Bayerischer Bahnhof Brewery- Leipzig Germany

In my last article regarding German beer I mentioned how regional style dominated Germany for many years, what i neglectedto do was tell you about the regional beer from where I am currently located in Leipzig… Gose.

The History:

Brewery In this case the Gose has been produced by the Bayerischer Bahnhof Brewery, itself located in what is considered to be the oldest “Rail Head Station” in the world (don’t ask me what a rail head station is). Bombed during the second world war, and falling within Eastern German territory there was no funds to rebuild the station. Following the reunification of Germany came a plan to restore the station with a restaurant that would house the brewery in question. Beer Gose is a regional beer specialty that was brought to Saxony-Anhalt in the year 1738. Originally Gose comes from Goslar, a small town in Lower Saxony, and the river “Gose” in this town.” -http://www.bayerischer-bahnhof.de/en/unser-bier/index.html

The Experience

Walking towards the brewery visible is architecture of several era’s including: pre-20th century, Soviet era, and modern buildings all exist in the immediate area. Contrasted against the relatively ancient restored station/brewery is a new underground metro station adding the existing rail history of the area. Once inside one can see how this building once existed as a train station however the beautiful brewing equipment in the back smashes any notions that it remains a station.

The Taste

The beer itself is served in a nice spherical glass that taper to the top. The beer pours a vibrant yellow and the is clearly unfiltered. The first flavour is of a light sweet wheat beer, a lemon flavour is present but rather than coming from the hops as i’m used to it seems to emanate from the malts. I’ve been told to expect a salty taste but i fail to recognize anything but a faint saltiness. Overall a sweet light beer that would make a great radler. 4/5

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Harvey’s Brewery Lewes

Harvey’s brewery is a great example of an english regional brewery that has existed in some form for hundreds of years. Under the the care of John Harvey in the early 1800’s the Bridge Wharf Brewery was established (Above) and stands to this day. Harvey’s to its credit despite being a large regional brewer (50,000 barrels a year) still manages to remain in line with tradition in a few ways.

My trip the brewery came about via a wonderful trip through the country side. Country lanes at best wide enough for 2 cars and often wide enough for only one wind through fields divided in feudal times. Often times the road is lined by a canopy of deciduous trees including Oak and Yew. At this time of year the leaves hadn’t yet grown through and the early spring sun was able to shine through. As the car came nearer to the south down so to did we come near to pints of real ale.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 4.30.31 PMAfter parking we walked to the high street where buildings lined the street so close together no space existed between them aside from the cut through that allowed us to the street itself.

path to the high street.

Upon taking a side street from the high street to John Harvey’s pub we were greeted by a remnant of tradition. Harvey’s within the immediate area still deliver’s it beer via horse and carriage.

We visited the tied pub rather than the brewery itself as the brewery has a tour wait list of 2+ years. Regardless the pub is an experience in itself. The building is likely of nearly the same period as the brewery and beautiful in its own right.

The beer itself remains pulled from a beer engine, real ale as it were. Of course in a place like this you order one thing and one thing only… bitter.

Like all real ale this beer was cask conditioned and thus a “Real Ale” in the british understanding of the term. Real ales unlike north american beers are not overly carbonated or carbonated really at all. Instead they are what many would describe as flat. Without the bubbles you are really able to taste the beer unabated by the bite of carbonation. Harvey’s Sussex Bitter is malty with a floral hops unlike the punchy bitter american ones most of us are accustomed too. It mixes malt notes of caramel with fruity notes similar to peaches, fig or currants. This is not a challenging beer, to some it might even be called boring but it is traditional and it is well done.

Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter- 4/5

The Break Side Brewery- Portland

BREAK SIDE! this was one of the major reasons I wanted to go to Portland! Ever since trying Wanderlust, (thanks to a Tri-City Brew Club member) I’ve known that i had to visit.

This is delicious, THIS IS PORTLAND!

I didn’t do a lot of research before going to this brewery, I simply decided to go to Portland and go to this brewery. The plan was to hit the brewery before leaving Portland and heading home. When I finally punched in the address and looked at the map i was a little shocked.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 8.16.19 PM

It wasn’t downtown… IT WASNT DOWNTOWN AT ALL! Even so, it wasn’t far. So I went, and I drove, I drove down a main street all normal. Where it got weird was that right turn on the map because following that right turn was a lot of houses. This brewery is in a fairly residential area… weird. But then i thought cool!

