Beer styles Germany

The one that got away

Augsburger Plaerrer billboard from 2007

A recent discussion about Steinbier reminded us of a trip to Augsburg, Bavaria, in 2007.

We were armed with our well-worn copy of Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide which, back then, we referred to in reverent tones as “The Book”.

The Book told us that, in Augsburg, we had to try Rauchenfelser Steinbier (“Style: Stone Beer”), an amber lager darkened and given a “smoky, treacle-toffee flavour” by burning hot rocks chucked into the boil.

What The Book commanded, we did. Or tried to do, at least: there was no Steinbier to be found. The brewery, we were told, after we had undertaken much schlepping and hunting, had closed. Under the impression that this was the only Steinbier on the market, we left Germany mourning the one that got away.

Now we hear from well informed sources that other German breweries make Steinbier, so perhaps, one day, we’ll get to try one after all. There’s something a little poignant about knowing that a specific beer has passed away before you got chance to know it, but at least it beats missing out on a whole family of beers.

We remember Augsburg fondly. We hit town as the Plärrer (folk festival) was in full flow, drank too much of a delicious beer that tasted just like sausages, and Boak threw up in a flowerbed. Happy times.