The New York Times travel section has a fantastic piece on German beer culture. German beer is fantastic – almost invariably – but it can be frustrating to go to cities hundreds of miles apart and find that the menus have the same four styles: helles, pils, dunkel and wheat beer. Where have all the local speciality styles gone, asks Evan Rail?
“It happened very quickly,” said Ron Pattinson, whose European Beer Guide lists many obsolete and rare German beers, including broyhan from Hannover, mumme from Braunschweig and keut from Münster. “The older styles were overwhelmed, and what we’ve got left are just the odd remnants of beers. It’s like a landscape that has been swamped, and you can just make out the odd tree and hilltop.”
Rail hunts down the remnants of local German beer styles, including Leipzig’s Gose:
The Gose was amazing, with a mild taste of salt immediately noticeable in its thick, mousse-like head. Its body was light and slightly spicy followed by a remarkably bright finish, more crisp than the most crisp riesling, sharper than the sharpest Chablis, and a better match for tricky citrus and vinaigrette than any wine I’d ever encountered.
Now that’s what I call writing.
A German Beer Trail: Searching for Local Brews – Travel – New York Times
When Scottish and Newcastle decided to stop making McEwan’s 80″ in casks at the end of 2006, the Athletic Arms in Edinburgh came up with a novel solution. They got a local microbrewery to brew a clone, to a recipe devised in consultation with regular drinkers at the pub.
What a great idea.
Story from BBC News Online.
The British Guild of Beer Writers reports on a recent “tasting event” at the Bombay Brasserie in London. Eminent beer experts got together for a curry and tried to work out which beers went best with spicy foods. Their recommendations are here.
Rupert Ponsonby, co-founder of the Beer Academy comments:
What this tasting hopefully shows is the potential for Britain’s 8,500 curry restaurants to look seriously at developing beer lists to inspire their customers and to match with their cuisine. This is a fantastic commercial and marketing opportunity for them. Top Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le Gavroche, Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons and Aubergine have already taken the lead in creating inspired beer lists, and it will be wonderful to see top Indian restaurants doing the same.
On a visit to the Cinnamon Club last year, I was appalled to find that the only beer they had available was Cobra lager. Cobra’s OK – nicer than you’d expect, is what I mean, for a mass-produced lager made in Bedford – but surely not anywhere near as posh as the food, the wine or the waiters? Ms. Boak visited one of Gary Rhodes’ restaurants in the City of London last year, too, and was similarly disappointed by the lack of any beer, never mind a beer list.
Of course, my local curryhouse, which is very cheap and cheerful, is run by Sri Lankans, and they sell wonderful Lion Stout. It’s not a perfect beer to drink with a curry, but it’s a great one to have as a dessert. So, posher isn’t always better for beer lovers.
Stonch, of the internet’s Stonch’s Beer Blog, brings news of a new brewpub in London. For a city this big, it’s surprising there aren’t more (Stonch counts five). But then again, how much would it cost to buy or lease central a London property big enough to accomodate brewing and a pub?
Scientists have carried out research into how a pint keeps (or loses) its head (BBC News Online). One of the scientists involves speculates that the long-lasting creamy head on Guinness might be the result of “a little surfactant“. Eugh.
The article also asserts that “the foam on a pint of lager quickly disappears”. Well, perhaps on a pint of Fosters in a dirty glass, but the head on a glass of lager in Germany sticks around for quite some time. And they’re not using “surfactant” – the sinister and secretive arbiters of the German Beer Purity Law wouldn’t stand for it.