Another poor picture on this blog, who would’ve guessed?

How rad would it be too walk the dog (in my case cat) and come upon the brewery among the Little Boxes? So COOL! I think I’m done gushing… ONTO THE BEER! Because of the breadth of beer i just have the cliff notes versions, but there were some amazing beers here.

VanCity do 4 Portlandia do 6!

So from the top of the above list and left-to-right on the beer glasses:

Pilsner-dry, clean, nice malt body, to style 3/5

Dry Irish Stout-bites as its a dry stout then gets roast but a bit too light for my tastes, in their defence they cal it light 2.5/5

IPA- WOW Quite possibly the best IPA i have ever had! i got pineapple off it and it gave me an idea for a fun home brew! 5/5.

I chose not to rate these as my palate was wearing:

Cedarbaumbier-I believe this beer was secondaries with cedar and its apparent in the flavour, with a woody oaken like taste only slightly sweeter.

Tropicalia Saison- Brewed with peruvian peppers this is something else! Unfortunately the peppers were so strong i didn’t get any saison out of this saison.

I can’t comment on the Safeword as the tropicalia burned out my palate, but if you get a chance get lost among the little boxes (this is a reference to the rejection of suburbia and conformity BTW) and have some weird beer!

Fat Head Brewery- Portland

It was mostly beer on tap.

Everyone knows the big dogs in Portland: Rogue, Deschutes, Bridgeport, Burnside and a host of others. So when I walked past a brewery I had never heard of before i decided to learn more, and by that i mean drink! Fat Head follow the Brew Pub model more closely in contrast to production brewery, however I am 90% they still brew for outside consumption. The take up a nice spot in the pearl district with high timber ceilings and their decor suggests they take beer seriously but not too seriously.

Like Steel Toad in Vancouver they have a system whereby beer does not come from 50 litre kegs but is piped from fermentors into holding takes of up to 9BBL which i would hazard a guess makes the beer more consistent and makes form greater efficiency.

ONTO THE BEER!

I only sampled two and only have notes for one but it was a good one!

Fat Head Bean Me Up Coffee Stout, this beer was supremely well executed in my opinion. Starting with a solid roasty stout coffee was added in such a way that all of the great coffee flavour was added without any of the negative acidy flavours sometimes imparted into the beer. This is a breakfast beer if i’ve ever had one.

Fat Head Bean Me Up Coffee Stout- 4/5

Black Kettle Brewery

If you read very closely you’ll notice some Punk Rock references in this blog, like this one right here:

(Click it, its modern Punk Rock) But Punk Rock has always been about more than simply music, Punk Rock is an ideal, its about looking out at whats around you and saying “hey, this isn’t good.” More Importantly Punk Rock is saying “Hey, this isn’t good and I’m gonna live purposely and differently.” Personally i don’t think there is a better way to describe the “Craft Beer Revolution” than punk rock (Come at me Mr. Wiebe, no don’t lets be friends.). Brewers all over this Province said “Hey, this beer isn’t good…”, “…I’m gonna make better beer.” and lo, they did, and it was good. Notice how i emphasize the “Lets make good beer”, and not “Lets sell good beer”? I know, I know everyone needs to make their dime, but go to Storm Brewing and answer me “what is the point of their brewery?” If the answer isn’t to make good beer, i quit. I will admit all breweries do want to make money, but i’d like to believe they want to make money so they can keep making beer. So where am I going here with 200 words written despite not one concerning the brewery of the title? Well as with all revolutions sometimes the revolutionaries sell out.

“Dude! check out my sick “Sans Culottes” get them now at Wal-mart for $9.93.” Said Robespierre. (this is how i justify my degree in history)

I think we can say some of the new breweries out there might have eyes on making it big. I don’t begrudge them that, they still usually make great beer, but there not half as cool as punk rock. So here’s the DROP! Black Kettle is Punk Rock! Everything in this brewery serves a purpose, Fermenting tanks ferment, Brite tanks carb, seats hold tired asses, tall tables allow leaning, repurposed pallet sells beer, beer tastes delicious, repurposed framed building plans evoke pleasure akin to art. Everything that is needed is here, everything that is not is, well, not. For example I saw 3 employees whilst at the brewery, all of them worked the back, the room, and the non-commercial growler machine. Hmmm seems like an example of a society devoid of social stratification to me… and isn’t that what we are all looking for out of a revolution? That said the tasting room wasn’t spartan but it was functional, a nice tv played the games and the nice staff gave me nice beers. Oh how were the beers? SO GOOD I DECIDED NOT TO SIMPLY REVIEW A SINGLE ONE BUT WRITE A LONGER ARTICLE ON THE BREWERY ITSELF CAPITAL LETTERS TO INCREASE EMPHASIS.

