Friday, December 29, 2006

Alcohol and Hangover Myths Revealed

The people at LiveScience explain why you're going to be feeling the way you're going to be feeling on Monday morning.

Scientists have studied few of the common treatments for hangovers found at your local drugstore. However, you can avoid headaches this holiday by learning the facts about alcohol: a cup of coffee won't sober you up, popping Tylenol can be bad for your liver, and the hair of the dog will only prolong your pain.

Click here for the full story.

Quiet of late

I haven't been able to do much work on the site lately. My machine and I had a disagreement, which I resolved by reformatting its drive and reloading from scratch. But speaking of scratch, that's what I found on my Microsoft Office CD when I went to reinstall it. Since the site's data is stored in an Access database, it hasn't been accessible for a week or so.

I've ordered a new copy of Office, which should arrive in a couple of days. Once that's installed, I should be able to catch up all of the updates by the end of next week. Thanks for your patience.

(Someday, I'll finally convert all of this stuff to MySQL running on Linux. The only thing holding me back is the lack of an easy-to-implement GUI along the lines of Access Forms. Any tips?)

[Edit 1-1-2007: My new software arrived over the weekend, and everything appears to be back to normal for now.]

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This really was your father’s beer

From WBIR (Knoxville TN) via

Ever wonder what a 50-year-old can of Coors beer would taste like?

Some hikers in California found out.

In fact they found an entire stash stuck in some sand. So they opened one and found beer the "color of cough syrup and smells like a combination of fermented wine and dirt."

WBIR has the complete story and some video here.


(Yesterday: Konstanz)

Nothing real special to report here. The taxi to Zürich Flughafen left the hotel at 7:00am. Had a couple cans of Heineken on the plane. Got completely annoyed — as usual — at the farcical "security" procedures at the Atlanta airport. Got home around 8:00pm.

And I'm ready to go back already.


[Edit 1/6/2007: Added a couple of pictures, courtesy of Matthias Krümberg.]

(Yesterday: Hundersingen)

This sucks. I caught the Mother of All Colds yesterday, and I'm having a hell of a time just getting out of bed. Paris is bored stiff; today is the first day we've been able to spend together, and it was supposed to be our Fun Day. Plus our friend Matthias Krümberg and his girlfriend Janine are coming to Konstanz this afternoon.

Paris went out to do some souvenir shopping, and when she got back she convinced me to go to the Apotheke, who recommended some medications that were utterly useless.

In the end, we walked over to Brauhaus Johann Albrecht, where we had arranged to meet Matthias and Janine. The walk seemed to do me some good, as did their seasonal Nickelbier Bock. And when our friends arrived, a good time was had by all.

Brauhaus Johann Albrecht, KonstanzJanine, Matthias, and Paris at Brauhaus Johann Albrecht
Matthias, Paris, and Richard at Brauhaus Johann Albrecht, Konstanz

After dinner and a liter or two of Nickelbier, we all headed over to zum Salzbüchsle for some Andechser beers. Matthias was surprised to find that they also had bottles of Flensburger, which he says is Germany's best Pilsener. (Or at least a close second to Jever Pils.) Matthias ordered his "Plopp" without a glass; I told the bartender that I would prefer to pour my beer into a glass, but she and Matthias both insisted that this beer is meant to be enjoyed straight from the bottle. With or without a glass, it's a Real Good Beer.

Haus zum Salzbüchsle, Konstanz

Of course, a beer-drinking binge in Konstanz is incomplete without partaking of Olaf's hospitality at Bierstube zur steinernen Kugel.

Bierstube zur steinernen Kugel, KonstanzRichard, Olaf, Paris, and Matthias at Bierstube zur steinernen Kugel, Konstanz

(Tomorrow: Home)

Friday, December 8, 2006


(Yesterday: Ulm)

It's a Real Nice Day here in Baden-Württemberg, perfect weather for a brewery visit. All went well, until I misunderstood the train conductor's voice on the loudspeaker; I got off the train at Herbertingen Ort, when I should have stayed on for one more stop, the Herbertingen station. So I missed the bus to Hundersingen and ended up walking there instead. One hour later, and a hundred feet higher in altitude — Mohrhalde is quite a steep alley! — I arrived at Brauereigasthof Adler, mightily thirsty.

Brauereigasthof Adler, HundersingenAdler's retail store
Adler's bar"Hops and malt, God preserve them!"
Adler SpezialAdler Pils
Adler Keller Pils

On the way home, I had time for a quick Schussenrieder Pils at the Wunderbar in Bad Saulgau Bahnhof.

