I must have been overwhelmed by the gardening and snoozing and beer sipping this weekend as I failed to mention that our correspondent for central Europe, Evan Rail, had a good piece in The New York Times yesterday on the somewhat elusive local real ales and lagers of Germany. Other than the two obvious answers, why would Evan undertake such a task?
Thus the rub: though Germany is home to some of the greatest beer culture on the planet, local flavor is increasingly elusive. Ever since the rise of lagers like Pilsener and the spread of industrial brewing in the late 19th century, dozens, if not hundreds, of charismatic local beers have disappeared. "It happened very quickly," said Ron Pattinson, whose European Beer Guide lists many obsolete and rare German beers, including broyhan from Hannover, mumme from Braunschweig and keut from Münster. "The older styles were overwhelmed, and what we've got left are just the odd remnants of beers. It's like a landscape that has been swamped, and you can just make out the odd tree and hilltop."Interesting to note that mum and kyet are styles of beer mentioned in Unger's A History of Brewing in Holland 900-1900 back around 1550. The story is accompanied by some great photos by Dave Yoder including one of a kölschkranz, a cropped bit of which is shown above. Ron Pattinson's alarmingly complete guide can be found here. Between Evan's periodic travel tales and Eric Asimov's beer coverage as part of The Pour, the NYT has clearly staked its place as the leading MSM outlet for quality beer coverage.
By the way, I would note for the record that not one of you has sent me a kölschkranz yet.