For those of us interested in the state of German brewing - me, Boak and Bailey and Robsterowski mainly - there is, in the Brewer's Guardian, a fascinating interview with American Brewer in Bavaria, gone not quite native, Eric Toft.
Eric argues that German brewers have in effect led themselves and their customers up a blind alley of sameness, by interpreting the beer purity law in a singular and unwise way. He says in effect that there has been a gaderene rush to produce identical beers, dictated not by the Reinheitsgebot, but a lack of vision. He points out that "the Reinheitsgebot says nothing about what hop varieties and barley varieties and yeast strains you should use" and that "the Reinheitsgebot should be an inspiration to try and create within these so-called ‘confines". Like so many things in life, it isn't what you've got, but the way that you use itthat counts.
He has put this into effect in the brewery where he is Head Brewer, Privat Landbrauerei Schönram, a 55,000hl rural Bavarian brewery, by producing porters and IPAs alongside the more usual helles and pils, pointing out that particularly, these small scale experiments are well liked by women. (A separate issue, but yet another pointer that silly spritzer style beers for women are doomed to failure).
It is good to see this streak of common sense and adventure, albeit on a tiny scale, so let's hope he can convince more of his brewing colleagues and the wider drinking public in Germany.
Anything that shakes the German brewing industry out of its lethargy cannot be a bad thing. I say more power to his elbow.
The full interview with Eric Toft can be downloaded here.
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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