Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Part 1: Bamberg

As I mentioned earlier, Mr Wort Hog and I spent about 10 days in October traveling around Germany and the Czech Republic.We went to cities that have historical significance in beer and were able to try several examples of prominent styles. So, here's the first of several recollections of our trip...

We arrived in Frankfurt on a Thursday morning. It wasn’t long before we were in our rental car and on our way to Bamberg, about 3 hours east of the Frankfurt airport in Northern Bavaria. It was only after booking our trip that we found out Schlenkerla would be releasing their Urbock our first night of arrival. During lunch we learned that tapping would start at 5pm, so we made plans to walk around town until 4:30 or so then head down to the brewery for the tapping.

We ended up arriving around 4pm so we could avoid the crowd rush... As it turns out, all we needed to do was show up some time before 8pm. Before then, the beer garden was relatively empty - entirely different from our experience with brewery special releases in the States. Around 9pm or so, the biergarten was so full, you had to pull your way through the crowd just to move from one place to the next. Bamberg's a university town, and we introduced ourselves to a group of graduate astronomy students who were speaking English... Talking physics and solar flares is quite a feat after about 2 liters of bock.
Biergarten at Schlenkerla
Fresh Schlenkerla urbock is a distant relative of the old stuff we get here. It tasted fresh and smoky without being "meaty"; less like bacon and more like warm campfire. Imagine drinking a lightly sweet bock while hanging out with friends at a bonfire. That's Schlenkerla Urbock.
Fresh Urbock
They tapped keg after keg after keg...
Yeah, he tapped that
October & November mark the release of bock beers throughout Germany. Several months ago, I found a website that listed the dates of dozens of bock releases in the country. I can't find it now, but if you're a Google Master, please send me a link if you find it.

Next up - the other breweries of Bamberg.


Tasting Notes