Scanning Through My Blurred Memories or Braukunst Live 2015 Recap

I came, I saw… I tried to drink them all

Another BrauKunst Live 2015 has come and gone. Close to 100 exhibitors served 700+ different beers in the festival hall to over 8600 beer enthusiasts. IMG_7179This year I had the great pleasure owning a media pass and it’s debatable if that’s an advantage or disadvantage!!! Anyhow, I did prepare a little for the festival in that I created a list of the breweries that I definitely wanted to try beers from, and I tried to take the time to write them all down as I sampled… 91 different beer names are written down! WOW! It would probably blow this post if I mentioned them all. I’ll just say that there were a lot of great beers, but also quite a few that were not up my alley.

There were definitely some very unique beers that I was very impressed with that I’ll mention though. The Moll, a collaboration brew from BrauKunstKeller and Kehrwieder (all the beers they were pouring were excellent) is an extinct old German beer style and an easy drinking Rauchbier with a subtle, restrained tartness. The Monroe from Hopfenstopfer, a Single Hop Imperial Pale Ale was smooth and light with full flavors of red berries and passion fruit. Hanscraft & Co had a new brew that can only be described as dessert in a glass. Taking a sip of their Sweet Sixteen, a 16,5 ABV Barleywine Eisbock and you got a mouthful of alcohol-infused-fruit-cobbler-topped-with-vanilla-liquor as if you just bit into a pie. CRAZY sweet! Kissmeyer, a one man gypsy brewery from Denmark I’d never heard of also poured several great beers. Their Pipes & Drums Barrel Reserve, a collaboration brew with Amager Bryghus, surprised me the most. I’m usually not a Barley Wine fan but this one convinced me with it’s subtle sweetish, vinous aroma with hints of fruits and nuts. A couple steps to the left was Freigeist’s and Nogne Ø’s booth who, besides their own beers also poured brews from The Monarchy, To Øl and De Molen. Taking a sip of Nogne Ø’s #1000 had me dive into the world of the Arabian Nights. There’s an abundance of spices in both flavor and aroma with a nice malty caramel sweetness. Freigeist’s Geisterzug Rhubarb Gose and Abraxxxas Pear Lichtenhainer were brews I could drink all the time and all day long. They’re incredibly lively, characterful, and thirst-quenching and were a nice “break” between some of the stronger, heavier beers. Last but not least Ku’Damm, a Berliner Weisse and Daft, a barrel-aged Barley Wine from Urban Chestnut. The Berliner Weisse is solid and probably one of the best ones I drank in my live and surprisingly another Barley Wine, in which for the first time I experienced a umami flavor. IMG_7070

I also want to give props to the newcomers: Hopfmeister, a newly founded gypsy brewery from Munich who plan to open this May. Their motto, brewing beers for craft beer beginners, which are hoppy but still quaffable. And BrewAge, a young Austrian start-up brewery who tie in tradition, refine and reinterpret it.

Of the three days at BrauKunst Live, Friday was my favorite. Since Friday is the opening day, everyone is full of energy and excited to be there. Most of the brewers and brewery reps were behind their booths and all the different beers are still available. Sunday was great because it’s the least visited day and I could stroll through the hall and try beers that I haven’t already tried. Saturday was still fun, but it was a mad house plus having been there the day before and going to the “in-official” after show party at the hotel, I was tired and had moments where I was ready to go home 😉 But it’s still hard to pass up being there for all three days just to be able to soak it all in and enjoy the atmosphere.

On of the hidden gems on the festival floor were the booths from Bier Deluxe and Derer Imports! Both being craft beer importers, they gave me a little taste of “home”! Bier Deluxe had beers from four US breweries on tap [and I happily admit I was obsessed with] Ballast Point’s Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin, whose tart freshness of grapefruit complements the IPA’s citrusy hop character. Derer Import had a vast amount of bottles from Rogue, Smuttynose, Saugatuck, Latitude 42, Left Hand, North Coast and Epic Brewing, to only mention a few. To my surprise they had Epic Brewing’s very limited release: Brainless® on Peaches. I only had a couple little sips but it was delicious. It has 10.5% ABV, but drinks much smoother than that… dangerous!! They also had Neapolitan Milk Stout by Saugatuck Brewing, which is a perfect blend of a classic dry stout character with brilliant flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry all in one glass!

The best three days in March? The worst three days in March? Well, I’m torn. Yes, as mentioned I suffered [as probably some other fellow beer enthusiasts] a little, drank more beer each day than any human should consume in a lifetime, and went days with only little sleep, but it was all for the sake of thousands of people joining together to show their love for the best beers Germany has to offer!
Thanks to all the brewers I spent lots of time talking to, to my fellow beer snobs for interesting discussions, to the new people and the ones I finally met the faces to, you all made for a great weekend and I’m looking forward hanging out again at the next beer event!In this spirit, thanks for reading.
Cheers!!
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A Girl’s Guide to BrauKunst Live 2015!

