Mainz Pt 1 — Eisgrub

We’re still struggling to get internet access but here, from the cosy Wi-Fi enabled Cafe New York in Bamberg, are a couple of quick posts.

Mainz is not a beer destination, but we knew that before we came. It does have loads of great pubs in the Altstadt, but they’re pretty much all focussed on the local wine. But if there’s more to your life than beer, then Mainz is a nice place to base yourself to explore Rhineland villages etc (though Koblenz is probably more cutesy).

The beer is mostly mass-produced nationals: Radeburger, Bitburger etc, and Binding from Frankfurt (rather dull, we thought).

Eisgrubbrau, a brewpub on Weissliliengasse near the Altstadt, is therefore the beer geek’s first port of call. It’s a very cosy place, with lots of little rooms. The food’s good, and the beer is pretty good for a modern brewpub. They do a dunkles-pils, which has a chewy stout-like body, roasted malt and toffee flavours, with some sour notes too. We preferred the Helles-Maerzen, which was very malty and ale like. Toffee, seeds and cereals.

Mainz Pt 2. — a Bridge too Far

We were tipped off the existence of a second, out-of-the-way brewpub in Mainz by this website.

Brauhaus Castel is in Mainz-Kastel, on the other side of the Rhine and technically in another state (Hesse, rather than Rhineland-Pfalz). We walked, enjoying the beautiful sunset over a river full of huge cargo barges, and the sound of Greece vs Russia on the air from the open air screens by the river.

It took a while, once we’d detoured around the, erm, ‘grey’ bit on the map.

If you take on this trek yourself, head for the middle stretch of the Otto-Suhr Ring where it meets Boelckestrasse and turn right past KFC, the Beate Uhse out-of-town erotic superstore and some open country, and you’ll find the pub nestled in a quiet corner off the main road.

It’s got a great atmosphere. Perhaps a bit kitsch inside, but with some nice trellises and plants outside that create a far more Arcadian feel than the industrial-estate surroundings might suggest.

The beer? Not so good, to be frank. The dunkel reminded us of our homebrew (not always a good thing) and had too much crystal malt. The EM Special (a European Championship seasonal) was a bit sweet, boasting “light hopping” on the menu. The wheat beer was the best of the bunch, with lots of banana aromas and a nice punch of bitterness.

We can’t, in all honesty, recommend trekking out here, but if you’re stuck in Mainz for any length of time, or are just an incorrigible ticker, it’s worth a visit.

Our top tip: the much more convenient and just as idyllic beer garden in the grounds of the Roman museum by the river (on Grosse Bleiche), where we very much enjoyed the Erbacher Pils. It looks like another dull regional lager, but knocked our socks off with a lot of bitterness and tons of what might almost have been Goldings aroma. We were surrounded by grand, red baroque buildings and serenaded by a scarily proficient youth orchestra. And, what’s more, a proportion of our spend went to maintaining the museum.

Crowdsourcing Breweries

This post at Springwise was brought to our attention by our chum Charlie.

The gist of it is, a company is starting a brewery and, for a fee, you can buy your way into the decision making process. All the decisions, from the timetable for opening to the recipes for the beers it brews, will be decided by the members of the trust.

This is what, in the modern vernacular, is known as crowdsourcing.

This is similar to what happened at AFC WImbledon, an English football club which was bought by its fans a few years back, and there’s a similar brewery already operating in New Zealand (Kieran — have you come across this lot?).

Is this the answer to all those beer geeks who think they know better than brewers..?