Friday, September 12, 2014

Hofbrauhaus in Chicago

Finding authentic tasting German beer in the US is almost impossible. The glaring exception is Las Vegas' Hofbrauhaus, which ships in their product direct from Munich in kegs. Apparently, there are no taste-destroying requirements, such as pasteurization and other alterations. The result is beer that truly tastes like the beer in Munich's Hofbrauhaus.

Thus, during the past week while I was in Chicago for my army reunion, I put the Chicago Hofbrauhaus on my list of places to visit. (It is actually in Rosemont just outside O'Hare Airport) even knowing before-hand that they brew their beer on premises. Of course, their brewing is under close supervision of the Hofbrauhaus brew masters on site, but I have heard all that before. Remember the Loewenbrau that Miller produced in places like Eden, North Carolina? Pure American beer.

So yesterday, prior to our return flight, we dropped in for lunch. I ordered the regular lager, which was distinct from their lighter version. They also had dunkles and hefeweizen.

At first sip, I thought the similarity was pretty close, but gradually decided that there was something missing from the taste of Munich and Las Vegas. I suppose it is the water. Nevertheless, it was superior to you Bud or Bud light.

It was lunch and there were few customers, but with German music, I suppose it is worth an evening visit as well.  They gave us a survey card at the end, and I suggested they do what Las Vegas does and start importing their beer direct from Munich in kegs.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Erlangen's Bergkirchweih Has begun

Erlangen's 259th annual beer fest is underway. The new Oberbuergermeister, Florian Janik, has tapped the first keg as shown in the below-linked video. The fun goes on from June 5 to 16. A liter of beer costs 8 Euros.

"We miss you, Fousesquawk."

Wish I was there.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Der Berg Ruft: Erlangen's Bergkirchweih is Approaching

If you happen to be in Germany in June and are looking for a great beer fest, I heartily recommend Erlangen. The 12-day Bergkirchweih begins June 5. The below news article comes from the Erlangen Nachtrichten (in German).

The event is not nearly as large, crowded, expensive, and wild as Munich's rowdy Oktoberfest. Yet it is the oldest beer fest in Germany and the most popular in Bavaria after Munich's.

The beers featured are Erlangen's Kitzmann, and Steinbach, Nuremberg's Tucher, as well as beers brewed under the old recipes of the now-defunct Henniger Reifbrau and Erichbrau. I recommend the Kitzmann.

The daily affair features a full-roasted ox, other foods typical for a beer fest, music, a ferris wheel and attractions for the kids as well. Once the fest shuts down at  11 pm, the university crowd from Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University heads for the local pubs for the traditional "Apres-Berg".

If you are in the region, don't miss this. Erlangen is about 20 km north of Nuremberg, also a worthy attraction.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is Stuttgart's Best Beer?

That's a question I am not well-equipped to answer because I have spent a grand total of one day in Stuttgart and am only familiar with two of their well-known brands, Dinkelacker and Stuttgarter Schwabenbrau.

Somewhere along the line I had a couple of Dinkelackers and thought they were quite good, though my old sgt. from nearby Goeppingen (where I was stationed for a couple of months in 1966) still calls it horse piss.

I do recall having Stuttgarter Schwabenbrau while staying with German friends in the Karlsruhe area back around 1980. I enjoyed that as well.

Last week, I was at the Alpine Village in Torrance, California and picked up a few beers in the German market that looked like they might be decent (normally not the case with imported German beer). The best of the lot was Stuttgarter Schwabenbrau Volksfest with a flip top opener.

Obviously, I need to get back to the Stuttgart area and refresh the taste buds to see how much I really like those brews. All I remember is that when I drank them in Germany, it was a thumbs up. I'll bet you can get just as a  good beer in Stuttgart as you can in Munich.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Great Collectibles: German Beer Glasses

I first began collecting German beer glasses when I was a soldier in Germany back in the 1960s. Today, I must have close to 100.

The reason for the collection is obvious. Each brewery serves its beer in a handsomely engraved glass with the name of the brewery as well as many times the locale and date of establishment.

Indeed, most breweries use pictures of their glasses as part of their ads-a full beautiful glass with a foamy head on top. Who can resist?

In Germany, authentic brewery glasses are generally not found in souvenir shops. Those shops generally sell glasses with names of cities engraved or something like, "Old Germany". I am talking about the real thing.

The way I accumulated these glasses in Germany was simple. When eating in a restaurant, if I wanted the glass, I would ask to purchase it when paying my bill. Most places were accommodating and would sell you a clean glass for the equivalent of about 5 dollars or so.

I have collected some here in the States at German shops if I like them, but I prefer to get them in places I visit in Germany. Of course, bringing them back from Germany is a bit of a hassle due to the possibility of breakage while traveling.

I do also have several glasses from Switzerland, Austria  and a couple of other places but mostly because friends gave them to me. I also have a few glass and clay mugs as well as a handful of fancy steins from Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and a couple of other places. The glasses, however, are tops.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Visitor Samples the Beer of Erlangen, Bamberg, Nuremberg and Buttenheim

I  stumbled across this blog called the Bier Traveller. Last October, the writer sampled the brews of Erlangen, Bamberg, Nuremberg, and Buttenheim. I confess, though Erlangen and Nuremberg were my stomping grounds, I have never been to Buttenheim (where Levi Strauss was born). It sounds like I missed something.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Where is the Best Beer?

This is an old cross-post from my political blog, Fousesquawk. The facts are hardly outdated, however. Yes, Germany is number one.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Eating Thai Food Where Nazis Drank Beer

Thai Food 2 Impressionen brettergarten

During my last few trips to Erlangen I had thought about having lunch or dinner at a restaurant located on Weisses Herzstrasse 8 (located on the Neustaedter Kirchenplatz) . Up until a few years ago, it was an Italian restaurant, whose name escapes me. Today it is a Thai restaurant, and last September, I finally entered the place for lurch. It was more out of historical curiosity than anything else. While researching my book on the history of Erlangen ("Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town"), I had learned that before and during the years of the Third Reich, this location had been  been a prime meeting place for Nazis. (p 153).

In the years leading up to Hitler's ascension to power in 1933, number 8 Weisses Herzstrasse had been known as the Goldenes Herz. It was, in effect, the Nazis' main meeting place. The local Nazi leader was Alfred Gross, who became the city's Oberbuergermeister under Hitler from 1934-44. Prior to 1933, it was at the Goldenes Herz that he would hold court and greet visitors.

After the war, Gross was arrested by the Americans and imprisoned for a few years. He died in 1949.

Today, the restaurant is called simply, "Thai Food 2".