IMG_5027It’s that time of year again. BrauKunst Live 2015 is upon us for the fourth time at the MVG Museum in Munich. Germany’s largest beer convention is set to kick things off on Friday, March 6th at 4pm. For three days just around one hundred exhibitors  will showcase brews from over 120 breweries. Past year the event attracted close to 8000 beer enthusiasts from Germany and around the world over the three days to try over 700 beers. So no doubt about it, that’s quite a number.

For those attending for the first time, there’s a right way and a wrong way to attack BKL 2015. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your beer adventure:

Stay hydrated & lay down a base.

Drink water! Lots of it and don’t wait until you arrive at the event because once you’re there you’ll get distracted by all the tasty brews and forget H2O even exists 😉

A good rule of thumb is one glass of water per glass of beer… Also think what you drink; don’t just gulp it down, look at what’s in your glass, smell it and savor it. What are you drinking? How does it look? Does the aroma or flavor remind you of something?

Eat before you get there! Having your stomach filled with food will help soak up the alcohol and keep you going throughout the day. There will be a food court in the exhibition hall to get anything from a small snack to a full meal but nothing is free as we all know. A good tip, make a Pretzel necklace… this has become a must-have going to beer fests or conferences. You think that’s cheesy? Try it and see all those jealous looks from those who don’t have one 😉

And keep in mind you’ll eventually have to go and empty your bladder…and guys this is for you especially… the lines are long! As a girl, we always have to wait twice, three or four times as long as the boys, not so at beer events.

Do your reserach – Prepare wisely!
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This year’s beer list is long. Take a few minutes before you leave to look at the breweries and beer line-up. Of course you can just go with the flow and hop from booth to booth, but you’re likely to miss some tasty rare treats which will be gone quick or have gotten replaced by another beer by the time you get to the booth.

Braufactum, one of BKL 2015’s premium partners, will release their new Hoppy Strong Saison, which they brewed specially for this event. In addition to that they will present their new international partners Mikkeller, Gypsy Inc. from Denmark and Birrificio Italiano from Northern Italy.

Love hops? Swing by the hop experts Joh. Barth & Sohn’s booth and check out two new hop varieties Monroe and Relax.

Also, take a break from cruising through the hall and visit one of the Masterclasses and learn more about beer, brewing techniques & ingredients or get a glimpse into the suds-soaked world of a brewer.

Try styles you haven’t had.

If you live in Germany and/or are German you think you know all the “important” beer styles… well… there’s a world beyond Pils, Weizen, Altbier, Kölsch or Bock beers… You probably have heard of Berliner Weisse, Stouts, Porters, Pale Ales and India Pale Ales (IPA’s), but what about Barleywine, Saison, Wit beer or Sour Ale? And what the heck is a Gruit beer or the difference between a Midwest Coast IPA vs “normal” IPA? Hey Urban Chestnut, what the heck is a Midwest Coast IPA? 😉

Again, check out the beer list, find out what Braukunst Live 2015 has to offer and hunt down the rare and unusual creations.

Last but not least…

…enjoy the festival. I’d love to bump into some readers for a chat or a Cheers!

See you there!

Hungry B[e]erliners turn out for Sausage & Beer Market

The second year of the Wurst & Bier Markt on Feb. 8th in Berlin was a smash hit. The organizers Slow Food Berlin, Wurstsack and Heidenpeters teaIMG_6882med up with the Markthalle Neun crew to host this tasty event.

Thousands of hungry and thirsty people from Berlin and from across the globe showed up to consume beef- and pork-centric sausages and craft beer made by twenty constructive butchers and twenty craft breweries from Berlin, Germany or around Europe!

IMG_6869A large variety of Pils’, Pale Ales and IPA’s were featured to suit the dazzling array of cured sausages, smoked sausages, fresh ones and aged ones. But also a fine selection of darker beers and not to forget Berliner Weisse were offered alongside vegetarian food options, something for all tastes!

There was beer and sausage-themed merchandise available as well as sausage and beer pairings presented by Hendrik Haase aka Wurstsack and Koyka Stoyanova from Berliner Beer Academy, who demonstrated how sausage and beer accompany each other and which works best together.

So there’s the overview… let’s talk about the [some of the] beers that stood out for me and which I happily consumed ;)!

