Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bamberg: Tag Zwei!

So, let’s back up a moment… I left Zum Sternla the night before and went for a walk about before returning to the hotel. I forgot to mention that the service was excellent, and I even passed myself off as being able to speak German – if ordering beer and food off a menu counts as such. Fortunately, no one challenged me, or asked me any questions. I also met three charming young people from China, who were on their own trip through Germany – Fei Xu, Fang Han and Yuliang Huang, who spoke no German, but one of whose English was good. We struck up a conversation about world travel, beer (of course) and other things, then wished each good travels and went our own separate ways. As I wandered through the empty streets, I started to pick up the faint smell of smoke that seemed to grow stronger each block I walked. Ah! Someone was either smoking malt or mashing rauchbier! Same thing happened the next morning. I walked through different neigbourhoods and along different streets, but every now and then it was the mashing of malt that I smelt, sometimes smoky, sometimes not. This is the quintessential aroma of Bamberg! And what a lovely smell it is! So, with this in mind I made my way to the Schenklanker tied house in the middle of the old town, Restaurant Alt-Ringlein. It was 10 am and the place was packed. I found myself a seat at the end of one long table and was almost immediately joined by Ulrich, a world traveler himself and a very good conversationalist. He was just killing time before an appointment and came in for the same thing I did – the Aecht Schenklanker Rauchbier poured fresh from a wooden barrel. Oh my, I thought it was good yesterday, this was heaven in a glass! We covered the gamut of pub topics – travel, kids, divorce, collecting beer paraphernalia and then settled on the beers of Bamberg. We talked about the places I’d already been and then he told me about Greifenkläu, up on Kaulberg Hill. Bamberg is built on 7 hills you see, and I had only spent my time in the old town centre. So, up I marched past many old, beautiful churches, school children waiting at bus stops and in no time found myself at the very traditional Brauerei Gaststätte Biergarten Greifenkläu. The day was beautiful, warm sun shining and clear blue skies, so I had definitely worked up a thirst. And Ulrich was right, the Greifenklaubier was worth the walk (See Beer of the Day, Sept. 29). I wanted to stay and try the Weizen, but the clock was ticking. I had planned on visiting Fässla for a meal before my train, which everyone told me was the local favourite brewery/pub. These traditional pubs are cozy and warm, but I wanted to sit outside on such a nice day, so I wondered into the back patio and who do I run into but my Chinese friends from the night before! So, we lunched together and talked more about beer and travel. The Fässla Gold-Pils on tap was fabulous by the way. Beautiful clear, gold colour with both hop and malt prevalent in the nose, light, crisp, clean palate with good hop presence, bright white head that falls to some interesting lacing, smooth mouthfeel and a lovely dry finish. The curry-wurst wasn’t the best choice, but the Zwergla, a 6% bottled dunkel, was a good follow up. This was a malty brew, deep golden brown, with a head that faded quickly and left no lacing (dirty glass?), but some bitterness danced on the tongue and played with the maltiness, dissolving into a smooth palate, with a hint of malt sweetness before drying out. Xu, Han and Huang dashed off to catch their own train and then I was approached by Ilya from a neighbouring table, who heard us talking about beer. He was with a group of Baltic ex-pats, now living in New York, who were also on a German holiday, somewhat concentrating on beer too. I shared my two day experience with them, giving them my Bamberg beer map and a few hints on my favourite spots. It is always good to meet fellow beer geeks on the road. They wandered off and so did I, after picking up a few bottle for my hosts in Innsbruck. But Brauerei Spezial was right across the street, and I wanted one last beer there before hitting the road. Ilya was actually sitting there when I arrived. The pub has 6 beers on tap and 3 specials in the bottle, the brewery is in the back. I had already tried the local favourite Rauchbier, so opted for the Ungespundetes, an unfiltered, naturally carbonated Kellerbier. I was not disappointed. Pale gold, falling head, fully flavoured, poured from a wood barrel, lace following to the bottom of the glass – oh yes, a very good pint! Ilya and I wished each other well (again), I grabbed some bottles of Rauchbier for my Innsbruck-bound stash and raced up to the train station. But trains were running late that day, if you can believe it. So, half lit, I found myself doing something I thought I’d never do – I bought a beer at the station store – a Bavarian Mönchshof Kellerbier Dunkel (5.4%) and sat on the platform with a bag of chips and waited for the train. At least it was a swing-top, so I was able to nurse it all the way to Nürnberg .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bamberg - Germany's Beer Paradise

Oh my god! This town has it all! It is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site and probably one of the most beautiful old cities in Germany, if not Europe. It also has the most traditional and varied beer in terms of styles available. Bamberg brewers are not afraid to push the envelope, and as this is the home of bottom fermentation, so the standards are high. For a population of 70,000, they are served by 11 breweries, making as many as 50 different brews. The old town is situated between two legs of the River Regnitz and was first established as a fort around 902. It really started to come into its own under the patronage of Emperor Henry II in 1007, at which time trade grew and many churches, monasteries and a cathedral were built. Many of the brewery/brewpubs have long and storied histories. I started my exploration of the town and its beers at the Klosterbräu Brauerei Gaststätte, established in 1533. They have 4 beers always on tap and 3 rotating seasonal bocks. Their Klosterbräu Braunbier (5.7%) is a gorgeous clear, golden brown colour with a tight white head that leaves no real lacing, but slowly slides down with each sip, fully hugging the sides of the glass. There is some fresh malt sweetness in the nose and on the tongue that falls away into a perfect balance with a light and even mouthfeel and a clean, dry finish. I believe they are famous for their Bamberger Klosterbräu Pils (4.9%). A fresh herbal aroma leads the drinker to a subtle hop bite that melts into a balanced bitterness that sits wonderfully on the malt base. It is clear pale gold in colour, has a light, white, tight head and seems a medium bodied brew, but is lighter on the palate, the hop freshness dancing on the tongue with every sip. Again the lace follows the beer to the bottom of the glass, ending in a simple but wonderfully dry finish.
I moved on down the street and around a few corners - nothing is very far from each other here - to the Zum Kachelofen Franiscles Gasthaus, where they boast 5 beers on tap and 3 specialties in the bottle. Here, with a traditional Frankish meal of crusted smoked pork belly and potato dumplings swimming in 'au jus', I went for the Bräuerei Heller famous Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier on tap (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 28). Simply divine! What could follow better than the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen (5.2%). This one was in the bottle, unfiltered with some haze, it is light amber, has a subtler smokiness than it's brother brew, aroma wise and presents notes of citrus and wheat that sneaks through the smoke, has a nice head that falls to lacing well, has a smooth palate and an excellent balance, some malty sweetness drying out a the nice long finish. Across the street was the Ambräusianum brewpub, and though a beautiful room, featuring their copper tanks right in the middle, I had the feeling they were the new kid on the block. I tried the 'Bier Probe' taster tray of their 3 products: Hell - pale straw, hazy, light, good balance; Weizen - cloudy amber, some spiciness, wheaty palate, heavy lacing and Dunkel - dark amber, burnt malt nose, hints of smoke. Overall OK beers.
One does not have to go far, around every corner there seemed to be a cafe, restaurant or bar, all serving some beers of the region. After a well needed rest, I went out for dinner at Zum Sternla, a traditional cozy little neighbourhood pub offering simple but tasty and very reasonably priced traditional fare. They had 8 taps, serving various Bamberg brews. I started with the Huppendorferbier, a dark, amber/gold malty lager, flowery hop nose, smooth balance palate with a light malt accent, bright on the tongue and a long, slight, malty finish. I finished up the evening with the other smoked beer in town, Spezial Rauchbier. Light hint of smoke in the nose, thick moussy head, a delicate smokiness that mellows onto the palate, hinting of wood, but nicely balanced, not overpowering, golden auburn colour, some lacing, smooth velvety mouthfeel. An excellent accompaniment to my 'wurst' dinner special. So many beers, so little time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stuttgart, Baden-Wuttemberg, Germany

