Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back to Biberach

For the third time already this year, we're headed back to Germany! Biberach an der Riß will be the home base again, along with a couple of days in Stuttgart. We'll arrive on Sunday, June 21 and fly home early Sunday, June 28.

I'm hoping to be able to visit at least ten breweries, but we'll see how that goes. As always, I'm putting together a Google Earth map of the routes and targets; you can find that map at

Two weeks notice

It's time to move on: I gave my notice to Gottberg yesterday. Paris and I bought a house in Omaha, aptly-named "The Porter House". My last day at the brewery will be Wednesday, June 10, and our first day in the new house will be Tuesday, June 30.

I'll still have to make a thousand gallons of root beer before I go, and I should probably brew another batch of Pale Ale, but that's about it. As for the 715 pounds of Weyermann Rauchmalz in the cellar...well, I do regret that I won't be brewing the Rauchdoppelbock that I had planned.

Once we get organized in Omaha, I'll build a new half-barrel homebrew system* and start making beer again. I'll keep the blog alive for that process; it's still "A Brewer's Life" after all.

As for a job, I don't have anything in the works. There are a few groups of people there that are thinking of building new breweries, and I can maybe consult for them at first, and brew for them if the situation is right. There are also rumors of expansions of existing breweries, but nothing very specific. In any case, there will be a lot more opportunities in Omaha than there are in Columbus.

*Does anyone out there remember the one I had at the Big Pink House in Oshkosh and/or in Clear Lake? And do you have pictures? I don't think I actually took any.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oktoberfest beer Maß prices bubble over

In what has become an annual ritual, beer prices at Munich's Oktoberfest are going up again.

Visitors to Munich’s world-famous beer bash Oktoberfest will have to dig even deeper in their pockets for a one-litre Maß of delicious amber nectar this year, with prices set to climb up to €8.60 per mug.

The city’s tourist office announced on Wednesday that a Maß will run revellers a minimum of €0.30 more than last year. Prices for non-alcoholic drinks will also be more expensive, with water costing on average €6.63 per litre and soda costing a hefty €7.44.

Read the whole story at The Local.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Steppin' out for a smoke

Here's an interesting take on prohibitionism from an interesting source:

English musician and Berlin resident Joe Jackson explains why he’s delighted Germany’s smoking ban appears to be unravelling faster than a self-rolled cigarette.

Having lived in Berlin for the better part of three years, I’ve been asked to write something about my ‘right’ to smoke here. But I’m not sure I have one. The real question, I think, is: who has the right to forbid me to smoke, and on what grounds? Consider the following:

(1) Tobacco is legal in Germany.

(2) Smokers are adults.

(3) Smokers contribute enormous amounts of tax revenue.

(4) Pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants are private property.

(5) If some people don’t like smoke, this is a matter of taste and therefore for the free market to sort out, not the government.

(6) A decent modern ventilation system can render smoke virtually unnoticeable.

(7) ‘Second-hand,’ or ‘passive’ smoke hurts no one anyway.

Every aspect of our personal lives is being dictated, more and more, by unelected and unaccountable bodies like the WHO or various bit of the EU bureaucracy. If you don’t smoke, you may think it’s none of your business. But don’t kid yourself. If you’re a few pounds ‘overweight,’ or drink more than two government-defined ‘units’ of alcohol per day, or eat ‘unhealthy’ foods, then you’re next in line to be scapegoated and stigmatised, denied health care or insurance, denied jobs or housing, forbidden to adopt children...the list is growing daily.

Read Jackson's entire column at The Local.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2009 Graduation Season

At least 10% of Gottberg's annual root beer sales will occur this weekend. That's why there hasn't been much on the schedule lately, besides filling kegs and making root beer.

Things should get back to normal (whatever that means) starting next week.