German beer tradition
At a simple Gasthaus (something in between a restaurant and a bar) on the main street in Franconia, a group of Dutch bikers enter and ask, “what kind of beer do you have”? The waitress answers: “Alt Dietzhof beer”, and under the expectant gazes she adds: “we also have Radler” (a beer mixed with Fanta). When the group keeps on asking about labels such as the popular Weihenstephan, she explains proudly: “we brew our own beer, it’s local and you can get it only here and in the other two restaurants in town. That´s what we serve”. The group gives in, orders and has to admit, the beer may be the best they’ve ever had.
Craft beer in Germany
If Germany is the land of craft beer, Franconia belongs to the traditional group: the beer today is the brewed the same way that it was 200 years ago, and every village is proud to serve its very own recipe. It’s a matter of opinion and Germans are divided on the matter: some prefer traditional, local craft beer whereas others prefer modern craft beer.
The growing popularity of cheap industrial beer over the years immediately led to a backlash and a desire for a better, higher quality product. This desire thus led to the opening of several German start-up micro-craft breweries, those of which don’t stick to tradition and recipe. Instead, they love to experiment. This young generation of brewers not only loves to play with various kinds of hop, but their beer is also tasted in red wine glasses, and even the beer’s alcohol content approximates that of wine.
Beer matches food
The brewers are not the only ones experimenting with new flavors. In addition, a group of Franconian avant-garde chefs is starting to expand the rule “what grows together, goes together”. These foodies recommend and pair new beer creations for some local dishes. So when you go to Germany don’t wonder when you see not only the wine recommendation on the menu, but also the one for beer!
The pairing of the Steckerlfisch and the Rauchbeer from the Schenkerla brewery is the perfect example, chefs pair this classic German meal with the Bamberger beverage. Why? Because this beer, with its subtle beechwood aroma, makes it the perfect match for the grilled fish.
Only the classy Weisswurst is always and everywhere recommended with wheat beer: the taste of yeast and citrus is a great supplement to the sweat and sour combination of the mustard. The citrus notes also underline the fine calf meat taste, and the liveliness of the beer complements the dullness of the sausage texture. The final thing to discuss might be the brewery: Schneiders or Paulaner?