I had intended to post from Germany, having got off to a flying start in Bad Bayersoien. Alas the other places I stayed in offered no terminals for internet access, although some did offer free access should you have your own means of doing so. I didn't fancy carrying a lap top on my bike - so no good to me and internet cafes seemed a little thin on the ground. In any event the mountainous terrain had me too knackered to care most of the time!
The area I was in is roughly two hours from Munich by train - say around a hundred miles, but the big Munich five have made their presence felt. In fact it was harder to acquire smaller brewer's beer than in the past, while Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Spaten, Augustiner and Loewenbrau proliferated. In Austria local brewers seemed to have given up the ghost. When I enquired about why there was no Austrian beer available apart from basic helles (called export there,) I was usually told that German beer is better!
I suspect that price is the real issue here. The small brewers do little to distinguish themselves by producing more interesting or better beers than the big boys and the big boys will win on price. I predict an end to many of the smaller brewers - they have little going for them in some ways, with an indifferent home market where the word "bier" is synonomous with a pale golden fluid of no real character and a complacent approach that is worrying.
With some notable exceptions, German brewers are sleep walking into history!
I will post soon about some of the small brewers and their beer, but for now, I'm catching up at home! The picture is of one such demised brewery,
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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