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Germany, a search for the perfect beer

So here we begin, I begin at least. My husband Josiah had already been travelling for a few weeks before I arrived. While I am the primary blogger, most of this post is actually about Josiah’s experiences, and his favourite thing to do?… well the title speaks for itself.
Josiah travelled with a team from his university to attend the International Robocup Competition, which this year was held in Leipzig Germany. Yes robots have their very own international football (soccer) competition. (www.robocup2016.org)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Robocup 2016, Leipzig

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Josiah, sampling an Erdinger Dünkel

Along with Leipzig, Josiah also ventured to Erlangen and Bamberg. Both stunning northern Bavarian cities with one very important liquid commodity. Nearly all the beers he tried in Germany are delicious, but several deserve a special mention. The wheat beer (Weisse bier) is excellent, with a slight sweetness and banana aftertaste. Josiah’s favourites include the Erdinger Weisse and Maisel’s Weisse. Erdineger Weisse is found frequently in northern areas (including Berlin) and Maisel’s Weisse throughout Bavaria. Nearly every local dark beer tastes amazing, and Dünkels are quite tasty in general. Some beers are kept natural after brewing (instead of being treated for microbes), and will show up on menu’s as “kellerbier” or cellar beer. These varieties have a lot of extra delicious flavours and are well worth trying. You will sometimes find unfiltered versions, especially at breweries. These often have a better flavour than the filtered versions, so if the extra flavour appeals then these should be preferred for light (not dark) beers. All these beers are amazing, and coming from Australia where craft brewing is only in its infancy, there are many “wow” moments.

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Leipzig
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Bach, St Thomas Church, Leipzig
Auerbachs Keller is a restaurant in Leipzig which appears in the famous play Faust. It was Goethe’s favourite wine cellar when he was a student! It’s something of a tourist attraction today, but the food is good and Auerbachs Keller brews its own beer. The dark beer is particularly good, and quite strong. There is an attached bar – the Mephisto bar (after the ‘Devil’ in the Faust play) which is  quite atmospheric and serves great cocktails. St. Thomas Church, located in central Leipzig, is where Bach worked and is buried. There was a wedding the day Josiah visited, and the gargantuan pipe organ sounded impressive. Outside the church is Bach’s statue, and a collection of buskers playing Bach, adding atmosphere to the surroundings. There are quite a few beer gardens and a beautiful park next to the cathedral, making it an ideal place to stop for a drink or a bite to eat.
Bamberg
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The Old Town Hall, Bamberg

Bamberg is home to a particularly famous smoked beer or ‘rauchbeer’. This should definitely be tried with the pork shoulder (another local delicacy) and it is something of an acquired taste. Bamberg is a gorgeous city with the Regnitz River running through its town centre. The views from the bridges are very picturesque. The Old Town Hall or Bridge Town Hall once served as a neutral border separating the civil and ecclesiastical areas of Bamberg. Bamberg is also home to a 13th century cathedral and archbishop’s seat. The cathedral is free to enter, with the most notable art piece being the statue of the Bamberg Horseman, although the other art works in the cathedral are definitely worth seeing.

Erlangen
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Schlossgarten, Erlangen

Erlangen’s town center is not built up like other cities such as Berlin and Nuremberg. It has a light, sunny feel to walk around, especially in the Schlossgarten. Erlangen is also home to a beer festival held in May, the Erlangen Bergkirchweih, which is 55 years older than the famous Oktoberfest and attracts over a million visitors every year. This festival originates in the high hill overlooking Erlangen. Before the development of refrigeration, brewers would use caves in the hill to keep beer cool while brewing during the warmer months. These days, it is a big event for locals and visitors alike, with many locals planning where and when to celebrate months in advance.

Berlin 
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Berlin Cathedral & the Spree River, Berlin
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Erdinger Weiss and Berliner Kindl, Schleusenkrug Beer Garden, Berlin

I arrived in Berlin to meet Josiah in my jet-lagged state to a husband very excited about beer! I have to admit I don’t enjoy beer all that much, but I love the beer in Germany! My favourite was the Raspberry Berliner Kindl – a sour beer from Berlin that’s sweetened with a raspberry or lime additive (and yes I drank it with a straw…!). Of course Berlin is the capital of Germany and iconic in it’s history and it’s buildings and monuments. If I start writing about it now that’s at least several blog entries worth! It was lovely to relax after long day of sightseeing at the Schleusenkrug Restaurant and Beer Garden (close to Berlin Zoo).

And the winner is!
img_0322-copyThe crown for the most “mindblowingly” delicious beer must go to the Leipziger Gose. This can be found in the brewery at Bayerischer Bahnhof, Leipzig. It’s advisable to book ahead if eating there, as the restaurant is quite popular. It’s difficult to describe the taste of Gose (although it has been compared to the “butterbeer” from Harry Potter). Gose is made with a small amount of yoghurt bacteria culture, and uses salt and coriander to season the beer. This should not put off people who don’t like coriander, as the final taste is more like hops minus the bitterness. Combined with a very slight hint of sourness, this makes Gose exceptionally refreshing and drinkable… dangerously so!
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One thought on “Germany, a search for the perfect beer

  1. Great blog Bec, my hubby and I are reading this in Bali where Bintang is the beer of choice. (I’m not a beer lover either but Steve is. He feels it lacks depth but in a tropical climate it is wet and cheaper than water. I can’t wait to read your next blog, very entertaining xx

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