Stuttgart is the home to Bosch, Porsche and Daimler and therefore very modern by European standards. Founded in 950 as a stud farm for the local nobility, it only became an actual town in the 11th century. It is not a pretty city, history over the years having ravaging its charm, but someone should have asked the city planners in the modern era, what the hell were thinking. It is a hodge-podge of baffling streets, a confusing subway system and a general population that is not helpful. Street numbers bare no relation to those on the opposite side, and some even have the same name, though they go off in perpendicular directions. The countryside surrounding the city is actually beautifully manicured into terraced vineyards, for this is a famous wine growing region. It is also home to Germany's second largest 'Volkfest' and beer festival, but after my experience in Munich, I decline to visit the fair grounds and instead searched out pubs and restaurants in the city in order to get a real taste of Stuutgart. Dinkelacker–Schwaben AG and Stuttgarter Hofbrau are the major players here, but there are also a few pubs that brew their own.
My first stop was the Hacienda Tu 8, a very dark, large basement bar/restaurant below an ice cream store, featuring a Mexican menu and three beers from the Stuttgarter Hofbrau. They had a Helles and a Schwarzebier, but I opted for the Keller Pils. Just so happened I was there at happy hour, so two glasses arrived in front of me, which was a good thing, as I was thirty from my walkabout finding a hotel for the night. It was tasty with a fresh nose, moussy white head, that produced great lacing and was a slightly hazy straw colour. It was nicely balanced with a few citric notes, light in body, sparkling on the palate with a refreshing finish. I would have stayed for another, but I had my heart (and stomach) set on the Brauerei Gaststatte Dinkelacker. They had 6 beers on tap, plus their special ‘Volksfestbier’, as well as 9 bottles. I started with the Cluss Keller Pils. I'm really getting to like these naturally carbonated and aged cellar brews, and I was not disappointed. It exhibited an herbal nose with some buried fruitiness, hazy pale yellow colour and loose lacing from the porous white head. A velvety mouthfeel lead to a good balanced palate with a slightly sweet malt presence and a light finish. This went very well with the three course Volksfest meal I ordered, starting with a delicious mushroom soup and the odd bacon and peppercorn laced expresso cup of grease (presumably to spread on the bread provided). Next came the Schawben Brau das Schwarze. It was almost black with some burgundy hues and served in a beautiful tall stemmed glass, with a tan coloured head, fresh aroma and a surprisingly light flavour for such a deep, dark brew. It has a well balanced, malt accented palate, with some roastiness prevalent, tones of black malt bitterness in the finish, but not overpowering. This went very well with the onion and gravy smothered ‘wurst’ course, served with a lovely vinegar tinged side of cold potatoes and cucumbers. Yummy! By now I was hoping for some hops, so finished my meal there with what might be considered their flagship beer, Dinkelacker CD – Pils. Big, rocky, frothy head with some hop notes (at last!), clear pale gold colour with an initial crisp bite that mellows into an understated bitterness balanced against a smooth malty character finishing pleasantly dry. I do recommend this place, and it just so happened to be the tap room for the giant brewery in behind. As I left the restaurant, the wonderful aroma of the brewers art filled the air. The musty smell of malt mashing was everywhere in the city centre. Losing my way back to the hotel, I stumbled upon Sophie’s Brauhaus, and followed the art deco themed art work up a set of stairs to this second floor brewpub. There I found a large, rambling room with a number of small copper tanks in one corner. OK, time for a night cap. I choose their Schwarzbier, very black with a creamy tan head, with not much in the way of aroma, but with a brightness on the tongue that trickles down to a very smooth palate, notes of black malt with enough hop to dry out the finish nicely.
Thank goodness the places I visited were not full of drunken tourists. That experience was for those who wandered out to the fair grounds and into the big beer tents. I enjoyed walking through the quiet of the after-hours city centre, with its pedestrian walkways surrounded by modern glass and steel shopping malls and tall office buildings. It was a nice change, but I think I’m ready for more cobblestone and tiny, winding alleys.

The Real Munich

Munich was founded in 1158 on the banks of the Isar river, in what is now Bavaria. By 1487, it had established its own Beer Purity Law almost 30 years ahead of King Ludwig's Reinheitsgebot. Such was the start of a grand brewing tradition. The styles most popular and prevalent in Munich are Pils, Helles, Weizen and Export, with a few specialties and seasonals thrown in here and there for good measure. By 1860 there were 18 breweries in Munich producing 800,000 hectoliters a year. By 2001, 9 bigger players produced more than 5,500,000 hectoliters, though there still are approximately 18 breweries in the general vicinity of the city. Like anywhere these days, bigger fish gobble up the small fish, but the beer still flows.
There are some tasty beers to be found in Munich's many large and small beerhalls and brewpubs. One just needs to seek out these places outside of the time frame of Oktoberfest in order to appreciate them properly, or at least start earlier in the day, before the crowds descend. One such place is Ayingers Speis und Trank, a much more civilized pub than its neighbour, the Hofbräuhaus, just across the square. They boast six beers on tap, plus their special Oktoberfest, all made in Aying, in the north part of the city. Their Pils is excellent - light, clean and refreshing, with a nice hop nose, pale gold colour, a balanced hop bitter palate, very effervescant, strong legs and a crisp, dry finish. Also excellent is the Kellerbier, an unfiltered, naturally carbonated and cellar-aged treat. A hazy, pale yellow colour, with a malt accented nose and palate, fully flavourful and well balanced, with some hints of hop and fruitiness. Their Altbier Dunkel is also very tasty. It has creamy head that leaves good lacing. It is full bodied with a malty aroma, velvety smooth mouthfeel, well rounded fruity palate with notes of roasted malt and is clear, but auburn brown in colour. We lunched on the local sausages and sauerkraut, watching a team of dray horses pull a wagon of wooden beer barrels through the square.
The other great pub we visited was Der Pschorr, a lovely and large wood floored room near the Viktualien Markt. Here they served Hacker-Pschorr Edelhell, a special lager aged and served in oak barrels on ice. Beautifully clean and clear straw yellow in colour, brilliant white head and loose lacing with a bright mouthfeel, especially on the tip of your tongue. Well balanced with subtle hints of apple and wood and a long, lovingly dry finish. The Export Dunkel offered up some tinges of sourness in its aroma, that translated into a malty palate hinting of dried fruit with some caramel and roasted malt tones that spread over your entire tongue. Deep, clear brown with ruby hues and a white head that leaves little to no lacing, but remains on the beers surface to the bottom of the glass. This medium bodied brew has some sweetness in its long,lingering finish. I do wish there was more time (and less crowds) to visit many of the other fine establishments in this great beer city. Next time...

Down from the mountains and into the fray - Oktoberfest in Munich

The train out of Innsbruck was, of course, on time as I shuttled through the mountains in the pouring rain and fog towards Bavaria. It was quiet, only myself and one older gentlemen with his feet up gently snoring a few rows back. But as soon as we crossed into Germany, stop by stop, the train filled up with liederhosen and dirndl wearing party-goers, each with a beer or two in hand, the sound of caps popping and bottles clinking 'prost'! By the time we hit Munich’s main train station, there was a sea of slightly inebriated, happy Oktoberfesters splilling out and onto the streets. I would like to thank my Four Canadian Sirens of Oktoberfest - Jess, Jenn, Leslie and KJ for convincing me to come, for meeting me at the Metro station and then whisking me off directly to the fair grounds. The rain was a light sprinkle by then, but the grounds were easy to find, just follow the throngs of traditionally dressed party goers! The first thing we saw was some poor young woman, barefoot and very drunk, puking her guts out at the front entrance gate. It was 11 am! Welcome to Oktoberfest! Much like any fall fair, there are rides, fast food, souvenir trinkets and an atmosphere of celebration, but most people are here for the beer. Six giant breweries of Munich dominate this festival: Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Spaten, Augustiner, Lowenbrau, Paulaner - and each has several huge tents situated around the fair grounds, where one can wait for hours in order to gain admission. Once inside, however, the party begins. Beers are served only in one liter ceramic or glass steins at 9 Euros a pop, with the wait staff generally tipping themselves a Euro if you hand them a ten without asking. The beer tends to be the special Oktoberfest varieties made for the event. After one of these it is not hard to join right in with the singing, dancing, music, eating and generally merriment of the exuberant and tipsy participants. After two or three though, well, you are on your own! In reality, Oktoberfest is a beer soaked spectacle of surreal proportions. The crowds on the grounds are thick and drunk - this is especially true on the weekends. I understand the weekdays are a little more civilized. Still, for a festival of this magnitude, there were surprisingly few garbage cans on the grounds, never mind recycling bins. Many people bring their own bought beers too, so along with the puke and debris strewn everywhere, there are broken beer bottles and shards of glass from attempted stolen steins. The party spills out into the city centre when the tents close at 10 pm. Last Saturday there was a near riot, as police stormed the grounds to break up fights, cart off passed out revelers on stretchers and clear the grounds. Meanwhile, if you did not have reservations or tickets to the many events at the many beerhalls, then you were on the streets drinking or in the metro with the singing, inebriated throngs of foreigners and locals who carried on partying regardless. Unable to gain entrance to any of the popular places, Leslie, Jenn and I, with two other Calgarians in tow, Sandra and Cody, managed to slip down a side alley and up a few flights of stairs to find a local haunt virtually unknown to tourists. Though busy, the service was friendly, the food great, the music cool and the Austrian Blau Zweigelt red wine was just the thing to top off our night.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Austrian Beers and Innsbruck Bars

