Friday, 11 June 2010

Frankfurt Brewpubs

It wasn't all apfelwein in Frankfurt. We found a little time to visit three brewpubs, none of which particularly excelled in the beer sense, but were pretty competent in that subdued style German hausbrauerei seem to adopt. Two though had very fine beer gardens which were a delight to spend time in on such a hot summer day. It also reminded us, in the second case in particular, of the need to sometimes at least, separate beer from the occasion. This was all about drinking beer in the summer, outside with your friends. Can you think of a better way to sup?

Far along the U Bahn line in a quiet town, Oberursel, the first beers of the day were consumed in a perfect courtyard setting under a beating sun. Alt- Oberurseler Brauhaus had decent enough pils with just enough hop to refresh, while the opalescence was thankfully subdued. The weizen was however bang in the middle of the style and a very decent drink, more of which would have been consumed if we weren't needed elsewhere. To me wheat beer is a perfect summer drink, especially as they did in this case, when they manage to get a balancing bitterness into the clovey, spicy, banana dominated sweetness of wheat.

Bavaria Brauerei models itself on Bavarian beer. Really? Yes! They even had a keller bier which Nick our resident in Franconia pronounced as OK+ and the usual dunkel, pils and weizen. They were pretty good with the dunkel possibly the pick of the bunch. We ate hearty German food there and enjoyed a perfect couple of hours with charming waitresses (regrettably not bedecked in dirndls, but you can't have everything) the buzz of conversation, the clink of cutlery on plate, sunshine dappling through the trees and that feeling that you could happily spend hours there in this timeless German tableau. I'd say drinking beer in a German beer garden or keller has to be one of my favourite ways to do so.*

On Sunday, the more subdued and urban Frankfurter Hausbrauerei was the destination. With probably the slowest service I've ever experienced anywhere (and we were the first customers), we supped the usual dunkel and pils, which were just "all right". Well, two out of three ain't bad!

* The Germans have a word for this - "Gemütlichkeit". This connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time. Thanks Wikipedia. I couldn't put it better and it describes our day perectly.


ChrisM said...

Sounds good, I agree there is something magical about sitting in a beer garden with a pint or half litre :p

When I was in Frankfurt I had to make do with the hotel bar and the restaurant bar (was happy enough with Staropramen Dark, though), and all over the Messe conference centre (I was in awe of that place, it's huuuuge) it was Becks, Becks or Becks.

Tandleman said...

For the dedicated beer hunter there is no Becks, but seriously Frankfurt needs serious upgrading beer wise. And the Messe IS huge.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

Cant beat a good beer garden no matter where in the world it is!!

Paul Garrard said...

I really do think this sums up what beer should be about. Whilst beer quality is important it is about the whole experience.

I studied German many years ago and can't remember much but I remember "Gemütlichkeit" which has been since then one of my favourite words.

Sue said...

And on the Friday we enjoyed 3 more brewpubs in Darmstadt, kindly sourced for us by Tyson.

Erlangernick said...

The Bavaria place was made good by the Apfelwein, which was at least OK+. The Kellerbier wasn't though: murky, fizzy, and bland. (But it was a long day, and we weren't taking actual notes.)

Tandleman said...

I thought it was the kellerbier you liked, but you'd been drinkin'

Or I had.

Erlangernick said...

Look at your photo of the Kellerbier. You think I'd like something like that?!?

It was a splendid time there though, and the Wurst (beef and regular) were GUT. And yes, there was some drinking.

One thing that disappointed though: in a group of nearly 20 CAMRA blokes, not a one of you scooped any Bier or Apfelwein into sample jars to take back home to trade with friends. I was really hoping to observe something beardy-weirdy like that, but alas, I was denied.

Hell, there weren't even any beards among them! (And nobody but me was weird.) Just average, friendly folk from up north. Give them my best and thanks for planning such a great time, eh?

Ron Pattinson said...

A proper German Bierkeller is a wonderful place. I was in two in Buttenheim on Friday. I could have happily styed in either for the rest of the year.

Tandleman said...

I know the two you mean. Andy said "Cant beat a good beer garden no matter where in the world it is!!" Not entirely so in my opinion. The German keller is a beast entirely of its own and thus superior in almost every way. IMO of course.

Erlangernick said...

Ron--if you ain't been yet, then you must get to the Griess Keller in Geisfeld. Pale, hoppy, bitter Kellerbier unter bayerischem Anstich. The missus and I are likely headed there this afternoon for an hour or so; would be great to see you again.

I'll buy you a Seidla if I see you. And then I'll pummel you with questions about Welsh beer, weil wir in ein paar Wochen dorthin reisen.

How long are you down here?

Tandleman said...

Nick. By the way, you shouldn't go around saying CAMRA folks are normal. You'll undermine the stereotype!

Erlangernick said...

Didn't make it to the Geisfelder Keller today after all, just the Buttenheimer Löwenbräu Keller, for the first time this year. (Geisfeld's 10 km or somthing further than Bheim for us, by bike, and the weather was threatening, so we cut it short.)

The Löwenbräu Kellerbier disappoints again, as it did all last year. Too un-clean in flavour, with nuttiness and a burnt butter note munging up the hoppiness of years past. Not sure what's up with that. And the other Buttenheimer brewery...their "Kellerbier" may be the only one with worldwide recognition, but it's also just lame. Too gassed up and just simply lacking something interesting. And it's dark and malty, not at all a typical Kellerbier.

The Geisfelder Kellerbier I enjoyed on Tuesday, however, was as good as in previous years, though being a tiny brewery, it varies a bit. Shall have to make it back a couple of times this week, weather permitting. Work will.