After a twelve hour airplane ride yesterday, I’m back in the land of the microbrewery and happy to be here. I have had better beer at my home brewpub, the Dry Dock Brewery in Aurora, Colorado, than in two European countries known for their beer. The Dry Dock’s pilsner is better than Germany’s. I have to say, Central German Pilsner disappointed me this trip. There’s been consolidation and buy-outs to the point that the pilsners all taste the same, kind of bland, kind of like American mass-market pilsners have become. In fact, the best pils I had was a Warsteiner, technically a Northern German Export, and that was on the plane ride home. Dry Dock has the microbreweries beat hands-down. I visited two in Germany. Both were emulating Bavarian beers, offering a Helles, a Dunkles and in the case of Kloster Machern, a Hefeweizen.
Both were serving their helles “Keller-art,” meaning cloudy. I enjoyed both, even though I’ll take Bill Eye’s recreation of Tivoli Helles over them any day. Kloster Machern’s dunkel was exceptional, caramel-malty and smooth. Honestly, I don’t remember “Zwolf Aposteln” dunkles. On to Poland, where I did the walking tour. Gdansk has an American-style microbrewery with five beers on tap, one of which was an American IPA. I’ve had beers from another cooperative, Alebrowar, that were quite impressive. The other two brew houses did the typical Bavarian thing, although one had a rather nice Bitter. Bottom line, we have better beers than Europe. I’m sure there are exceptional microbreweries there. My memories of the brewery in Speyer are very good. But here, I have three exceptional breweries within a few miles of me. In Frankfurt I could find one.
I give Poland credit for the winner of the trip, the Baltic Porter I drank my first night there. Delicious. And I hope I’ve talked the Dry Dock’s staff into making one.
And I’m currently enjoying one of my own, a Blonde Ale bottled just before I left. I’m happy with it, too. It’s good to be home.