Despite the overwhelming dominance of the big breweries in the Austrian market place, and a slew of German products also available, one can still find some unique beers in Innsbruck’s supermarkets.
One of the more interesting finds is MacQueen’s Nessie, subtitled ‘Whisky Malt Red Beer’ (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 15). From the Schlossbrauerei Eggenberg, this beer is packaged in a tall 330 ml long-neck bottle to showcase its difference. Though only 5%, it is big in flavour, but not actually whiskey- flavoured like some beers aged in whiskey casks, but more like a Trois Pistoles (Unibruoue), whose character is derived from the special malts used in the grain bill. They use Scottish highland whiskey malt and age the brew for two full months before bottling. This brewery also makes the legendary Samichaus, once considered one of the strongest beers in the world. Another high end beer Schlossbrauerei Eggenberg makes is the very malty and fantastic Urbock 23°, as in 23 degress plato or 9.6% alc/vol (see Beer of the day, Sept. 22). This beer will knock your socks off, so well balanced and deceivingly delicious that it hides its strength very well. It is aged for 9 months in their ancient cellars turning this ‘cognac of beers’ a deeply amber tinted ambrosia. Schremer Brauerei from Schrems, Austria makes a rye beer known as Roggen Bio Beer. Very dry with an intense earthy quality and a hazy-dusky amber hue, this is a top-fermented specialty, full bodied with some initial fruitiness, but underpinned by enough hops to produce a long, lingering aftertaste.
The flagship brew of the Kostritzer Schwarzbier Brauerei is the very dark and drinkable Kostritzer Schwarzbier. At 4.8%, this beer is a deep brown-burgundy colour, with a big-bubbled tan head that produces loose lacing on the glass. It has a pretty neutral nose, but with some subtle fruitiness detectable in the palate, a smooth and almost creamy mouthfeel with some hoppiness producing a nice dry finish.
Another interesting and tasty beer available throughout Innsbruck (though from Hauzenberg in Germany) is Apostelbrau’s Dinkel (naturtrub) Bier, a bottle-conditioned specialty using the ancient variety of wheat known as ‘spelt’ to enhance its delectable flavour profile. This is a delicious brew, very wheaty in aroma and hazy, pale straw in colour. It exhibits some citric fruitiness, but is overall very well balanced and fully flavourful, with hints of wheat malt, herb and some hidden hop. Malt sweetness on the palate, dries out to a lovely, long finish.
All of the above beers come in small 330 ml bottles, as opposed to almost ubiquitous ½ liter bottles used by all the major players. The big breweries often sell their products in large, returnable hard-plastic cases for ease of stacking and transport.

There are two decent beer bars in downtown Innsbruck whether you are a draft-slayer or a bottle-stalker. The first is the Restaurant Krahvogel (Raven), a great place to stop for lunch, with a fine secluded patio in the back, and just a few hundred meters from the centre of town. They have 10 beers on draft and about 8 bottled varieties. I started with the Mohren Bräu, a light, pale yellow thirst quencher on tap, featuring a frothy head, a fruity nose, some hop presence on the palate with an effervescent and pleasantly dry finish. I ordered the vegetarian curry lunch special, so went for a hoppy pils next. Grieskirchner Pils, winner of the Goldenen DLG Preis 2008, comes in a beautiful tall 500 ml glass, with the name embossed vertically. (See Beer of the Day, Sept. 22) This beer was the perfect accompaniment to the curry, which was served with homemade chipatis and a deliciously warm, sweet chutney that had more than a hint of heat to it. I finished up with a taste of Zwickl, an unfiltered spezial. Very pale, almost straw coloured, with a cloudy haze, thick mousse head that sits on top of the beer and follows it right to the bottom of the stein. An initial citric bite eases into a medium bodied maltiness, creamy mouthfeel and a slight lemony finish.
Their bottle list went from the mundane (Heineken, Corona, Becks) to a little more adventurous (Aventinus Schneider Weisse, real Czech Budvar, Fransizkaner Dunkel Weisse) and a couple of oddities, including the ‘joke’ beer Duff, that I’ve seen in a few places, plus some non-alcoholic brews. This restaurant enjoys a good reputation, plays cool music and serves a hip downtown lunch crowd.
The other decent beer bar right in the centre of the old quarter is called Elferhaus (Eleventh House) where the focus is bottled beer. They have a fine selection of bottled Austrian brews that include Eggenberger Urbock, Murauer Maerzen, Mohren Pfiff, Starenberger Schlossbrau and three from Hirterl, to name a few. The Hirter Morchl is a fine dunkel from Karnten. (See Beer of the Day, Sept. 21)
Their international selections were about 20, ranging from Lindeman’s Kriek, Framboise and Peche, Chimay Grand Reserve, EKU 28, Lapin Kulta (the golden beer of Lapland) and Aventinous Schneider Weisse to the more ordinary, which included Duff once again and Desparadoes (a tequila infused beer I keep running into everywhere I go). Their drafts list is not long, but includes Weiselburger, Gösser Zwickl, Francizkaner Weiss and Kaiser Doppel Malz, plus an Oktoberfest special from Spaten. They also pour an Austrian version of a black and tan, mixing Weiselburger and the Doppel Malz, something they call Diesel.
This is a long and deep wood-paneled room, displaying many old metal stamped plates from breweries of old and beers gone by. This funky old town hangout probably gets going when the tourists go to bed.

There is one privately-owned craft brewer in Innsbruck, Tiroler Bier. Brewmaster Harald Buamgartner has an unusual set-up out on the edge of the city. This one man operation not only produces a fine naturally carbonated brew in returnable swing-top bottles, but he is also a distiller of some local renown, making and selling his 4 year old, French oak-aged single malt whiskey in unique, square ½ liter bottles. His products are only available at his production facility and at a few selected locations on tap in Innsbruck and in 1 liter swing-top bottles and 2 liter growlers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In the Austrian Alps

Please excuse my absence these last few days, beer readers, your humble `Beerspondent` has been high in the Austrian Alps on the alpine trails, participating in what is part of every Austrian`s life - mountain hiking. I would like to thank my hosts in Innsbruck, Claudia and Marc, not only for their generous hospitality, but for inviting me on this amazing experience. Joined by friends from Amsterdam, Ulli and Eddi, the five of us jumped on a local train for a 35 minute ride to the border town of Scharnitz (964 m), near Germany. This is where the Alpenpark Karwendel begins. Our destination on Day One was a guest house some 20 kilometers into the park, via a gently rising trail, perched high on a rocky outcropping. There are many trails in this park, some to perilous peaks for hikers, some around stunning valley vistas for mountain bikers, always past free flowing clear mountain springs and up incredible rocky landscapes. Situated throughout this large national park are `hütten´ and `almen´, traditional huts and farmhouses, once used for shelter and farmer´s summer residences, now places of refreshment and overnight stays for the backpacking crowds. The Karwendelhaus is located at 1771 meters above sea level, and provides a cozy resting place for day trips or overnight stays. The cuisine is traditional Austrian fare and the beer is refreshing. After our 5 hour hike, the last 2 kilometers being quite steep, it was an absolute pleasure to sit down to a tall glass of Franziskaner Weissbier on tap (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 17). It was the best beer ever! That day... They also have a very tasty Gösser Dunkel on tap, a dark, reddish brown beer with a big, malty nose and a smooth mouthfeel, a well balanced palate, somewhat nutty with hints of roasted malt and a dry, chocolately finish. I don`t know about the others, but after a few of these beers, I slept like the dead!
The next day saw us scrambling through a variety of every changing and challenging landscapes - down into lush, green valleys, up winding mountain goat paths, over enormous scree fields, through hillsides thick with Larchen trees, past working farmer´s alms (now closed for the winter) and over vast alpine meadows where mountain goats graze. The rugged majesty of this beautiful landscape was not lost even in the ever shifting cloud and fog that seemed to shadow our journey. We lunched at our midway point, the quaint mountaintop Falkenhütte (1848 m), where we enjoyed a traditional knödel soup and a delicious, tall cold glass of Kaiser Märzen, fresh on tap. Made by Hofbräu Kaltenhausen, a subsidiary of Bräu Union, this standard märzen has some hop aroma, a sweetish palate, with subtle notes of butter and a drying hoppiness in the finish. It is pale gold in colour, with a light, quickly dissolving head. The best beer ever! Well, at that moment anyway... We then traversed across another rock strewn valley and started our descent into Eng (1227 m), a touristy, yet traditional Tyrolian village featuring their own cow herd, a cheese maker and a couple of 4 star hotels. Our stop for the night was actually still up hill another hour at the small, but unique Binsalm at 1502 meters. What greeted us there was a packed house of German hikers, complete with accordian player and full sing-a-long tables. The food was great, especially the house spatz´ln made with the local Eng cheese. Also good was the Holzkirchner Oberbräu Weisse Dunkel (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 18). This was an even longer day for our intrepid beerspondent, so after sampling the Weisse Helles and the Pils from the same German brewery, it was time for bed.
Awake the next morning after an ice cold shower and with aching muscles, we marched almost straight up a trail that looked like the craggy slopes of Mordor, shrouded in fog, slippery wet from the night´s rain and no wider than a goats two hooves. This was the hardest and scariest hour of climbing we did all weekend. But just as faith and confidence were about to fail, we reached the peak and broke out into a sun-drenched alpine meadow at the Gramai Sattel (1903 m)- "Shangra-la!" I cried, and it was all down hill from there. We descended through lush landscape and cascading waterfalls into Gramai (1263 m), our final destination, where hikers and bus-transported day-trippers packed the terraces drinking Zipfer (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 19) and munching on local sausage, cheese and bread. It was only an hour back to Innsbruck by car, but after 15 hours of hiking, 3635 meters up and down and 50 kilometers as the crow flies, it was a journey I´ll remember for a long time to come.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Innsbruck, Austria

