Lederhosen in Lidl, Beer for Breakfast: Some Reflections on Munich

We’ve been to Munich several times, but rarely for more than a couple of days, and not often together.

This time we went with the spe­cif­ic inten­tion of real­ly being in Munich – not jump­ing on trains to oth­er near­by towns, or rac­ing from one beer des­ti­na­tion to anoth­er in pur­suit of ticks and tro­phies.

We began by find­ing accom­mo­da­tion in the sub­urbs, part­ly to save mon­ey, but also because the best times we’ve had on recent trips abroad have been beyond the imme­di­ate cen­tres of cities.

The neigh­bour­hood we end­ed up in was one where peo­ple live, walk their dogs, drowse on bench­es, smoke behind school bike sheds, and use ten-foot plas­tic pluck­ers to pick plums. The hous­es were post-war but con­ser­v­a­tive (Bavaria is not a hotbed of mod­ernism) with con­crete lions on their gateposts and plas­tic elves in their flowerbeds.

Every cor­ner had a polit­i­cal poster or two: BAVARIAN PARTYCHOOSE FREEDOM! ÖDPYOUNG, AND FIERCELY ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS! The only AFD posters we saw in our part of town had been either torn down or van­dalised, the can­di­dates giv­en square black mous­tach­es with swipes of mark­er pens.

We drank our first beer in Munich at a pub-restau­rant above the tube sta­tion, on the main road into town, as rain ham­mered the para­sols in the emp­ty beer gar­den.

Ayinger Helles beer.

Ayinger Helles isn’t from Munich, it’s from Aying, and after a twelve-hour train trip, tast­ed great.

The pub was some­how both a bit too posh (table­cloths and orna­ments) and noth­ing spe­cial – limp sal­ad, ser­vice on the SCREW YOU! end of brusque – but the beer was served with all due cer­e­mo­ny. The glass, a sim­ple Willibech­er, was so clean it sang at the touch of a fin­ger, and had plen­ty of room for a crown of foam.

Look at the room through the beer and every­thing seems clear­er than with­out. It cer­tain­ly looks warmer.

A touch sweet, a touch of corn, almost watery, and yet… Yes, anoth­er, please.

After all, as every­one knows, sev­er­al thin coats rather than one thick leads to a more even, con­sis­tent fin­ish.

A good start.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Leder­ho­sen in Lidl, Beer for Break­fast: Some Reflec­tions on Munich”

News, Nuggets & Longreads 23 April 2016 – Takeovers, Spruce, Helles

Here’s what’s grabbed our attention in beer news and writing in the last week, from spruce beer to brewery takeovers, via brewery takeovers and, er, more brewery takeovers…

→ Let’s get AB-InBev’s acqui­si­tion spree out of the way first: Ital­ian web­site Cronache di Bir­ra broke the news yes­ter­day that the glob­al giant as acquired Bir­ra del Bor­go. Here’s the most inci­sive com­men­tary so far:

→ Relat­ed: remem­ber when we pon­dered what it must feel like to sell your brew­ery? Well, we’ve now been treat­ed to two sub­stan­tial pieces in which the founders of brew­eries absorbed by AB-InBev reflect on the expe­ri­ence. First, Jasper Cup­paidge of Cam­den Town was inter­viewed by Susan­nah But­ter for the Evening Stan­dard, per­haps express­ing more inse­cu­ri­ty than he intend­ed or realised:

Every­one has their opin­ions. We’re more craft than ever because that gives us the abil­i­ty to brew more beer our­selves. The beer tastes as good as last week, if not bet­ter. Some peo­ple want to remain inde­pen­dent but it’s like, Mike there wears Con­verse, I like Vans. Every­one has their cool thing.”

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 23 April 2016 – Takeovers, Spruce, Helles”

QUOTE: Dear and Doubtful, 1902

But as English Bass is never quite the real article on the Continent, so Münchener is never quite the real thing in England. Whether beers have to be fortified or not for a voyage outside their own country they have a tendency to be both doubtful and dear. Bass is too ‘gassy’ on the Continent; Munich too biting in England… In its native beer-gardens Münchener is the prince of beers – brown and bland and soft, with a cream of froth like a beaten egg, a delicate flavour, cold, yet not icy, refreshing to the body, and comforting to the stomach…”

W.R. Holt, ‘Ger­mans and their Drinks’, Dai­ly Express, 04/09/1902

(Brown and bland – count us in!)