Beer Tales from Bavaria

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard


Franz Hofer
People and personalities. It’s the reason I love beer travel so much. I’ve met people from all walks of life in North America and Europe since starting this blog, be it folks who have left comfortable careers to follow the siren call of the brewhouse, or people who visit these breweries and taprooms in search of new drinking experiences and the conviviality that comes with them. I’ve made fast acquaintances and lifelong friends over pints in places as diverse as Montreal, Tokyo, and the rural Flemish countryside surrounding Brussels.

But nowhere is this sense of conviviality more pronounced than in the taverns and beer gardens of Germany and Austria, particularly Bavaria. This has everything to do with the communal nature of seating in beer halls, pubs, and beer gardens, where every seat at every table save the Stammtisch (regulars’ table) is up for grabs. Rarely will you find two-seat or four-seat tables more common to restaurants and cafes. Rather, longer tables that typically seat anywhere from six to twelve are the order of the day. If there’s an unoccupied seat at a table, even an eight-seater that’s been reserved by a party of six, simply ask if the seat is free, then sit down, order your beer, and enjoy your solitude or engage in conversation according to your wont. And if you’re alone at a table enjoying your solitude, note that it’s the height of rudeness to answer that the seats around you aren’t free for the taking.

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Episode 96 – Dancing The Con Con

Join us for a live podcast from Homebrew Con 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island. We talk to AHA Director Gary Glass, hop expert Stan Hieronymus, Alex Rumbolz about what’s new from Yakima Chief Hops, lots of other conference attendees, and even get in an experiment! Did we get the blind triangle tasting right? Did anybody?

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It’s easier than ever to get good beer delivered right to your door in Pennsylvania. Here are our favorite ways.

It’s easier than ever to get good beer delivered right to your door in Pennsylvania. Here are our favorite ways.

It’s never been easier to be a lazy craft beer lover in Pennsylvania.*

While the state may be known for its archaic alcohol regulations, those laws are changing almost constantly, and now there are actually quite a few legal ways to get beer delivered right to your door. The hardest part is choosing what you want to try first — and maybe the wait, depending on how badly you need a drink.

It’s never been easier to be a lazy craft beer lover in Pennsylvania.*

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: 29?


“But hey, it’s not supposed to be dark but it IS American!?”

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I can’t tell you where this happened, or the circumstances, or why more likely than not there HAD TO BE an out of style issue during this judging session. But none of that matters, really. What matters is what would be best, the right, score? I don’t care for exactness: we’re talking that scoring guide on the lower left side of the traditional judging form… Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Fair and Problematic. Since you are unable to assess this beer in person an exact score is obviously out of the question, though I will tell you the score I gave it.
 I have no interest in challenging those who judged this beer with me, or who ran the event. I was impressed with all of them: very professional. This, really, is a matter of perspective in the final analysis. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: 29?”

The Hidden Secrets of the NEIPA


The New England IPA (NEIPA) or Hazy IPA is a unique beer style that continues to climb in popularity. More and more breweries are starting to emulate the phenomenon known as the “haze craze,” giving way to opaque, cloudy glasses with intense tropical fruit notes. In its GABF competition debut, the Hazy IPA style category featured the most entries out of any other style to date with 391 entries. Toppling its predecessor of the American Indian Pale Ale (IPA) with 311 entries that held the podium since 2002.

The Hazy IPA offers massive hop flavor, but with a smooth mouthfeel and bitterness; opening the door to both hop heads and people who don’t usually connect with bitter beers. One reason to help explain is looking at how hops are introduced. Hop additions are primarily added in the whirlpool and fermenter. Yes, you read that correctly. We said fermenter with little to no hops added to the kettle. Hop additions on the cold side takes advantage of the biotransformation that takes place when yeast converts oxygenated hop oils into fruity tasting esters, acetates, and other compounds.