Time to catch up...
A few days back my fellow beer hunter and Tripel tippler Paul headed home to Canada and I jumped on an Innsbruck-bound train - via Cologne and Munich. I was kind of hoping to taste a fresh glass of kolsch whilst transferring trains in Cologne and perhaps something unique in Munich as well, but it was not to be. The train systems here are so efficient and on time, that I had only about 15 minutes in each station to find the next platform and board.
So, something about the Austrian beer scene...
There are more than 180 breweries operating in Austria, though Brau Union AG dominates the market with a 56% share, and together with four other large players control 83% of the market and have national distribution. There are many other local, well established breweries that provide their products only to their own regions, but in the last decade many new microbreweries have popped up and many brewpubs as well. There are no Reinheitsgebot laws like Germany, though many older traditional breweries do adhere to it.
Not far from Innsbruck is Tyrol's oldest privately owned brewery Zillertal, which was established in 1500 in the market town of Zell am Ziller. They produce the wonderfully aromatic Weissebier Dunkel (5.0%). Starting with a floral and slightly citric nose and dense head, this beer is dark amber/light brown, with an unfiltered cloudiness, well balanced palate and a somewhat chocolately sweet finish. Their Maerzen (5.1%) is a popular beer in Innsbruck, light, crisp and clean, a clear pale gold colour, some definite hop character, effervescent, easy on the palate with a nice dry finish. The Schwarzes is excellent (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 12) and the 2010 vintage Gouder Bock is exceptional (see Beer of the Day, Sept. 16), brewed only once a year.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beers in Maastrict

Maastrict has a rich and storied history, this corner of Europe where Belgium, Germany and Holland meet. It’s also a great fusion pot of mixing cultures, cuisines and beer. Not long out of the Gare and just over the walking bridge on the left up Stationstraat and you find Café ‘t Potuiske. Our beer GPS seems to be working quite well this trip, just our luck, we’ve stumbled into one of the better beer bars in town. They have twelve taps and many special bottles plus seasonals. We went for the beer of the month for September, Schelde Golden Raand, a 7.5% blonde special. Beautiful gold colour, pure white head, very light on the palate, well balanced, some hop nose, mildly bitter with a long dry finish. Very tasty! The local cheese and meat plate that we ordered went extremely well. The house beer of the month was Budelse Goudblond at 6.5%. Tight white head, fresh nose, clean, light and dry on the tongue, light gold colour, well balanced, dry finish.
The Brand brewery is quite prominent in Maastrict and their beers are available everywhere. In den Ouden Vogelstruys serves up the whole line, where we tried Brand Imperator. A heads up malt nose prepares the palate - golden copper, tight head, smooth middle, big dollops of malt sweetness lingers leisurely into the finish. Brand Oud Bruin was not sour at all, but instead a full bodied, chocolate/black malt accented sipper. Fruity aromas, tight auburn head with enough hop to dry out the finish. Another local favourite, especially in the summer, would be Wieckse Witte, 5%. Light, pleasant white beer, originally locally made by Ridder, easy to drink, very clean, big head with some citric notes.
Trying the local cuisine is a must in Maastrict, so we supped on schnitzel and salmon on the excellent terrace of the Hotel de la Bourse on the Markt Square. This café carries an amazing array of wonderful brews too, 10 taps and many specialty bottles. Extra special instead of dessert was Straffe Hendrik Tripel and Kasteel Bruin. The tripel is from De Halve Maan in Brugges [see Beer of the Day, Sept 9]. What a wonderful beer, but so too Kasteel Bruin, though not so subtle at 11% as opposed to Straffe Hendrik’s hidden 9%. Brewed by Van Honsebrauck, this is a big, full-bodied bruin, dark malt aroma swirls around a caramel coloured head, fruity malt palate, notes of toffee and chocolate, very smooth for a beer of this strength, sweet malt finish.
We managed to visit Falstaff on our way out of town. This lovely little modern café has a large terrace on a small square and some nice beers on tap with a large Trappist/Abbey section in the fridge. So, for breakfast then, it was a bottle of Holland’s Gulpener Dort. Lovely light-brown hued brew, some fruity fresh aroma, thick white head, malty middle and a drying finish.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pub Crawl in Amsterdam (Tues/Wed)

The trip from Brussels to Amsterdam is pretty quick, especially if you take the hi-speed train. So it was early afternoon by the time we found ourselves on the Leidersplein. Like Brussels, there are pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants everywhere you turn, especially in the city centre and its environs. The square was full of people coming and going or just relaxing. We settled into a terrace and ordered a Hertog Jan Weizener and Saison 1900 from the taps at 3 Sisters. The wheat beer had a lovely, rocky head, was appropriately cloudy, but dark amber in colour with subdued tones of banana and cloves and a pleasant tart finish. Very drinkable. The saison exhibited a fresh nose, nice mousse head, clear amber hue, fruity palate, well balanced with a base of hop and a very dry finish.
After getting our bearings, we found ourselves at Café Brecht. A casual, yet comfortable little room with an eclectic décor and cool music, they also cater to beer lovers, sporting a regular menu of at least 24 selected bottles, plus 4 taps and 8 specialties. The Augustiner Munchen Dunkel seemed particularly appealing as one of their special bottles, as did the Budvar on tap. The Budvar was as expected – crisp, clean and fresh, floral nose, hop infused and well balanced palate, nice dry finish – the perfect thirst quencher after our long walk to get there. The Dunkel was a lovely mahogany colour with a light head and sweet malt aroma that led to a malt accented but well balance palate. There was some chocolate notes and sweetness in the long smooth finish. We also tried the Reissdorf Kolsch - a crisp, clean, refreshing beer, bright gold colour, white head, sparkling mouthfeel with light hoppy palate and a buried fruitiness under a well balanced and dry finish.
Next stop was The Old Nickel. We just literally went in to get out of the rain and found 6 beers on tap and over 60 available by bottle. This is also a popular and funky little hotel, with rooms upstairs accessed through the bar. Promising ourselves to come back, we had a night cap of La Trappe White [see Beer of the Day, Sept. 7] and stumbled on our way.
We resumed our mission the next day after a quick tour of the Van Gough Museum. Searching for the famous Café Gollem brought us to the Gekroate Ketel (cracked kettle), an amazing bottle shop, stacked floor to ceiling with an outstanding selection of Dutch, Belgian and international brands. Alas, right across the street, Café Gollem was closed ‘due to circumstance’. Sensing our disappointment, the knowledgeable young man in the bottle shop sent us to the In de Wildeman, not far away. They had about 24 beers marked on their main chalk board, with specialty lambic and Trappist vintages listed elsewhere. Here we found the sublime and only 3.5% De Molen Melk en Mild on tap [see Beer of the Day, Sept. 8]. I followed that up with Schelde Brouwerij Oester Stoute, a richer offering with a sweet malt nose, deep black colour, a tight head resulting in thick lacing with notes of toffee, coffee and roasted malt. Medium bodied with malt sweetness balanced against some hoppy that also disguises its potent 8.5% strength. We also tried a bottle conditioned De Molen’s Vuur & Vlam (fire & flame) IPA. Huge flowery hop aroma, big rocky head and an initial hop bite that really gets your attention. They use Galena, Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Amarillo hops, so you know this is a potent double IPA, even at 6.2%. Deep amber in colour with a long dry finish, this would not be out of place back home.
The bartender at de Wildeman, well versed as he was in beer, convinced us to visit the Brouwerij de Prael, just a few blocks away, to taste their locally made and served products. Prael both bottle and keg, serving their products on tap in their taproom. 8 varieties were available while we were there, ranging from bocks and barley wine to wit, kolsch and abbey style. Paul started with Willeke, their blond tripel, while I opted for the ‘lentebok’ Andre. At 7.5% the tripel was a medium bodied version, straw in colour, a little cloudy with a head that faded to lace quickly, but full marks for flavour – subtle spiciness, well balanced, dries out at the finish well. The ‘spring bock’ had a malty nose, sweet malt first impression on the palate, some underpinning of hop, dark amber in colour, medium body and a sweetish finish. Johnny was next, the 5.7% Kolsch with a big, thick white head, straw colour, light nose and body, neutral palate yet nice dry finish. Their guest tap that day was Felen Zeebonck, a 6.5% alternative to a traditional bock. Fresh malty nose, white head, amber tinged, sweetish palate, smooth mouthfeel, some hidden hop, but long sweet finish.
After a very late and deliciously spicy Chinese meal, we found our way to the absolutely fabulous Het Elfde Gebod (the eleventh commandment). Dimly lit and elegant, it has a dark wood paneled bar, soft furnishings and a down tempo jazzy soundtrack that lends itself to a very comfortable, warm atmosphere. There are over 50 beers listed on their chalk board, with 5 taps and some special bottles. The fresh Corsendonk Angus (7.5%) on tap hit the spot. Dark blond colouring and a big malt bite are the initial impressions, dark malty tones, candy sugar notes, caramel and a smooth palate leads to a finish that dries out pleasantly.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3 Fonteinen in Beersel

