Posted in August 2012

Franziskaner Weissbier Naturtrüb

Franziskaner Weissbier Naturtrüb

Franziskaner Weissbier Naturtrüb

I don’t like weissbiers, as a general rule. But I will grudgingly admit that I like this one. The type of yeast they use gives it a nice banana aroma. And that is just delightful.

This beer also seems to avoid the god-awful metallic taste that is pervasive in so many hefeweisens. Thumbs up.

By the way, the Stuttgart train station is in the background. The station is starting to feel like Penn or Grand Central Station to me. Every time we return to the city from a trip, the station makes me feel like I’m home. It’s nice that we’ve been here long enough for that to happen.

Original OeTTINGER Export vs Pils

Original OeTTINGER Export vs Pils

Original OeTTINGER Export and Pils

I drank these beers a few months ago, while we still lived in temporary housing. I wanted to nail down the difference in taste between an Export and a regular Pils. The Export is meant for export, and is pasteurized or somehow otherwise preserved to have a long shelf life. The pils is theoretically fresher.

Looking back on it, this was probably not the beer to do it with. It wasn’t particularly good. Bland. Typical pils, but leaned toward the not-so-great beers. And while I think I could tell a tiny difference between the two (more in smell than flavor), nobody cares. Seriously, nobody cares. If you make the conscious decision to pick up one of these beers from the store, you have no business being all pissed off that you accidentally got the Export, when you meant to get the pils. They’re the same.

The Export was slightly darker, I think. But again, nobody cares.

Next.

Lidl Grafenwalder Grapefruit Heffeweizen-Mix

Lidl Grafenwalder Grapefruit Heffeweizen-Mix

Lidl Grafenwalder Grapefruit Heffeweizen-Mix

Lidl is something of a “discount” grocery store, located near our apartment. This caught my eye because I like grapefruit juice, and Alissa likes Radlers (which are a combination of hefeweizen and lemonaid). So a product that combines hefeweizen and grapefruit juice? Winner!

No. Not a winner at all. The plastic bottle should have given it away. Man, this was really hard to drink. I sometimes sip a beer while I’m at my computer, and I usually get through the beer before I know it. This product made me question my beverage choice every time I took a sip.

“Okay, I don’t want any more. That’s enough.”

“Why did I take another sip?”

“Really? Again? Am I on automatic pilot?”

“Ug. That was not good. How much of this do I have left? Wow, that’s almost still full.”

“I can either accidentally take another sip, or I can get up and pour this down the drain.”

“GAH!”

And so on. I finished it. But I was not happy about it.

Bratensülze Delight

Okay, I’d like start this post by asking everyone to close your eyes. Just take some deep breaths, and let the air out slowly. Ahhhhhhh. Let’s think about something that will make us happy. We all like roast turkey, right? Delicious roasted turkey, sliced thin? My mouth is watering already. Let’s put a few slices of roasted turkey on this oval-shaped styrofoam plate. This turkey is going to be delicious, but I think we’re missing something. Maybe some vegetables? Okay, let’s throw on a pickle. That’s enough vegetables, right? No? Okay, okay. How about a slice of carrot? There we go! Beautiful. And since we’re in Germany, we may as well add some more protein. Let’s add a slice of egg.

Excellent job, everyone! This is looking really, really great. We’ve got a few pieces of sliced roasted turkey, with a thin slice of egg to the left, a single pickle slice in the center, and a fancy-cut slice of carrot on the right! It really does look amazing, but I think we can make it even better. Can anyone think of what we might add? This plate still has a lot of room.

Ah! I know! Let’s fill it with goo! Yes! We’ll just pour some goo all over the plate, filling in all the gaps between the slices of meat and vegetables. And you know what? I’ll be damned if we’re going to skimp on this! This is our fantasy! We’re going to add as much goo as we can fit into this plate! There we go! Wow!

Okay okay, everybody wake up! Open your eyes. Open your eyes and behold.

Bratensülze Goo Plate (with vegetables!)

It’s like a dream come true.

Naturally, the first thing we’ll want to do is poke our finger in it.

Poke the Bratensülze

There’s a solid chunk of goo on the top. This is quality stuff.

Readers with sharp eyes will notice there is another pickle under the packaging. I’m not sure if that’s a happy accident, or if everyone gets two pickles. But anyway, the quality of the goo can not be denied. Nice and solid, yet gives way with some insistent pushing. This is going to taste fantastic. But first, let’s not be greedy. After all, Alissa is still at work, and we don’t want to hog the entire goo plate before she gets home.

Bratensülze Plate

Five stars. Bravo.

I just kinda “came up” with the whole serving suggestion here. I sliced off some thick chunks of good bread and added them to the plate.

Bratensülze on a Fork

For the first bite, make sure we get some pickle.

It was really quite good. Seriously. The meat was delicious, the pickle was delicious, and the egg was probably just there for show. The goo was a bit sour. If I had one complaint, it would be that the goo was a bit too sour. It had a nice texture, but I think there was simply too much of it. As I ate, I found myself leaving the larger chunks of aspic on the plate. On any other day, I would have eaten it with the bread.

My quest to find a disgusting German meat product continues. You will not find it here.

Vacations Are Hard

The Germans love their summer vacations, and it’s a big topic of conversation in Alissa’s office. But as Americans, we haven’t mastered this part of the culture yet. American vacations often take place within the country; New York City, Vegas, the Grand Canyon. We’re used to hearing about these kinds of vacations, and we respond with “oh, that sounds like fun!”

