The gruffness of German waiters is legendary. It is a matter of professional pride to many never to crack a smile, though maybe that is changing as more and more of them hail from East Europe. Until you come across one of the old school that is.
In Munich last month, our little party of four decided to eat at the Loewenbrau Keller as it has a lovely big screen outdoors on the terrace where we could watch the semi final of the World Cup involving Germany and Brazil. Alas it wasn't to be, as torrential rain forced us inside. Still, we got a nice table just a dozen steps down from a room with loads of tables and a telly. There was lots of room at the back to stand if need be and nobody minded us doing so. The Germans, all flags and painted faces, were seated in neat benched rows. Even football watching seemed organised and, well, neat.
We ordered drinks. Now we'd been before for a nightcap and the girls really liked Loewenbrau Pils. I do too. It is delicate, but with a firm body and a bitter, perfumey finish. It is actually rather an elegant drink. Two were ordered. Our waiter, an elderly type, said that they'd be better with Helles as the Pils was too bitter for women. Now Janet is a bit of a hop fiend and can take as much hops as the next person, even if that next person is a 100 IBU one. Eileen is not the kind of person you tell what she can or can't drink. Trust me on that one. Pils were insisted on and provided. I spent quite a lot of time running up and down the stairs in response the the roars of the lads and lasses in the tv room. We enjoyed our beer and the hearty food and it was a great night, despite the wet walk home and the Pils Denier.
I won't say whether or not I had a German flag painted on each arm, but will say that I didn't have one on my face. Unlike some other Brits present.
The Loewenbrau Keller is huge and only a fraction of the size it used to be. Maybe not the best beer in the world, but that pils is good.
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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