Sept. 6. Monday morning found us checking out of our hotel in Brussels, stashing our luggage in lockers at the Gare Midi and taking a train the short distance into Payootenland, the heart of the lambic producing region. With really no particular destination in mind, we found ourselves in the village of Beersel, home to the Beersel Castle and the 3 Fonteinen Brewery. A short walk up the hill from brought us to the village centre and the 3 Fonteinen Restaurant. Here we lunched on gueuze infused cheese and salad on their lovely terrace while sampling the draft beers.
We started with the Oude Kriek on tap. Deep, dark red in colour with a thick pink mousse head, a slight Brettanomyces aroma and an initial gentle sourness that grows into the distinctive flavour balanced against sour cherries and the velvety mouthfeel and tiny sweetness in the finish. Next, the Lambiek, also on tap, was simply delightful. Still and deep amber in colour, with some haze and a slight sour nose. An intense bite on first sip that mellows then fills the palate, notes of tart green apple with a bone dry finish.
As we paid our bill, we were informed that the brewery was around back and open that day, and had been all weekend, celebrating the release of a new beer. So, around the corner went. Here found Armand Debelder, the owner, brewer and blender, with his wife Lydia. Armand learned the craft from his father and now brews and blends his own lambics. Or should I say, did… A sad story unfolded as Armand told us of the unfortunate series of events that ruined many, many bottles of gueuze last spring. A malfunctioning thermostat at his bottle aging facility shot up the temperature and ruined everything in storage. For a gueuze brewer/blender, this was not only his stock, but bank account and future. Armand’s standards are high, traditional and unyielding. Unpresentable to the public, he still hoped something might be salvaged. So he decided to distill the entire batch. Over the course of one weekend, many good friends and supporters of the brewer came and helped uncork and dump 60,000 bottles into the distiller. What was created is called Armand’s Spirit, a 40% Eau de Vie, marketed in a unique square bottle. A small taste revealed an uncompromising product of quality, with a noticeable gueuze undertone, that will only get better with age. Despite his challenges ahead, Armand is a gracious host and presented us with a tour of his cellar, where we tasted his sublime Lambiek straight out f the cask. Our discussions continued as we returned to the tiny terrace and sampled a few more delights with some newcomers.
HORAL is the organization of Lambic producers in Belgium, and last year they pulled together eight brewers to contribute to a bottle conditioned Oude Geuze Mega Blend [see Beer of the Day, Sept. 6] to celebrate the Toer de Geuze – one weekend each spring when many lambic breweries are open to the public . Armand opened a bottle for tasting - amazing! Also presented was the Faro on tap, a lambic blended with candy sugar at bottling. This produces a more balanced product in terms of sourness verses sweetness. Both elements are present on the palate at the same time, enhancing each other nicely. It pours with a rather porous head and finishes with a subdued sour sweetness.Quite surprisingly good, not as sweet as expected. Last, but certainly not least was the Straffe Winter 8%, not strictly a traditional product, since it is brewed with some non-traditional ingredients. This is a stunning beer, with all the qualities of traditional gueuze, but strong and with the complexity of the brewer’s art on display. Big frothy head, deep amber colour, it had all of the qualities of an excellent gueuze, but it is a bigger, more complex brew, that hides it’s strength well. Truly a special treat.
Since most of the cafes and breweries in the area are closed on Mondays (little did we know) we spent all our time at 3 Fonteinen. We wish Armand and his wife all the best. Even though he has sold his brewing equipment and Boon in neighbouring Lambeek is producing his lambics at this point, there is hope that he may resurrect this famous little brewery. It would be a great loss to the world of brewing to lose the name 3 Fonteinen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sunday, Last Day of Beer Fest

So, some details about the Brussels Beer Weekend 2010…
They have quite an intriguing, though initially confusing system of tickets for dealing with glassware at the festival. Glass tokens are bought for 2 Euros. Beer tickets are straight forward, they are 1 Euro each, some beers being 2 tickets, some being as much as 4 or 5 for the higher end brands. However, being in Belgium, each beer, of course, is served in its own glass, so you must submit your token in order to get a glass for the beer you are drinking at each booth and you must return your glass to the same booth you got it from. This sounds very civilized at first, until you realize that most people would then hang out at that booth until they finished their beer, in order to return the glass, retrieve their token and move on.
Friday night showed us how chaotic the festival can be. First off, it appeared security was a bit overwhelmed. Way too many people were allowed into the fenced off area on the Grand Place, and people were literally shoulder to shoulder. Getting a beer and returning the glass was a challenge, never mind going against the flow to try and make it to a booth you wanted to visit. It wasn’t long before the grounds were packed and the gates were closed, and anyone leaving the area to use the WC were not allowed back in. Saturday seemed to have security more on the ball, but by the time we got there in the mid-afternoon, there were huge line-ups waiting to get in as others left. Needless to say, we did not get in. We returned on Sunday however, at the 11 am opening, and spent a pleasant number of hours freely floating from booth to booth, meeting wonderful people from all over the world, before the crowds started to thicken once again. Especially friendly and interesting were a couple we met from the Netherlands and a group of Icelanders, who seemed quite pleased and intrigued to run into two beer geeks from Canada who traveled all this way to attend the festival. All in all, it was a fantastic festival, and an absolute must for anyone wanting to experience the world of Belgian beer. There were of course blond, amber, dark and white beers, Trappists and lambics, Flanders reds and oud bruins, pilsners and stouts and many beers that defied categorization. Rare and special beers seemed to go in the first hour every day (everyone wanted to try the limited quantities of Westvleteren, for example). In total, there were over 50 breweries represented serving more than 350 beers. We concentrated on beers we’d never had or never heard of, or on fresh drafts versions of brews we only get as bottled varieties in Canada. Still, there was little time to try them all, but we were valiant in our efforts and did not come away disappointed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday Beer Bar Crawl

Saturday turned into an amazing day. It started out with a short walk to one of the last traditional gueuze makers in Belgium - Cantillon, family owned since its inception in 1900. They offer a self guided tour of their unique facility, from mash tun to barrels to bottles, at the end of which guests are offered two tastes of their amazing products. Here we met two more Canadians, both in town for the beer festival - Cheri from Beerbistro in Toronto and Gisele from Stella's in Vancouver, both well informed enthusiasts and excellent companions as we sampled the house Gueuze and the puckering Framboise.
Neil then mentioned that one of the best beer bars in town, Moeder Lambic Fontainas was somewhere close by. In fact, Paul figured out it was just a few steps away from our hotel. How convenient! 46 beers on tap and 6 hand pumped casks, many of them lambics, plus a special list of brews brought in just for the Brussels Beer Weekend. We were in heaven!
We ordered Cantillon's Fou' Foune 2008 (sour, sour and more sour!), St. Lamvinus 2009 (made with merlot grapes), Cantillon Mamouche and Dri Fonteinen Lambic 2009 (both delicious!) to start. One of the owners, Jean, brought over our beers himself, after hearing us talk enthusiasticly about the sour beers on his menu, then sat down and joined us, telling us many tales of the Belgian brewing scene and his special connection to the lambic brewers. A very knowledgeable friendly and well spoken man, he treated us to a bottle of Beer Bera 2009 from Italy, a wonderful brew that none of us had ever heard of. But the beer that really caught our palates was the cask conditioned La Mummia 2008 (from Montegioco in Italy), also from Italy. Rather still, but complex, displaying many lambic qualities, musty aroma and with undertones of wine and wood. Wow, what a first visit to this exceptional bar.
Paul and I then went on what became a night of pub crawling. Next stop was the Poechenellekelder, a famous little cafe with a large terrace right across from the Manneken Pis. Paul enjoyed a Vieil Orval (aged a minimum of six months in a cave) while I tried the rather hoppy Hopus, poured tall in a beautiful glass with a side shot glass of the yeasty sediment from the bottom of the bottle. Yummy! A large bottle of IV Saison from the Brasserie de Jandrain helped us finish the afternoon, and as night began to fall, we continued on our way. Next stop was a traditional little Flemish cafe tucked away down a short dark alley, A La Becasse. Here we sampled a selection of rather sweetish Timmerman products, a Lambic Doux, a Kriek and, our favourite, the quite lovely and well balance Bourgogne de Flanders. We then made our way to the dark and sweltering cellar known as the Port Noire. Crowded and smoky, we managed to taste a few beers before the heat and the noise drove us out. I enjoyed a raspberry infused Grisette Fruit de Bois and the extra hoppy Taras Boulba, while Paul went for St. Feullieu Tripel and a Barbar Blonde Honey Ale. If that wasn't enough, we just had to stop in at Moeder Lambic for a night cap. The Saison de Dottiguies and Adelardus Brune made sure we slept like babes that night,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Opening Day of Brussels Beer Weekend