BrewBaker

BrewBaker // I started off with – how could it be otherwise – their Berliner Weisse, a cloudy blond and crisp Weisse with a slightly fruity aroma and refreshing tart flavor. I’ve had it before from the bottle and was very pleased with it, but from tap it’s even better.

Ale-mania // Next up was Fritz’ Gose, his Saison and Belgian IPA. I had the chance to zwickel the Gose and Belgian IPA a couple weeks ago while visiting his brew house in Bonn and was very happy to sample both again. The highlight was his Saison though. Very fresh, peppery and a great balance between coriander and orange peel, nice body and smooth.

The Monarchy // After two old German beer styles, I couldn’t leave out The Monarchy’s Methusalem, an Adambier – old traditional Dortmund style. It’s a strong sour beer brewed with lots of hops. Aromas of dried fruits, caramel, dark malt and old wine. Flavor is bitter-sweet, full bodied with a vinous and tart-sourish finish. Good stuff!

Brewcifer

Brewcifer // On the board: Hops & Needles and Spark. Two brews who stood out for me on this day. I’ve heard about Brewcifer – a gypsy brewery from Hamburg – but never had a chance to try his beer, so it was long overdue. Both ales are definitely not your average beers. Hops & Needles, a pale ale brewed with spruce tips: sweet malty aroma with citrus hops and hints of oranges and pine needles which all repeat in the flavor. Spark, a chili spiced IPA, was …awesome! Who knows me gets the idea how I react when I hear chili beer, and hoppy chili, well that’s just right up my alley! It’s brewed with Bhut Jolokia, so you get a little spice – and only the spice not the unwanted green bell pepper flavor!! – but it’s surprisingly mellow with nice citrus hop aromas.

There were many other good beers that made it in my glass: Cherry on Top by Freigeist, From Asia With Love and Imperial Chocolate Mint Stout by Pax Bräu, Backbone Splitter and the new Black Nizza by Hanscraft; Schoppe Bräu’s XPA and Holy Shit and Wildwuchs’ Fastmoker Pils.

Last but not least two new craft breweries that surprised me with their solid brews. Flying Flying TurtleTurtle, a brew collective of Dan Stein, a Detroit native who moved to Europe eight years ago and Thorsten Schoppe, brewmaster of Schoppe Bräu, poured two brews – their Return of Pils and Kickstarter Pale Ale – from … well…. a flying turtle! One would describe it as a craft beer bike, they call it their “infernal machine” or simply an eye-catcher!

BRLOSecond BRLO, a craft beer start-up of three dedicated college friends, presented a Pale Ale and a Helles. BRLO? Did they forget a letter or two? No, I was told. BRLO is the old Slavic term for Berlin and by adding -in it changes to “swamp” or “dry patch of land in the wetlands”. And their name speaks for itself, traditional handcrafted beers, brewed with sustainable, local ingredients reinterpreted for the modern craft beer enthusiast!

In a nutshell, it was a incredible day with delicious bites and amazing sips for every taste topped off with great talks and even greater people. I hope I get to go again next year and recommend everybody who’s in the area shouldn’t miss stopping by Heidenpeters in Markthalle 9 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday afternoons and try one of their house beers or guest brews. It’s worth it!

Next up: BrauKunst Live in Munich. See you then!

Cheers!!

Berlin, Berlin….

“Berlin, Berlin, we’re driving to Berlin…” – actually I’m flying – to explore Deutschland’s great capital with the hubby… and maybe have one or two local beers 😉

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Last time I was there was in 2001 and hubby has never been, so I’m sureo lots has changed and our list of sights & places we want to see is long: Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, of course, Siegessäule, Holocaust memorial and the Berliner Dom to only mention a few…

Oh and did I mention we happen to be there right when this years Wurst & Bier market (sausage & beer fest) returns to Markthalle 9 for the second time this Sunday in Berlin Kreuzberg…. what a coincidence 😉

Last year it was a complete success! They were flooded by people who curious about how those two traditional German crafts accompany each other.

Many local craft butchers and breweries but also Brewers from all over Germany will be there to show off their brews and pair some of them with local artisan sausages and other specialities.

There will be sausage & beer tastings, show brewing & sausage crafting, and special beer & sausage pairings such as “Räucherbier und Geräuchertes” [smoked beer and smoked sausages] with Rory Lawton from Berlin Craft Beer and Franz Pozelt from Slow Food Berlin!

I’m looking forward seeing, smelling and tasting what this diverse city, a place with so much history has to offer, how it changed and how I will walk through the streets now compared to when I was in my teens, with a different mindset and a much better camera 😉
I’m excited to see a few of our friends and craft beer family again, to meet new people and as always find some excellent and interesting brews!

Hope to meet you there until then,

Cheers!