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NE-IPA’s Quest for “Juicy” Has Led Us Toward Increasingly Undrinkable Beer, and “Hop Burn” is the Culprit


This spring, my fiance and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, a beer destination we’ve visited numerous times in the past. Asheville is a beautiful little hub for beer, filled with breweries both large and small, all striving to find a niche for themselves in both the local craft beer community and the greater national beer scene. It’s an excellent place to take stock of national trends, and see how they’re playing out in the microcosm of one intensely beer-focused city. It’s also an excellent place to hike and eat doughnuts, but that’s beside the point.

Sitting on the riverside patio of a large regional brewery in the area (okay, it was New Belgium), on a very lovely day, in the middle of a very lovely vacation, my fiance took a sip of her hazy IPA, and her face scrunched into a disapproving pucker. Bear in mind, this is a woman who loves craft beer, and whose favorite style throughout her life has often been India pale ale. Nor is she opposed to hazy, NE-IPA, either. She wasn’t reacting with dissatisfaction because of an inherent opinion she had about the style—she ordered that hazy IPA fully expecting to enjoy it, as we have many others. But what she said next perfectly crystalized one of the biggest issues in modern craft beer.

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Beer Profile: Landlines’ Urban Artifact Banana, Raspberry and Orange Fruit Tart

This is so unique I’m not sure where to place it. Low carbonation, base ale is very basic, very pale ale malt-ish, and not much of it. Body is high side of light but the tart, the fruit, all make it seem more complex. The fruit dominates and I can taste all three. It’s neither dry nor sweet in the finish. No hops sensed in the nose: doesn’t need that.

It would be nice if we just had a hint more malt: hint Special B, Maris Otter… not much at all, just enough to hint at “beer.” Body might help too with a little a-amylase rest at 154-162. Try highest of those. And malto dextrin to add hint body, not taste.

Finishes sweet. As a fruit beer it can. There’s a lot of leeway here.
Head retention poor. Head color off white. Almost no head.

Carbonation is light: could use more. Medium body. You can almost feel the fruit sense on the palate. The slightest hint of high alpha hops might help: a pellet every 5 gallons maybe? Or hint more fermentation tabs and fermentables just to increase and NO MORE.

No clarity: very hazy. The quaff is orange in color. Almost no head: with all this fruit and acidity might be unavoidable. Surface tension may be an issue to, which again with all this may be unavoidable. I wouldn’t want to change pure liquid pleasure of this just for more head.

3.9BA
4 Untappd
3.4 RB

4.2

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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_____________________________Beer HERE

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Beer Profile: Staropolskie Chimielne Beer

Profiled by Ken Carman

Hint of chill haze, otherwise clarity good. Golden gold with yellow highlights. No head except rim of glass: small bubbles. Head fades fast: pure foam. Head fades fast, clings desperately to side of glass.

2.81 Untappd, 2.4 Rate Beer, 3.71 Beer Advocate.

This is called a Dortmunder. Not as grainy as the other, but hint more caramel. This is a little fruity: tad lemon and orange like. Finishes just a hint sweet. No hops sensed. Low side medium body.

Caramel in nose, less taste. Tad sweet, almost sugary: refined sugar. No hops in nose. Malt seems pils-like, mostly

High side low carbonation mouthfeel, tad slick… not much.

This is a Dortmunder but stay tuned for the next profile: they call that a Dortmunder too. By “they” I mean Beer Advocate. The brewery really doesn’t specify. I was expecting something unique to Poland, like a Gratzer However it is excellent and I would recommend it for those who love lagers. I would drink one and move on, but only because I’m an ale lover. I imagine a lager lover would love either of these polish brews. As I typed, “Stay tuned!”

4.0

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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____________________________Beer HERE

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Deschutes “L’il Squeezy”: Hedonistic Goes Lite!

“Nugget, Citra, Azacca, El Dorado, Chinook…”

“2-Row, Munich, C15, Golden Naked Oats…”

“5% ABV…”

“40 IBU…”

“Juicy…!”

Mundane details. Every beer’s got ’em. Many go on for pages, like the fastener list for a space shuttle. But only ONE word matters, in choosing a beer, and it’s none of those. Quantity, in beer ingredients, does NOT = Quality, in any sense.

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