This blog doesn’t get much action of late as what more is to be said of beer geekery and the nonsense, hubris, self-importance & general idiocy that goes along with elevating the inconsequential to something of serious importance? Not a lot. I still enjoy reading beer blogs, though. The dafter the better.
One thing I was long meaning to do, in order to immerse myself into beer geekery, was to take a beer trip. These are different from other trips. Normals. Regular people. What I still pretend I am. These people go to places for a more usual purpose. A business meeting, a desire to take a holiday, get some sunshine or experience a culturally interesting destination of baroque architecture, climb a hill & see a view or something or other. Beer geeks go places for the beer. That is the reason for going, no other.
I happen to be familiar with a few beery type destinations. Munich and its surroundings being one. It is one of 2 cities (London being the other) where the tube map is more or less a matter of memory. Something I cannot even say of the Trams of Manchester. The thing is I never went there or anywhere else for the beer. I went places out of interest, for business, for sunshine, to see friends, to romance a lady friend (a dirty weekend, in colloquial English). Never specifically to drink a beer. This experience is missing from my life. Time to correct that error. Time to graduate.
If I’m going to be able to say I understand beer geeks, it takes more than going to a few beer festivals, volunteering once or twice to experience that side of it, attend a CAMRA meeting, do a twiss up (an internet organised meeting of beer enthusiasts organised via twitter), go around multi beer pubs and try different types of bitter.
So, I’m doing Bamberg. There are reasons. Those are, I’ve never been here so I have no reason to be here other than to drink a beer. The legend that is Tandleman reckons it’s a decent enough beer destination. There is an actual published beer guide of the area, showing other beer geeks have noted & documented its gaffs. I bought a copy to tick off stuff with. I’ve a couple of weeks between gigs. What’s to do? Tick off stuff in a book about beer. That's what.
So, I punted up to Bamberg. With my guide book. Where did I go first? I went where every beer tourist probably goes first, I punted up to Schlenkerla & had a Rauchbier & a Bierhaxe (Schweinhaxe but with beer gravy) in the beer garden. It was quite nice. I liked it. The Rauchbier is the dark smoky lager. Bit of an acquired taste. Ungewöhnlich is the German for unusual and the German lad sat at my table appeared impressed I knew that word whilst agreeing the beer was ungewöhnlich. Unusual though it is, I quite like it. I first drank it in Manchester at the beer festival the Tandleman organises and liked it there.
I made sure I ticked it off in my guide book. It had been a long day travelling so I pottered back to the hotel via the Spezial and tried the lighter Rauchbier in there. More chuggable stuff is my expert opinion on that one as I carefully noted it's lighter smokiness. I ticked off the gaff having had one in the beer garden and one in the gaff itself.
Dead exciting this innit? Feeling like somehow, I could now consider myself a fully graduated member of the beer geekery elite. A communicator, a sommelier, a curator, I pottered back to the hotel to have a kip and map out the next few days of wandering about, talking to German people, drinking beers, eating pork based meals and generally chill axing away from the cut and thrust of dynamic entrepreneur life.
I might even do a follow up post on other places I tick off and even give mention to Erlanger Nick, an American drunk, resident of these parts, twitter beer tweeter & member of the League of Tandlemen when I pop to Erlangen on the train.
One tip. Put the DB Bahn application on your phone if you do stuff like this. Makes train tickets dead easy.