Travelling through Europe as a yo-yo for a few weeks, and I must tell you it is much more business than pleasure. But I am accumulating some interesting beers to try out during the summer - I'll just have to find somewhere to store them. First stop was Paris, where I had a very nice bottle of Pelforth Brune, which seems to be widely available both bottled and canned. A bit on the sweet side with a quite complex taste of toffee, coffee and toast among the elements. Some nice hops in there, too. What struck me is that the French seem to favour a high alcohol content, with for example Carlsberg Elephant available on tap everywhere. Some very strong Dutch beers as well as the most potent Belgian brews were also available. Maybe this nation of wine drinkers wants something with a punch?
This week brought me to Budapest, but that was very much touch and go. I flew Lufthansa and, while their in flight food was rather lousy, they had a quite pleasant pils on offer – Warsteiner. This is a soft and pleasant pilsener. The hops are there, but not intrusive. (I like them intrusive, but I don't expect that on a plane!) Flowery bouquet and smell. Transit at Munich airport, where there is supposed to be a brewpub, but I had no time to seek it out. A perfectly pleasant high glass of hefe or unfiltered Paulaner Weisse was an appropriate way to toast my few minutes on Bavarian soil. On then to Budapest, where most of the bars were closed at eleven at night. I found, however, a pub serving a pleasant bottle of Dreher Bak. A very nice bock. Dry and toasty, no toffee or cocoa in this one. 7,3 %, and of course you can taste that. Apart from Dreher, there seems to be lots of Austrian beer around, often with names referring to imperial times.