Joseph Fiedler
Beer & Pencils Special Edition Part 1
From the entrance of the Hofbrauhaus Am Platzl, Munich.

Gott und Vaterland: Der Bier!

“Two beers is a steak - Seven beers is a rose”
Willi Morlock, Bavarian beer ambassador at the Augustiner
Am Platzl Wirtshaus, Munich

I was born in the year 1953. I’m 100% Austrian and I’ve been hearing about it ever since I can remember [even though my family thought of itself as German].  At my age, I have a profound interest in solving the puzzle of national character, and although I’ve had always wanted to visit my homeland, I haven’t until an unexpected royalty windfall this Fall and the good organizational skills of my Nano gave me the capital and resources to pursue my dream.  So we flew to Munich and took the train through the Austrian Alps to Graz [the closest large city to my paternal ancestral villages in southeast Burgendland, the eastern most state in Austria].  I’ll tell you the details of my search in Part 2.  My goal was to drink beer in my ancestral village and see the graves of my kin.  The Burgenland is all about soil and of course, like the rest of Austria and it’s big sister, Germany, the soil yields the barley, wheat, water and hops that comprise the national food: beer.  I guess I’ll admit it; I have a genetic predisposition to favor malted beverages.  Love is the facilitator. It’s hard wired. No one need be told that Bavaria and especially Munich is the Delphi of beer.  The monks that lent their name to the city were the meister brewers of all time and I wanted to taste that shit at the fucking source. And taste it I did indeed!  In a seven day period I sampled over 18 brews [I know what you’re thinking, 18 ain’t much.  But when the smallest draught is one half liter, you got your drink on bro!].  I’m happy to report that aside from a ripping jetlag I had no hangovers whatsoever. I attribute this to the strict beer purity laws. [See: Reinheitsgebot - German Beer Purity Law]. Law has regulated brewing beer in Germany for over 800 years. 800 hundred fucking years! It’s a long-standing tradition to which all German brewers still remain true today.  I know it sounds silly but in one night I had about 4 beers and a topper of schnapps [see sidebar] and had no ill effect at all [the next day]! Dude, that’s some clean assed drinkin’!  And it stayed down too. I’ll leave the specific details to the links I’ve added.  Here are the brews that I sampled:

Hofbrauhaus Original
Hofbrauhaus Weisse [Willi said that he likes Weisse bier for breakfast!]
Ayinger Helles
Augustinerbrau Marzen
Augustinerbrau Bock
Augustiner Helles
Schneider and Sons Original Heffe Weizen
Schneider and Sons Helles
Paulaner Weisse
Franskaner Helles
Spaten Helles
Spaten Dunkle

Puntagamer Helles
Gosser Helles
Gosser Zwickl

There was another in there somewhere but in the hubbub of travel, I lost the name.  Mind you, I didn’t have a bad beer. My top fave taste was the Hofbrauhaus with a strong second the Augustiner followed by the Ayinger.  The HB was just like little devils jumping on your tongue; lots of spirit and a really big flavor - a career beer.  These guys don’t fuck around.  The HB is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year! Most of the breweries have been in operation for as many or so years, and as I’ve said before, that’s a lot of research time. All in all, the Austrian beer tended to be lighter and less distinguished with the exception of the Augustiner at Salzburg’s Braustubl Mulln.

Check out the annotated pix:

Coaster assortment
The Stiegl man comes to Salzburg. Looks a lot like Santa, huh?
The famous Hofbrauhaus Am Platzl, Munich is celebrating its' 400th Aniversary this year. It was about one block from our hotel [strategy] and I was quaffing there within minutes of arrival!
Menu posted at the Augustiner braustubl, Munich. You can see what they offer and the price in Euros.
The Augustiner Braustubl Kloster Mulln, Salzburg
Inside the Augustiners' great hall.
The font where you rinse your ceramic mug at the Augustiner.
The beer warmer at the Augustiner.
Happy customers just served.
What all the fuss is about: the beer [only 2 kinds-Marzen and Bock] comes from ancient wooden barrels WITHOUT TAPS, using just a brass bung! Goddamn, that's awesomeness personified, or whatever!
Random pub in Salzburg.
A portion of an English menu at Schneider Weisse & Sons, Munich. If you read it you'll see a wide selection of Offal meats including such favorites as Calf's head, heart, lung and a first for me, diaphragm.
This is me and Martina at the Zum Durnbrau, Munich. She could have just stepped off of the St. Pauli Girl label! NOTE: No Photoshop was used on this photo!
As a sidebar I’d like to champion schnapps, the brandy distilled from wild fruits and herbs.  I’ve always been fond of Grappa and schnapps are it’s north of the Alps, Teutonic kin.  I was lucky enough to lodge in Salzburg [the hotel was 650 years old!] right next door to the famous Sporer, small batch distillers and purveyors of the finest schnapps [since 1902]. This was on the same street where Mozart was born.  The system at Sporer just blew my mind.  You get a bottle filled right from a wooden keg, much like a growler at a brewpub. But, these are spirits NOT beer! I couldn’t believe my eyes. No tap, just a bunghole! Taste what you want and buy a bottle.  I saw neighborhood ladies come in to fill up their bottles and I’m talking liter bottles!  I tried  raspberry [Himbeer], pear [Williams], cherry [Kirsch] and Kriecherl [small wild plum].  We even had a schnapps made from distilled beer and another from some root that the lady couldn’t translate! This is not the gaggy sweet stuff you had in college but a really refined essence of fruit, urbane, sophisticated and so tasty you can actually experience culture on your TONGUE!
Sporer from the street.
Sporer on the inside [with kegs].
From the Christmas market, Salzburg.
Stay tuned for more pix and Part 2: Der Blud.
I am indebted to several people for advice and encouragement without which my journey would have been impossible.

Frederick Hilton Carlson III
M. & J. Burckhardt
Joseph Carl Fiedler [deceased Dec., 2006]

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