To American ears, German vacations sound much more extravagant.

German Guy: “Where will you vacation this summer?”

German Girl: “My husband and I are taking the kids to some small islands off the coast of France.”

German Guy: “Oh, that sounds like fun!”

American: “You’re going to France?! That’s a whole other country! With ISLANDS! How cool are French ISLANDS?? You’re going to hang out on exotic islands off the coast of France! THAT’S GOING TO BE THE BEST FEW DAYS OF YOUR LIFE!”

German Girl: “Well, since I can only afford to take half of my vacation days, we will only be there for a little over three weeks.”

American: “YOU’RE LEAVING TO GO LIVE ON SMALL PARADISE ISLANDS OFF THE COAST OF FRANCE!!

German Girl: “Well, what about you?”

American: “I was going to take two days off to stay home and eat bread and butter. Maybe catch up on some email.

American: “What’s wrong?”

Wichtel Hausbrauerei

Several days ago, a friend emailed a blurry photo of a sticker on the back of a white van.

Wichtel on a Van

Spy Photo Evidence

That photo was taken with a cell phone through the window of his car, and in tiny letters under the logo, you can barely make out “hausbrauerei” (brew house). Naturally, he became my hero.

Using various hacker tools (“google”), I figured out where they were located. So Alissa and I took a 7 minute train ride out to Feuerbach to visit. The place was really big, with tons of outside seating. The inside was decorated with hop plants and bags labeled “Wichtel Malt” and neat old-style bottles. They had these cool cooper kettles mounted inside, but I don’t think they’re in use.

Handsome Copper Kettles

Handsome copper kettles, with casually thrown grain bags sitting around.

We only tried their two regular beers; the pils and the dark weisen. The pils was pretty good. The first sip was all “woah, this is delicious”. The 300th sip was all “hey, you’ve been drinking that for a while, maybe switch to something else”?

So I switched to the dark weisen. I’m a little conflicted about what to write. On one hand, it was very weird-tasting. A lot of dark weisen beers taste burnt (in a not-especially-good way), and this beer was no different. But it wasn’t simply a pure burnt flavor. It was almost like they also burnt the hops, just to introduce something different. A secrete sauce, if you will.

On the other hand, I would like to congratulate them on creating a beer that isn’t like all the other beers around here. It was worth a 0.3 liter serving (0.634013 US pints) to experience something new. Next time we go, I hope to try the seasonal beer.

Downstairs, you can see the actual brewing area. Looks less like good ol’ fashioned brewing, and more like professional German engineering.

Wichtel Brewing Room

Located right across from the bathrooms, for all your joking pleasure. Just kidding. This isn’t Bud Light.

A major part of the food they serve is “Wichtelkuchen”, which I believe is a play on the word for “german-style-pizza-but-not-really”. Anyway, it’s similar to a NY thin crust, but without tomato sauce. Mine had sauerkraut on it, because I chose the option representing the most German of German-ness. Pretty delicious.

By the way, we’ve been here for four months now!

Second Hand

Second Hand

Ha ha ha ha!

Edit: She kinda creeps me out. Large photo for full effect.

Purple Sauerkraut: Batch 4!

The newest batch of sauerkraut is purple! I’ve made purple sauerkraut before. It turned out purple. Purple sauerkraut is a little unsettling, because it’s purple. Sauerkraut should be white. But I made it anyway, because I like excitement in my life.

Sauerkraut Batch 4: Purple

Batch 3 was a failure. I used “savory” cabbage, which I’ve never tried before. When I finished making it, I realized that my knuckles were swollen. I let it sit for a long time before I harvested, because I was nervous. A few days ago, I scratched my wrists and rubbed the sauerkraut juice in it, but I didn’t have a reaction. So I’m not sure why my knuckles were so messed up.

Batch 3 wasn’t very good though. The leaves were super wrinkled, which made it physically difficult to pack down properly. The result was semi-soft with no redeeming qualities. Maybe I’ll try again later. When you have a sauerkraut addiction, it’s tough to dedicate a full week to an experiment that might leave you without your fix.

Second Floor Pour

They’re pouring the concrete for the second floor!

Second Floor Construction

Concrete pouring!

They actually finished one section today. It looks nice. As a professional concrete-pouring-consultant, I say they did a good job. I THINK they made a mistake earlier, however. There’s a section of wall that was poured a few days ago, and as soon as they built up the yellow floor, they seemed to realize their mistake. They spent yesterday jack-hammering the section down, and re-laying the rebar. Nobody’s perfect.

Ulmer Münster Hirsch Bier Urhell

Ulmer Münster Hirsch Bier Urhell

They look delicious.

The beer was pretty okay. I’d buy it again, but it probably isn’t as special as those berries beside it.

I found them while we were walking around yesterday evening. Alissa made it clear that I should not be eating wild berries, but what does she know? She’s never even tried to eat wild berries. They could be amazing!

I looked them up when I got home. Here’s a picture I took of the bush that they came on.

Delicious, delicious unknown berries

I think they’re Elderberries but we’ll never know for sure. Alissa made me promise I wouldn’t eat them. Unless I call my mom and ask first. But I can’t call my mom, because I’m afraid she won’t understand how amazing these berries might be. Moms are never good about that.

Dad? We have to convince Alissa quickly, because the bushes outside are teeming with them! The season is going to be over soon! Think of all the jam I could be making right now!