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.

Craft Beer Meets Bundesliga

Granted, as a soccer fan and craft beer geek it’s not easy to find a good beer, not to mention craft beer, at one of the 36 Bundesliga stadiums in Germany. Aside from a few exceptions Pilseners of major sponsoring breweries rule the ranks of the stadiums and even the booths on the sports grounds. So unless you’re tailgating with a great craft beer in hand, you most likely have to suck it up and hand over the big bucks for a mass-produced beer!

It has become somewhat of a ritual for hubby and me to go to the stadium with a couple craft brews in the pockets, taking a picture at the train stop while waiting for the S-Bahn, toasting to a good game and get on the train with our fellows 🙂

It wasn’t any different at last nights derby game – SG Eintracht Frankfurt – FSV Mainz. We decided on the Palor and Colonia by the local Frankfurt microbrewery Braufactum.IMG_6950

Palor is an English style Pale Ale brewed with Cascade and Polaris hops. Since we drank from the bottles [and you can’t taste color] I’m skipping the appearance description.

Cascade and Polaris give the Palor a distinct aromatic character with fruity, minty, slightly citrusy aroma notes. Good medium body and carbonation. Bold flavor of sweet malt, caramel, spices, and bread, leading to a dry finish. Actually a little too dry for my taste.

IMG_6956Colonia is not the typical Kölsch as you may think [and I thought] from the name, but a “Rhenisch-style bitter-beer” brewed with Saphir hops.

Bitter-beer? I must admit, I’ve never heard of this style but reading about the style it’s like an “Ur-Kölsch”, basically the ancestor of the Kölsch as we know today. That explains why I didn’t like it as a Kölsch. Although the aroma had notes of flowers and hops, its flavor was sweet with notes of malt and straw with a very bitter dry finish.

Bitter-beers are a top fermented ales, with a flavor probably something between Altbier and Kölsch, which makes it relatively quaffable but with a high malt content, which makes the beer sweeter.

We also met up with our friend Jörn, a SGE and beer fan, who is a local [craft beer] IMG_6955restaurant owner and one of the founders of the Craft Beer Zentrum!

His drink of choice last night was Pax Bräu’s Black Gold Lakritz [licorice] Oatmeal Stout. Great choice – says the one who doesn’t like licorice!! … no sarcasm intended

I was positively surprised. Thanks for sharing by the way.

It poured pitch black with a small white head – at that point we were equipped with plastic cups! The aroma was of roasted malts, hints of dark chocolate mixed with licorice. The taste was smooth also with roasty malts and slightly salty licorice; light bodied yet creamy. For me the licorice was overpowering the oatmeal though.

With the last sip we headed towards the gate and our seats and back into the Pilsener-emporium, ready to see our team take on the Mainzers!

If you care, we [Eintracht] won 2-2… it should have been 4-2 though!!!