Wunderbar, Bad Saulgau

The Katamaran was running an hour behind schedule, so I wandered around Friedrichshafen for a while, stopping at Pier 40 for a misleadingly-named Meckatzer Weiss-Gold. And the 55-minute journey across the Bodensee was plenty of time to enjoy a Leibinger Edel-Pils on the boat.

Pier 40, FriedrichshafenMeckatzer Weiss-Gold at Pier 40
Leibinger Edel-Pils on the Bodensee Katamaran

The only thing that really went wrong today: I seem to have caught a whopping great cold this afternoon. This is unfortunate, because tomorrow will be the first time all week that Paris and I will be able to spend all day together, and we have some friends visiting from Hessen. We'll see how this goes.

(Tomorrow: Konstanz)

Thursday, December 7, 2006


(Yesterday: Bad Schussenried)

Whee...another Really Early Morning. It's really starting to look like I won't get another full night's sleep until I get home next Sunday night. But the weather today is beautiful (although the locals still seem to think it's cold) and my trains and buses ran like clockwork and everything happened right on schedule, exactly the opposite of yesterday.

Barfüßer - die Hausbrauerei is a short walk from the Bahnhof through the Fußgängerzone. Today's lunch crowd was rather older, but also rather boisterous, so they were all fun to watch. The bar upstairs, co-located with the brewhouse, seemed geared toward a younger clientele. The Schwarzbier was quite tasty, as was the Schweinshax'n (€7,80) which absolutely enormous.

Barfüßer - die Hausbrauerei, UlmBarfüßer's bar
Barfüßer's brewhouseBarfüßer's retail store

Beers sell for €2,30-2,40 for a 0.3-liter glass, and €2,90-3,00 for a half-liter. They also have lots of different ways for you to take their beer home with you: one-liter bottles, two-liter "Kanne", five-liter "Party Dose", and three different sizes of kegs.

Barfüßer Rotgold PilsBarfüßer Blonde
Barfüßer Schwarze

They have the neatest painting on the wall: Albert Einstein as a homebrewer. (Or maybe an alchemist.) Ulm being Einstein's hometown, I asked if there was a museum or monument nearby, but the bartender said no. That's a shame.

Einstein the Homebrewer

"Gönn' Dir Gutes, gönn' Dir Barfüßer!"

I returned to Konstanz via a couple of trains, a Schussenrieder Pils at the Speisegaststätte Stadtbahnhof in Friedrichshafen, and the Bodensee Katamaran, which departs from the Zeppelin Museum. Next time I'm here, I'll definitely make time to visit that museum, which has a reconstructed section of the LZ 129 Hindenburg that you can explore.

Speisegaststätte Stadtbahnhof, FriedrichshafenZeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen

We spent the evening drinking Glühwein in the Weihnachtsmarkt am See with some of Paris' Altana colleagues, and we actually turned in at a decent hour for the first time this week.

(Tomorrow: Hundersingen)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Bad Schussenried

(Yesterday: Tettnang-Ravensburg)

My travel mojo was absolutely not working today. I picked the wrong tickets, I picked the wrong vehicles, I picked the wrong destinations. Plus it was cold, blustery, and raining all day. I left Konstanz just one minute later than I had planned, and finally reached Bad Schussenried at 11:59am, an hour and forty-eight minutes late. At one point I got off the train at Aulendorf because my ticket made it look like I needed to change trains. Just as the train was leaving the station, I found the schedule which told me that all I needed to do was stay on the same train until the next stop. So I had a 50-minute wait until the next train came through. But I got there in the end.

The Schussenrieder Erlebnisbrauerei is a fairly large operation, much of which is visible through large windows on the brewery grounds. Their Gasthof comprises what seemed like eighty or ninety different rather large dining rooms, decorated in what Americans might call a "northwoods" style. On the next floor up, you'll find what's billed as "Germany's only beer stein museum", which really does house an impressive collection.

Brauerei Ott, Bad SchussenriedBeer Stein Museum at the Schussenrieder Erlebnisbrauerei
Schussenrieder PilsSchussenrieder Weiße
Beer steins, from the very large to the very smallThis seidel lid reads "Bier ist Gift!!": Beer is poison
A very small portion of the Beer Stein MuseumSeveral more "Bier ist Gift"
Playing cards (mainly Schafkopf) beer steins
Not a beer stein, but a fun bit of sculpture

The trip back to Konstanz didn't go any better than the morning's journey. Missed connections, long layovers, and poor planning kept me away from the hotel until 6:00pm. Just in time to catch Paris on her way to meet some colleagues at Brauhaus Johann Albrecht for dinner and beers. And of course, we followed that up with more beers at
zur steinernen Kugel, where Olaf took down his guitar and gleefully entertained us with some of his original songs. Great fun!

