I was lucky enough to spend two weeks at the World Cup in Germany in 2006 with various friends. We had tickets for five games but also made a point of watching every other match we could in pubs, restaurants and beer gardens. As you might expect, there were many memorable beer occasions, but the one that sticks with me most is spending a few days in Rothenburg ob der Tauber between matches. Even in those pre-blogging days, I was sufficiently interested in beer to want to try as many as possible, whereas my main travelling companion was a fan of “normal lager, like normal people drink”.
We camped out in the back room of a café that specialised in Flammkuchen to watch all three of the day’s matches, while the staff brought us pint after pint of Ochsenfurter Kauzenbrau, which I found remarkably delicious. Unfortunately, as my friend did the ordering, I have no idea which one of their range it was (“I just ordered normal beer”). I drank at least six pints, way more than usual — it was just impossible to stop. Serious nectar-of-the-Gods territory, with a deep malt flavour that I sometimes think I can still taste. They were three very memorable matches, too, particularly the Czech Republic vs USA, made even more enjoyable by the banter with three Americans on the table in front of us.
The disappointing postscript to this is that, on a subsequent trip to Franconia, I dragged Bailey round every pub we could in and around Rothenburg until we found the legendary brew that I’d been banging on about. It turned out to be…OK. Possibly my biggest ever beer let down, and more evidence, perhaps, of “the time, the place”.
Other beery highlights from the world cup include watching a Germany match in the Englischer Garten in Munich, where the efficient German machine managed to serve more than 3000 litres during half time.