Oatmeal Stout, and the IPA.

Pale Ale- Has a maltier backbone than most of the west coast pale ales we usually which in my opinion is a great change of pace 3.5/5 Oatmeal Stout- This bad boy may be the best stout i’ve had in ages, Notes of toffee and burnt sugar with some roastiness hiding in among it, finished well with a hint of bitterness. 4.5/5 IPA- Citrus and spice, yes a little spice, abound in this IPA which i find deliciously hoppy! 3.5/5 So there it is Punk Rock Beer!

Steel and Oak

So i finally made it over to Steal and Oak to sample some of their beer. My first impression was what a weird spot. Geographically its located next to a rising overpass directly after stop light. Moreover despite being walking distance to a pub and a longer walk from New West’s downtown area it definitely feels disconnected from the downtown which has a real character. The Tasting room is nicely appointed in what i would describe as hybrid of Moody Ales and 33 acres.

Please excuse my shitty photo.

Of course the real star of the trip, as it should be, was the beer. I sampled 4 beers all of which i enjoyed. In particular the ESB was great with a nice fruitiness. Also very enjoyable was the porter which i felt was to style and definitely would hit the spot if one is looking for a proper porter. The Red Pilsner was very interesting, clean but with a greater malt background than most pilsners. The best was the autumn dusk though. To be fair i can’t actually remember what i liked about it, and as i didn’t take any notes i’ll just go ahead and say it was mystery awesome! So go there check out the original downtown of British Columbia, and take a long walk to Steel and Oak where you won’t be disapointed!

Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale

So, this past summer i found myself in Seattle to watch the worlds greatest football team! No not the Seahawks, they play throw-ball.

No not the team that try their best to flog this as fashion.

That team would be the MIGHTY SPURS!

The Best Football team to set foot in Seattle

Anyways following the match my girlfriend and I set out to get some craft beer! The easiest destination to find and get to was Pike Street brewing. We walked in and were told by welcoming yet busy server that they were full everywhere but the self service museum area. We walked in and grabbed some seats. The museum area was a real assault on the senses (think Uncle Moe’s Family Feed Bag).

The Grease burnt his head, and the decor burnt my eyes.

furthermore the line to order was ridiculously long, and god dammit there were too many points of interest with no reasonable starting point! Anyways we resolved to find somewhere quieter and more-er pub-er.

SO MUCH SHIT ON THE WALLS!

We headed north and found Elysian Brewing. We were treated to a solid Northwest style Pub delicious food and delicious beer. So long story, but because of this i have a good impression of Elysian, and have not been disappointed with the dribs and drabs that have flowed up north. This week i caught wind of their winter ale known as Bifrost. So Bifrost! it has a sweet complexed maltiness that flows well into a citrus bitterness that compliments well the aforementioned sweet hops. The sweet malts suggest a higher the average ABV which is 7.6% without actually forcing the alcohol taste on your pallet. This is actually a  winter ale the tastes like ALE. By that i mean it is not filled with non-beer flavours commonly associated with winter. It is not candy cane or gingerbread, white chocolate or cocoa. It is a high alcohol beer with complexed malts balanced well with hops designed for sipping and warming on cold winter nights. Well done Elysian, well done. Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale- 4/5

I thought the bifrost was in Asguard with Thor, No? whatever.

MYSTERY GIFT DAY 1- Parallel 49 Schwarzwald

Chocolate and Cherry? This has the potential to be oh-so-bad, holy crap is it good though! This beer (according to the bottle) is based on the desserts from black forest part of Germany, while i can’t speak to that i can say i prefer this beer to most of the desserts i’ve had. Pouring it gives off a red wine or distilled fruit smell that’s very pleasant. In fact at a engagement party I attended over the summer I had the opportunity to taste some distilled cherry liquor and the smell was similar and equally delicious. Off the nose i was treated to a sweet tart fast easily identified as cherries. Although sweetness is part of the flavour profile it is not overbearing (nor should it be in my opinion). Schwarzwald finished with some tartness and a hint of chocolate. The ABV of 9% (chicka chicka yea (Superbad reference) is entirely hidden by the flavour of the beer.