First thing this morning we ran into a lovely couple, Neil & Nicole from Toronto, who, fresh from their honeymoon in Paris, were now in Brussels to attend the Beer Festival. We decided to have lunch together, and after comparing notes we all hiked to the Upper Town in search of the Ultimate Hallucination - a wonderful Art Deco restaurant that specializes in Belgian beers. Alas, we found the address, but they were not open for lunch. Instead, we opted for another local spot called Le Bier Circus, not far away. Good choice! Neil had a beer he'd been waiting to try Mariage Parfait, a marvelous bottle conditioned Oud Gueuze from Boon, while Nicole went for the fruity Kriek. Paul and I went for the fresh draft. His a lovely hoppy glass of La Chouffe's Houblon Double IPA, me a rather still, but stunning Girardin Kriek Lambic direct from a cask. Hmmm, heavenly! Paul also tried the 10% La Rulles Grand Dix, as close to a Tripel as you can get, without calling it one. From here we wondered back into the winding streets of the city centre to prepare for the opening festivities of the first evening of the Beer Festival. And what an opening night it was, as patrons jostling elbow to elbow, in a very friendly way, like fish swimming upstream, trying for the beers they love most. After a while it did seem like no one was keeping a count of how many were in the crowd, and alas to anyone if they had to find the WC, as security was not letting anyone back in, realizing at last that there were perhaps too many people inside the gate. The Trappist booth seemed to be one of the most popular, but it was crowded whatever you went for, whether the Duchesse de Bourgogne fresh on tap, or the mysterious Black Hole lager from the Roman brewery. We met people from all over the world, who I'm sure, like us, will be back Saturday afternoon for more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Day in Bruxelles

We arrived in Brussels on a lovely warm Fall morning, sunny with blue skies. After making our way from the airport to our hotel via train, we decided the best place to start of tour of 'the city of beer' would be the famous Mort Subite. Located a short walk from the Grand Place, we sat down in the mirrored lined and somewhat dimly lit room and enjoyed a bottled conditioned Mort Subite Gueuze. While sipping and marveling over this uniquely Belgian delight, I noticed a gentleman at the next table who seemed vaguely familiar to me. Sure enough, when I approached his table, it was, Charlie Papazian - long time publisher, beer writer and brew guru to a generation of home brewers and beer enthusiasts. He said he was one of a number of invited guests attending the 12th annual Brussels Beer Weekend. Wishing him well, we went on way, through the tiny, winding cobblestone  streets of the city centre. Everywhere you turn is a pub, a cafe or a restaurant, beers and daily specials posted on chalk boards or in windows. It is very difficult in this city NOT to find a good place to have a great beer. So, we visited quite a few.
Les Brasseurs de la Grand Place was our next stop - the only actual brewpub in Brussels. They serve four of their own wonderful beers: a crisp and light bodied Blonde, a well balance Amber, a malt accented Dark and a mysteriously spiced Tripel (our favourite). My traveling and beer hunting companion Paul Geneau and I then decided it was time for food, and so we found ourselves at Cafe Leon, one of many small resto-cafes in the heart of the old city, enjoyed their house beer, Biere Leon, and some much needed sustenance. The rest of the evening was spent at various cafes, sampling some of our favourite Belgian brews and people watching, as the streets filled with club goers, tourists and locals looking to relax. It was 2 am before we knew it. Not so jet lagged as we thought!