Brauhaus Johann Albrecht, KonstanzBierstube zur steinernen Kugel, Konstanz
Olaf sings!

One more beer (a Schöfferhofer Dunkles Weissbier) at the hotel bar, and presto! It's 1:00am already.

Bibliothek Bar at Hotel Halm, Konstanz

(Tomorrow: Ulm)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


(Yesterday: Zürich-Simmerberg-Konstanz)

We spent last night drinking at zum Salzbüchsle until 1:00am, so morning came very early today. A great breakfast at the hotel along with a couple of nice strong cups of coffee got me on my way. It's another grey day, but warmer than yesterday; it's actually pretty nice out. Paid €28 for a Euregio Bodensee day pass good for travel all over the Baden side of the lake. All but one of the bus drivers acted like they'd never seen one before, but it all worked out. There's a great view of the snow-capped Alps from the Fähre. With 45 minutes to kill at Ravensburg, I guess I could have had a beer, but I choked down a bottle of mineral water instead. Nasty stuff. That's one thing I do miss about the States: big tall glasses of ice water.

I arrived at Brauerei-Gasthof zur Krone in Tettnang around 11:00am.

Brauerei Gasthof zur Krone, TettnangThe sign reads, "For 500 years Tettnang was the seat of the renowned Count Montfort. The last of the line, Count Anton, died in this house in the year 1787."

Brewer Franz Tauscher gave me a fun quick tour of the place. He runs a 55-hectoliter brewhouse that produces 6000 hl per year. Beers are mashed using either single- or double-decoction, and the kettle is direct-fired with an oil burner. The beers contain 100% Tettnanger aroma hop flowers. Their bottling line can run 3000 bottles per hour.

Krone's lauter tunKrone's brewkettle
Krone's bottle fillerKrone's varieties

The Gasthof looks like a pretty upscale place when you first walk in — there are only tables, no bar — but as the lunch crowd comes in, you can feel the Gemütlichkeit. Lunch today was a plate of Katzag'schroi, roughly translated as "the cat's meow": strips of steak grilled with onions and egg. Terrific beer-drinking food, heavy and salty.

Brewmaster Franz Tauscher pours a beer for meTettnanger Kronenbier
Tettnanger PilsTettnanger Kellerpils and Tettnanger See-Weizen Bio-Hefeweizen
Tettnanger Coronator Helle Doppelbock

You never know who you'll run into there: Max Leibinger was at the next table, meeting with a union leader. I'll certainly go back to zur Krone sometime, probably when I try to reach Schöre Brauerei-Gasthof in Dietmannsweiler on the next trip. Plus I need to find out what "Du freyst mych!" means.

I scooted back to Tettnang Bahnhof and just caught the bus to Ravensburg Marienplatz. It's not a long walk to Friedhofstraße and Brauerei Leibinger, but as usual I misread a sign and ended up hiking all the way up the hill behind the brewery and all the way down the other side. I finally found the Stüble tucked in among all the other brewery buildings. The sign on the door says they don't open until 4:00pm, which is more than two hours away. Leibinger is the only brewery on this whole tour for which I didn't have the opening hours, so it figures they'd be closed when I arrived.

Brauerei Leibinger, RavensburgBrauerei Leibinger, Ravensburg
Brauerei Leibinger's Stube

So it's back down the hill, regretting that I wouldn't be able to meet up with Andreas Praefcke this time around. Fortunately, the Bürgerliches Brauhaus Brauereigaststätte is directly on the path to the Bahnhof, so I ducked in there for a Farny Humpis-Original, which I had enjoyed here on my last trip. Even more fortunately, the WC here wasn't locked like the one at Leibinger. If there hadn't been a truck outside the building pumping out the sewer, the beer probably would have tasted even better than it did.

Bürgerliches Brauhaus Brauereigaststätte, RavensburgBürgerliches Brauhaus Brauereigaststätte's Bar

My memory of the evening in Konstanz is pretty hazy. I did some Internetting alongside some Maisel Weissbier at the Shamrock Irish Pub, and my notes say we had dinner and a couple of Alpirsbacher beers at the Schindelstube. All I know for sure is that we drank lots of Köstritzer at zur steinernen Kugel, and didn't get back to the hotel until after 2:00am. Tomorrow morning is going to arrive even earlier than this morning did.

Shamrock Irish Pub, KonstanzBierstube zur steinernen Kugel, Konstanz
Schindelstube, KonstanzThe bar at Schindelstube

(Tomorrow: Bad Schussenried)