Chicka Chicka Yeah, 9%

None of these flavours are bigger than the team so to speak, and they work in concert to give a satisfying complexed none-traditional flavour. Hey Parallel 49 can i buy this in bombers?

MYSTERY GIFT DAY 1- Parallel 49 Schwarzwald- 4/5

LOOK BEER IN BOX THAT LOOKS LIKE ITS WRAPPED… XMAS!

I will be reviewing each and everyone of the daily Parallel 49 & Central City Brewing Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown. So jump on board, follow along and even contribute your thoughts!

Stanley Park Brewing Windstorm Westcoast Pale Ale

Stanley Park is the crown jewel of Vancouver. I always remember as a 17 year old listening to folk concerts in Malkin Bowl feeling like i was growing up, developing new dimensions of my identity like: music appreciator, and underage beer hunter. Listening to music in a beautiful forest, next to a metropolis was real. It was authentic, and it was an experience that transformed simple space into authentic place.

I like City and Colour when his main focus was a punk band.
I liked City and Colour when his main focus was a punk band.

I’m sure most Vancouverites have a similar Stanley Park storey in which space becomes place, and place forms some section of identity. Thats why i’m sure a lot of people are some mix of concerned, anxious, angry or pissed when they can’t find a brewery in Stanley Park.

Park, No Brewery.
Park, No Brewery.
Brewery, No Park.
Brewery, No Park.

The fact is Stanley Park Brewery has no real link to Stanley Park. Its a brand with a brand name decided upon to sell beer. Stanley Park brewing is “space” sold as “place” it is inauthentic. Stanley Park Brewing is, in fact, Turning Point Brewery, and i don’t think there is shame is that. For it’s part Windstorm does build some more authenticity in that it builds a concrete link to the park. Every sale gives a portion of proceeds to the Stanley Park Ecology Society, in memory of the windstorm that took down portions of forest a few years back. In my opinion that is something to hang your hat on and is a tangible contribution to a sense of place. So… the beer? Pours a pale amber, starts crisp and clean and flows into a a pine flavour reminiscent of the forest that then rolls into a tropical flavour less biting and more soft, before finishing dryly. This is pleasant, and quite simply i like it. Stanley Park can be found in lesser bars and if available next to a rickards or shock top you should order this. Drink it whilst watching hockey, considering Lord Stanley, the Park, and the Brand and consider for yourself if the beer is deserving of the name, i’m not sure myself but i don’t feel terrible anymore for buying beer from this brand.

Stanley Park Brewing Windstorm Westcoast Pale Ale- 3.5/5

Opsal Steel Sells Beer!

The Opsal Steal Building is a very nicely restored building in the Olympic Village, and the brewery that restored it and takes it place, Steel Toad, similarly has tried to make old new again too. Steel Toad has not one but two hand pulled beer engine English style real ales! As someone who cut his teeth on English ales in England i was beyond stoked to hopefully try a bitter similar to old stand by “Harvey’s Sussex Bitter” and to boot the other is a stout! The bitter pours a funny colour quite paler than the amber I’m used to. In fact i confused it with the saison a few times. Unfortunately, if this was a beer was a book it could have been judged upon its cover. Basically this bitter is very muted, and to use the colloquial of the day a “pretty basic Bit.. beer”. The stout on the other hand tastes true to style. It was nice and roasty however it was served without any head (which often happens in the UK where glasses are filled to the brim) which would have been nice. To Brewery’s credit the carbonation was also on point. The other offerings from Steel Toad included a Farmhouse Saison and a Blonde. The Saison had lots of saison flavours, however they all seem to be competing. I really feel the Saison would benefit from some conditioning. The blonde however was plain boring… i think you’d be better off grabbing a big surf, which is quite good for the style. In the end Steel Toad is a nice building in a nice part of town for an adventure, their beer leaves something to be desired but it is early days yet!

Bitter- 1.5/5

Stout- 3/5

Saison- 2.5/5

Blonde- 2/5