  • 1605er Weisse (btl)
  • 3 Fonteinen Faro (tap)
  • 3 Fonteinen Lambiek (tap)
  • 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Vintage (btl)
  • 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek (tap)
  • 3 Fonteinen Straffe Winter (btl)
  • 7 Stern Bamberger Rauchbier (tap) 5.1%
  • 7 Stern Hanfbier (tap) 4.7%
  • 7 Stern Herbstbock (tap) 6.3%
  • 7 Stern Maerzen (tap) 5.1%
  • 7 Stern Prager Dunkles (tap) 4.5%
  • 7 Stern Wiener Helles (tap) 4.7%
  • Abbaye d'Aulnes Waterloo 8 (tap)
  • Abbaye des Rocs Bruin (btl) 9%
  • Abbey Ale Roar (cask) 4.3%
  • Abbey Bellringer Ale (cask) 4.2%
  • Adelardus Brune (tap)
  • Adler Hefe-Weizen (btl) 4.9%
  • Aecht Schenkerla Rauchbier Märzen (tap)
  • Aecht Schenkerla Rauchbier Weizen (btl) 5.2%
  • Ambräusianum Dunkel (tap)
  • Ambräusianum Hell (tap)
  • Ambräusianum Weizen (tap)
  • Apostelbräu Dinkel (naturtrüb) Bier (btl) 4.8%
  • Arbor Ales Motueka (cask) 4%
  • Atlas Nimbus Strong Dark Ale (cask) 5%
  • Augustinerbräu Munchen Dunkel (btl)
  • Ayingers Altbier Dunkel (tap)
  • Ayingers Kellerbier (tap)
  • Ayingers Pils (tap)
  • Bamberger Klosterbrau Pils (tap) 4.9%
  • Barbar Blonde Honey Ale (tap) 8%
  • Bath Ales Special Pale Ale (cask) 3.7%
  • Bath Gem Amber Ale (btl)
  • Bazens' Pacific Bitter (cask) 3.8%
  • Berliner Kindl Bock (tap)
  • Berliner Kindl Weiss (btl)
  • Bernard 12 Unfiltered Pale Lager (tap)
  • Biere Leon (tap)
  • Bink Bloesems (tap) 7%
  • Blackwater Brewery Boogie Woogie (cask) 4.2%
  • Blanche de Namur (tap)
  • Blanche de Neige (tap)
  • Bons Voeux Dupont (btl) 9.5%
  • Bottlebrook Smoked Porter (cask) 5.6%
  • Brand Imperator (tap)
  • Brand Oud Bruin (tap)
  • Brauerei Beck Trabelsdorf Affumicator (tap) 9.6%
  • Brew Dog Punk IPA (cask) 6%
  • Bristol Beer Factory Acer (btl) 3.8%
  • Bristol Beer Factory Exhibition (btl) 5.2%
  • Bristol Beer Factory Hefe (btl)
  • Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout (btl) 4.5%
  • Bristol Beer Factory No. 7 (cask) 4.2%
  • Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop (btl) 6.5%
  • Broughton AlesTass 80/ (cask)
  • Broughton Autumn Ale (cask) 3.5%
  • Brouwerij 't IJ Bok (tap)
  • Brouwerij 't IJ Columbus (btl) 9%
  • Brouwerij 't IJ Natte (tap) 6.5%
  • Brouwerij 't IJ Plzen (btl) 5%
  • Brouwerij 't IJ Zatte (tap)
  • Brouwerij de Prael Nelis Pyp (tap) 7.7%
  • Brunswick Triple Hop (cask) 4%
  • Budelse Goudblond (tap)
  • Budweiser Budvar (tap)
  • Buffalo Stout (btl) 9%
  • Burton Bridge Stairway to Heaven (cask) 5%
  • Butcombe Bitter (cask) 4%
  • Butcombe Brunel IPA (cask) 5.7%)
  • Cairngorm Tradewinds (cask) 4.3%
  • Cantillon Faro (tap) 5%
  • Cantillon Gueuze (tap) 5%
  • Cantillon Mamouche (tap)
  • Cantillon Vigneronne (cask) grape
  • Cheddar Ales Goat's Leap IPA (btl cond) 5.7%
  • Cheddar Ales Totty Pot Dark Porter (btl cond) 4.7%
  • Cheddar Ales Totty Pot Dark Porter (btl cond) 4.7%
  • Chimay Blue (btl)
  • Chimay Tripel (tap)
  • Chotebor Premium Bohemian Pilsner (tap)
  • Cluss Keller Pils (tap)
  • Cnudde Brown (btl)
  • Copper Dragon Golden Pippin (cask) 3.9%
  • Corsendonk Angus (tap)
  • Cotleigh Brewing Peregrine Porter (btl cond) 5%
  • Cotleigh New Harvest Golden Bitter (cask) 4%
  • Cuvée de Moeder Lambic (tap) 5%
  • Dalesice Pale Lager (tap)
  • Dalesice Tmare Lezak (tap)
  • Dawkins Bob Wall Best Bitter (cask) 4.2%
  • Dawkins TTT Best Bitter (cask) 4.2%
  • De Bekeerde Suster Bock Ros (tap) 6.5%
  • De Bekeerde Suster Tripel (tap) 7.2%
  • De Cam Oude Gueze
  • De Halve Maan Brugse Zot Bok (btl)
  • De Halve Maan Brugse Zot Dubbel Bruin (tap)
  • De Molen Melk en Mild (tap)
  • De Molen Vuur & Vlam (btl)
  • De Ryck (btl)
  • De Silly Pink Killer (tap) grapefriut
  • De Silly Saison (tap)
  • Delerium Tremens (tap)
  • Deuchar's IPA (cask) 3.8%
  • Dinkelacker CD-Pils (tap)
  • Dorset Yachtsman (cask) 4.7%
  • Duvel Verte (btl)
  • Edelweiss Dunkel (btl) 5.5%
  • EKU 28 (btl) 11%
  • Felen Zeebonck (tap)
  • Flekovsky Lezak (tap)
  • Franziskaner Weissbier (tap)
  • Full Mash Steve Ashby's Locoil (cask) 4.6%
  • Fuller's London Pride (cask)
  • Funfair Divebomber (cask) 3.8%
  • Fässla Gold-Pils (tap)
  • Fässla Zwergla (btl) 6%
  • Gaffel Kolsch (tap)
  • Glastonbury Dream Catcher Cider (cask) 6%
  • Greene King Ghastly Ghoul (cask)
  • Greifenkläu Pils (tap)
  • Grieskirchner Pils (tap)
  • Grimbergen Dubbel (btl)
  • Grisette Fruit de Bois (tap)
  • Grottenbier (btl)
  • Guldenberg (btl)
  • Gulpener Jaarling Bokbier (btl) 6.5%
  • Gösser Dunkel (tap)
  • Haacht Charles Quint Golden Blonde (tap)
  • Haacht Kaiser Karel Ruby Red (tap)
  • Hacker-Pschorr Edelhell (cask)
  • Hacker-Pschorr Export Dunkel (tap)
  • Hammerpot Bottle Wreck Porter (cask) 4.7%
  • Hertog Jan Grand Prestige (btl) 10%
  • Hertog Jan Weizener (tap)
  • Highland Brewing Scapa Special Pale Ale (btl) 4.4%
  • Hirter Morchl Dunkel (btl)
  • Hirter Pils (btl)
  • Hoegaarden Rose (tap)
  • Holzkirchner Oberbräu Weisse Dunkel (tap)
  • Honey's Midford Cider (cask)
  • Hopback Brewery Entire Stout (cask) 4.5%
  • Hopback Brewery Hopfest (cask) 4.6%
  • Hopdaemon Brewing Kentish IPA (btl) 4.5%
  • Horal's Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2009 (btl)
  • Houblon Chouffe Double IPA (tap)
  • Huffendorfer Bier (tap)
  • Hurricane Jack (cask) 4.4%
  • Hydes' Hubble Bubble (cask) 4.4%
  • Innis & Gunn Triple Matured (btl) 7.2%
  • J.W. Lees Dark Mild Ale (cask) 3.5%
  • Jacobin Gueuze (btl)
  • Jacobin Kriek (btl)
  • Jandrain IV Saison (btl)
  • Jandrain VI (tap)
  • Jenning's Cumberland (cask) 4%
  • Jopen Bokbier (btl) 6.5%
  • Joseph Holt Bitter (cask) 4%
  • Joseph Holt Touchwood (cask) 4.3%
  • Kaiser Doppel Malz (btl) 4.7%
  • Kasteel Bruin (tap) 11%
  • Kelburn Red Smiddy (cask) 4.1%
  • Kerkomse Tripel (tap)
  • Kloster Andechs Hefe-Weizen (btl) 5.5%
  • Klosterbrau Braunbier (tap) 5,7&
  • Konig Ludwig Dunkel (btl) 5.1%
  • Kostritzer Schwarzbier (btl) 4.8%
  • Kriek Lambic Girardin (cask)
  • La Chouffe (btl)
  • La Rulles Grand Dix Tripel (tap)
  • La Trappe White (tap)
  • Leather Britches Doctor Johnson (cask) 4%
  • LeFebvre Hopus (btl)
  • Leffe Bruin (tap)
  • Leffe Tripel (tap)
  • Lemke Brauhaus Festbier (tap)
  • Lemke Brauhaus Original Dunkel (tap)
  • Lemke Brauhaus Pils (tap)
  • Lemke Brauhaus Weizen (tap)
  • Les Brasseurs de la Grand Place Amber (tap)
  • Les Brasseurs de la Grand Place Blond (tap)
  • Les Brasseurs de la Grand Place Dark (tap)
  • Les Brasseurs de la Grand Place Tripel (tap)
  • Lindemans Frambroise (tap)
  • Lindemans Kriek (btl)
  • Lupus (btl)
  • Mahr's Bräu Kellerbier (tap)
  • Mahr's Pilsner (btl)
  • Mahr's Ungespundet (tap)
  • Mahr's Weizen (tap)
  • Maredsous 6 (tap)
  • Maredsous 6 (tap)
  • Maredsous Bruin (btl)
  • Markischer Landmann Schwarzbier (tap)
  • Marrach Vidensky Lezak (tap)
  • Marston's Wicked Witch (cask) 4.2%
  • Metisse du Lion a Plume (tap)
  • Moenchshof Kellerbier Dunkel (btl)
  • Mohren Bräu (tap)
  • Moinette Blond (btl)
  • Mongozo Coconut (tap)
  • Montegioco La Mummia (cask)
  • Moor Beer Co. JJJ IPA (btl cond) 9.5%
  • Moor Beer Co. JJJ IPA (btl cond) 9.5%
  • Moor Beer Co. Revival Pale Ale (btl cond) 4%
  • Mort Subite Gueuze (btl)
  • Mort Subite Kriek (tap)
  • Northumberland Hoof Harted (cask) 3.8%
  • Novometsky Lezak (tap)
  • Old Green Tree Ale (cask)
  • Old Mortality 80/ (cask) 4.2%
  • Oldgott Lezak Barique (tap)
  • Orval (btl)
  • Ottakringer Innstadt Weizen (tap)
  • Ottakringer Pur (tap)
  • Ottakringer Weizen Dunkle (btl)
  • Ottakringer Zwickl Dunkel (tap)
  • Otter Bright Ale (cask) 4.3%
  • Oud Gueuze Beersel (btl)
  • Palmers Tally Ho Strong Dark Ale (cask) 5.5%
  • Pattoloereke (btl)
  • Paulaner Salvator (btl) 7.9%
  • Pegas Gold (tap)
  • Pegas Tmavy Lezak (tap)
  • Pentland IPA (cask) 3.9%
  • Pernstejn Porter (tap)
  • Petrus Oud Bruin (btl)
  • Pilsner Urquel Nefiltrovany Lezak (tap)
  • Polder Bock (tap)
  • Poutnik Pelhrina (tap)
  • Prael Andre Lentebok (tap)
  • Prael Johnny Kolsch (tap)
  • Prael Willeke Tripel Blonde (tap)
  • Psenicne Pivo (tap)
  • Quontock Brewery Sunracker (cask) 4.2%
  • Rambouek Kastanomendovy (tap)
  • Ravens Dark Ale (cask)
  • RCH Brewery Old Slug Porter (cask) 4.5%
  • RCH Pitchfork (cask) 4.3%
  • Rochfort 6 (btl)
  • Rodenbach (btl)
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru (btl) 6%
  • Rodenbach Vintage (btl)
  • Roman Black Hole Lager (btl)
  • Roman Mater Wit (tap)
  • Rosemary Hefe-Weizen (tap)
  • Rulles Estivale (tap) 5.2%
  • Rulles Tripel (tap) 8.4%
  • Rychtar Natur (tap)
  • Saison 1900 (tap)
  • Saison de Dottiginies (tap)
  • Salm-Brau Bohemian Mix (tap)
  • Salm-Brau Helles (tap)
  • Salm-Brau Pils (tap)
  • Salm-Brau Weizen (tap)
  • Schelde Golden Raand (tap)
  • Schelde Oester Stoute (tap)
  • Scheldebrouweri Wildebok (tap)
  • Schlossbrauerei MacQueen´s Nessie Whisky Malt Red Beer (btl)
  • Schlosser Altbier (tap)
  • Schofferhofer Weizen (tap)
  • Schremser Roggen Bio Bier (btl) 5.2%
  • Schultheiss Berliner Weiss (tap)
  • Schwaben Bräu das Schwarze (tap)
  • Sezoens Quatro (btl)
  • Sharp's Cornish Coaster (cask) 3.6%
  • Sharp's Doom Bar Bitter (cask) 4%
  • Sion Kolsch (tap)
  • Smisje Dubbel (btl)
  • Sommerset Ale (cask) 4.1%
  • Sophie's Bräuhaus Schwarzbier (tap)
  • Spaten Oktoberfest (tap)
  • Spezial Rauchbier (tap)
  • Spezial Ungespundetes (cask)
  • Spire 80/ (cask) 4.3%
  • St, Georgen Gold Maerzen (btl)
  • St. Austell Admiral's Ale (btl cond) 5%
  • St. Austell Tribute Ale (cask)
  • St. Bernardus 12 (tap)
  • St. Bernardus Tripel (btl) 7.5%
  • St. Feuillieu Tripel (tap)
  • St. Feullien Triple (btl)
  • St. Georgen Kellerbier (tap)
  • St. Georgen Pilsner (btl)
  • Stonehenge Danish Dynamite (cask) 5%
  • Stouterik (btl)
  • Straffe Hendrik Tripel (btl)
  • Stroud Brewing Budding Pale Ale (cask) 4.5%
  • Stuttgart Hofbrau Keller Pils (tap)
  • Super des Fagnes Griotte (tap) raspberry
  • Tambor 10° Pilsner (tap)
  • Tambor 11° Pilsner (tap)
  • Tambor 11° Unfiltered Pilsner (tap)
  • Tambor 12° Pilsner (tap)
  • Tambor 13° Dark Lager (tap)
  • Taras Boulba Extra Hoppy Ale (tap)
  • Tauton Dry Cider (cask)
  • Thatcher's Dry Cider (cask)
  • Thomas Guest Puddlers (cask) 4.1%
  • Timmermans Bourgogne des Flanders (tap)
  • Timmermans Gueuze (tap)
  • Timmermans Lambic Doux (tap)
  • Tirolier Bier Maerzen (btl)
  • Toccalmatto Skizoid (tap) 6.2%
  • Toccalmatto Stary Dog Bitter (tap) 4.2%
  • Trappist Westvleteren 12 (btl) 10%
  • Trappledouser (cask) 4.7%
  • Triple FFF Brewery Moondance (cask) 4.2%
  • Trummer Pils (btl)
  • Tucher Frankisch Dunkel (tap)
  • U Medvidku Rouge Lager (tap)
  • U Medvidku X33 (tap)
  • U Richarda Pale Lager (tap)
  • U Richarda Weizen Lager (tap)
  • U Sladka Pasak Special (tap)
  • U Sladka Pasak Svetly (tap)
  • U Valsu Pale Lager (tap)
  • Urthel (btl)
  • Vedett Extra White (tap)
  • Velkopopovicky Kozel Dark (btl) 3.9%
  • Velkopopovicky Kozel Dark (tap)
  • Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne (tap)
  • Verhaeghe Echt Kriekenbier (tap)
  • Vestingguilde Blonde (tap)
  • Vicaris Generale (btl)
  • Vichtenaar Oud Bruin (btl) 5.15
  • Vieil Orval (btl)
  • Weihenstephan Weizen (tap)
  • Weihenstephan Weizen Dunkel (btl)
  • Weihenstephaner Korbinian Bock (tap) 7.4%
  • Westmalle Dubbel (tap)
  • Wickwar Autumnal (cask) 4%
  • Wieckse Witte (tap/btl)
  • Wieden Brau Dunkles (tap)
  • Wieden Brau Maerzen (tap)
  • Wieden Brau Pils (tap)
  • Witcap Stimulo (btl) 6%
  • Wittinger Pils (tap)
  • Wolf Howler (cask) 4.2%
  • Young's Bitter (cask)
  • Zillertal Gouder Bock 2010 (btl)
  • Zillertal Märzen (btl)
  • Zillertal Pils (btl)
  • Zillertal Schwarzes (btl)
  • Zillertal Weissebier Dunkel (btl)
  • Zinnebir (tap) 6%
  • Zipfer Märzen (btl)
  • Zipfer Pils (btl)
  • Zwickl Spezial (tap)


