breweries may require a lot more effort in scheduling. Some breweries are very accustomed to the tourist trade and some, like Stone Brewing in San Diego, have become a tourist destination with its adjacent restaurant and beer garden. Even so, you do have to be present for tours at specific times, which means arrive in plenty of time so you can see the hardware. Smaller breweries can be even more of a challenge, with weekend-only tours or tours by arrangement only. This is a circumstance where research and calling ahead to make arrangements can pay off with some very memorable visits where you get some great stories told by the people most intimately familiar with the beer and company. These same people can often point you to their favorite watering holes and beer vendors where you can find more great brews.
Visiting a historic brewery far away can be the highlight of a trip overseas. Getting in may be more of a challenge though, as not every brewery caters to the beer tourist, indeed, some have no provision for visitors at all. When visiting breweries in Belgium, homebrewer Michael Heniff found, “I had to almost exclusively call to arrange a tour. A few times there were others on the tour, more often than not I was the only one - and they still gave me a tour despite being under their tour quota. What I got often varied. Anywhere from the brewmaster to just looking around on my own.” Throw in a few language barriers and you might have a real problem getting into the places you’d like to visit. The bigger the brewery, the more likely they are to have a reception center, but it’s also far more likely for the center to be a small museum with an attached retail store and pub. Some tours can also be…underwhelming. Homebrewer Scott DeWalt recalls, “When I went to Pilsner Urquell, they had tours in multiple languages. My tour guide was an ancient German who eventually told me to be quiet and quit asking questions,” Scott laughs. “The six-ounce free sample was nice.” Knowing a bit about a country’s beer culture can also be very helpful. In Germany, for instance, it’s not uncommon for all tables to be shared tables, and you could have fellow beer drinkers join you at any time. To Americans, this may seem a bit odd, but once your tablemates discover you’re enjoying beer like a true German, you’re likely in for a very fun time.
Secure Your Suds
Of course, what’s the fun in visiting exotic places if you can’t share the experience with your friends back home? If you can purchase beer to take back and share with friends, it will make an already memorable trip one heck of a party once you get home. If you’re flying, taking along a spare suitcase is about the only way to maximize your ability to return with beer. With airlines charging per bag, this can very quickly become an expensive proposition. The best suitcase for returning beer is one with impact resistant sides. However, even a hard-sided suitcase requires careful packing to ensure your liquid prizes make it safely home. Here again, towels, bubble wrap and other soft materials are your friends. Each bottle should rest in its own protective cocoon of padding. If you can hear glass on glass once the suitcase is closed, you’re asking for trouble. Keep in mind that all that liquid is also quite heavy, so dividing your beer among multiple suitcases will also avoid hefty overweight fees. If you’ve brought along clothing that can’t get beer on it, a few trash bags to protect the clothes is a good idea, but clothing also makes good padding material if used properly.
Another alternative is to ship your beer home. As long as it’s properly packed, it should survive the journey just fine, but you’ll have no control over its temperature or handling. One big problem though, is that shipping alcohol (of any sort) is problematic, regardless of the company you use. All shippers have rules about what they will ship and to whom, but they can be contradictory and tough to understand. Take a tip from the homebrewers and list what’s being shipped as “kitchen supplies” or “yeast samples,” technically accurate, and far less likely to attract attention than having “beer” on a form. Also be sure to seal whatever’s being shipped in a trash bag to prevent leaks if anything gets broken. With any shipper, a package leaking beer is sure to be confiscated or simply tossed out as undeliverable, but if it’s the U.S. Postal Service, it could also get you arrested!
Domestically, driving your own car allows you to maximize your beer hauling capability, as long as you’re properly prepared. Carrying along a few coolers is ideal, but if you can’t transport it cold, remember to bring along dark towels or other light-blocking material to protect your bounty from damaging sunlight during the daylight hours. It’s also critical to note that you shouldn’t let your beer get hot - a real danger in the summer - or freeze, if it’s the depths of winter. Keeping beer packed tightly together will improve its ability to hold a stable temperature, but once it gets warm, that will also keep it from cooling back down.
Travel adventure writer Tim Cahill once said, “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” Beer has a wonderful way of bringing people together and encouraging friendships. Careful planning and a willingness to trade miles for experiences can make any trip a great beer trip!
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Beer+Trip/911280/91647/article.html.