  • Amsterdam: Brouwerij 't IJ, Funenkade 7,
  • Amsterdam: Brouwerij Prael & Taproom, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 15,
  • Amsterdam: Cafe Brecht, Weteringschans 157
  • Amsterdam: Het Elfde Gebod, Zeedig
  • Amsterdam: In de Wildeman, Kolksteeg 3
  • Amsterdam: The Old Nickel, Nieuwe Brugsteeg 11,
  • Bamberg: Brauerei Greifenkläu, Laurenzistrasse 36,
  • Bamberg: Brauerei Spezial, Konigstrasse 22
  • Bamberg: Fässla Brauerei, Obere Konigstrasse 19,
  • Bamberg: Klosterbräu Brauerei, Obere Muhlbrucke 1-3
  • Bamberg: Restaurant Alt-Ringlein, Dominikanestrasse 9
  • Bamberg: Zum Kachelofen, Obere Sandstrasse
  • Bamberg: Zum Sternla, Lange Strasse 46
  • Bath: The Bell, 103 Wolcott Street
  • Bath: The Old Green Tree, 12 Green Street
  • Bath: The Raven, 6 Queen Street
  • Berlin: Alt Berliner Weissbier Struben, Rathaus Strasse, 21
  • Berlin: Lemke's Brauhaus, Dircksenstrasse, 143
  • Berlin: Sophien Eck, Eck Grosse Hamburger Strasse, 37
  • Berlin: Stangdige Vertretung, Schiffbauerdamm 8
  • Bristol: Bridge Inn, 16 Passage Street
  • Bristol: Cornubia, 142, Temple Street
  • Bristol: Hope and Anchor, 38 Jacobs Wells Road
  • Bristol: King's Head, 60 Victoria Street
  • Bristol: Port of Call, York Street, Clifton
  • Bristol: Portcullis, 3 Wellington Terrace, Sion Hill, Clifton
  • Bristol: Seven Stars, 1 Thomas Lane, Redcliffe
  • Bristol: Vittoria, 57 Whiteladies Rd., Clifton
  • Brno: Na Bozence, Bozeny Nemcove 18
  • Brno: Pivinice Pegas, Jakubska 4
  • Brussels: A La Becasse, alley off rue Tabora
  • Brussels: Au Bon Vieux Temps, Impasse St. Nicolas, off of Rue Marché Aux Herbes
  • Brussels: Blanche ou Tonneau au Brasseur, rue de Brasseurs et rue des Chapeliers
  • Brussels: Delirium Cafe, Impasse de la Fidelite, 4A
  • Brussels: La Bier Circus, rue l'Enseignement 57
  • Brussels: La Mort Subite, rue Montagne aux Herbes Potageres 7
  • Brussels: La Porte Noire, rue des Alexiens 67
  • Brussels: Moeder Lambic Fontainas, 8 - 10 Place Fontainas,
  • Brussels: Poechenellekelder, rue du Chene 5
  • Edinburgh: Abbotsford Bar & Restaurant, 3 Rose Street
  • Edinburgh: Blue Blazer, 2 Spittal Street
  • Edinburgh: Bow Bar, 80 West Bow
  • Edinburgh: Conan Doyle, Queen Street
  • Edinburgh: Guilford Arms, West Registar Street
  • Edinburgh: Halfway House, 24 Fleshmarket Close
  • Edinburgh: Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street
  • Edinburgh: The Tass, 1 Jefferey
  • Innsbruck: Elferhaus, Herzog-Friedrich Str. 11
  • Innsbruck: Restaurant Krahvogel, Anichstrasse 12
  • Maastricht: Cafe 't Pothuisker, Het Bat 1,
  • Maastricht: Cafe de la Bourse, Markt 37
  • Maastricht: Falstaff, Sint Maartenspoort 13
  • Manchester: Corbiere's, Half Moon Alley
  • Manchester: Old Wellington Inn, 4 Cathedral Gates
  • Manchester: The Circus Tavern, 86 Portland Str.
  • Manchester: The Grey Horse, 80 Portland Str.
  • Manchester: The Old Monkey, 90 Porland Str.
  • Munich: Ayingers Speis und Trank, Am Platz 1A
  • Munich: Der Pschorr, Viktualienmarkt 15
  • Naarden-Bussum: Cafe Demmers, Martkstraat 52
  • Plzen: U Sladka, Poděbradova 12
  • Plzen: Zach's Pub, Palackeho nam. 2
  • Prague: Minipivovar U Medvídků, Na Perštýně 7
  • Prague: U Fleků, Kremencova 11
  • Prague: Zlý Časy, Čestmírova 5
  • Stuttgart: Sophie's Bräuhaus, Marienstrasse 28
  • Stuutgart: Brauerei Gaststätte Dinkelacker, Tubingerstrasse 48
  • Vienna: Bieramt, Am Heumarkt, 3
  • Vienna: Cafe Drechsler, Linke Wienzeile 22, Girardigasse 1
  • Vienna: Salm-Brau Kloster Brauerei, Rennweg, 8
  • Vienna: Siebenstern Brau, Siebensterngasse, 19
  • Vienna: Stehbeisl, Windmuhlgasse, 6
  • Vienna: Wieden Brau, Waaggasse, 5


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