Friday, October 27, 2006

The Perils of Globeerization

This link comes from Foreign Policy In Focus via the Brewers Association email forum. While I don't agree with its calls for more regulation, the article does provide some interesting food for thought with regards to the economic and social effects of the industrialization of brewing.

The world's cup runneth over with living beer traditions. But this vast repository of cultural brewing capital is under attack by global corporations. The top five brewing companies, all of which are American- or European-owned, control 41% of the world market. Perversely, economists and politicians calculate the conquest by industrial breweries as economic growth while the value of small-scale traditional brewing goes uncounted. Much will be lost if this global “beerodiversity” is lost to the forces of corporate-led homogenization.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Man Killed When Beer Keg Explodes

This showed up on today alongside a well-deserved Dumbass tag. Don't try this at home. Really.

Police were trying to determine who tossed a beer keg into an open fire at an outdoor party early Sunday, causing an explosion that sent shards of shrapnel slicing through a crowd of partygoers, killing one.

Read the rest of this AP story here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Firefox Keyword Search

Here's a nifty trick for Firefox users that will allow you to search Beer Me! from your browser's Location Bar.

First, go to (This link pops up a new window so you won't lose these instructions.) Notice the "search" box on the left-hand side of the page. search box

Right-click in the search box and select "Add a Keyword for this Search...". You'll get a popup asking for a Name and a Keyword. The Name is the text that will appear in your list of Bookmarks. The Keyword is what you'll type into the Location Bar to make it go; use something short and easy to remember. Personally, I use bm for, but you can use whatever you like.

Now you can just type your keyword followed by your search terms to find anything on Here's an example: search example

Thanks to Jonathan at for the idea; he has a much more lucid and well-illustrated set of instructions here.

1000 Arten ein Bier zu öffnen

Here's a followup to earlier post, courtesy or

1000 Arten ein Bier zu öffnen (1000 ways to open a beer)

The site is in German, but there are plenty of pictures.

Designated drunk: Can you get intoxicated without actually drinking alcohol?

Cecil Adams recently answered this question:

Recently, a safety poster at work published the following information: "Myth: People who abstain from alcohol are alcohol-free, and can't be arrested for DUI. Fact: False. People continuously produce alcohol inside their own bodies, a process called endogenous ethanol production. In some cases, enough alcohol can be produced to lead to intoxication." What?! You mean even if I'm the designated driver, I'm still running the risk of getting a DUI? Help me out, Cecil; I'm considering going back to my skateboard to avoid a bio-induced drunk-driving accident. —Jerrod, Augusta, Georgia

The short answer is "yes, there is such a thing as endogenous ethanol production". Read the full answer here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The trip to the Bodensee ends: Zürich-Amsterdam-St.Paul-Omaha-Columbus

Yesterday: Frauenfeld-Zürich

We got breakfast at the Zürich airport after I checked in for my 9:30 flight, then Paris caught a train back to Konstanz. Everything ran on time, and I easily made my connection in Amsterdam. It's an 8¼-hour flight to Minneapolis-St.Paul. A couple of free cans of Heineken helped me nap a bit. The Atlantic Ocean was mostly clouded over, but I did get a spectacular view of the southern coast of Greenland halfway through the flight.

We landed at MSP just about on schedule. I was at the back of the bus, so to speak, and with plenty of time to wait before I could get out of my seat and stand up in the aisle, I figured it would be a good time to clean my glasses. Snap! Busted the frame right in half. I got some funny looks from the Customs and Immigration agents as I held one lens up to my eye in order to read the signs. I tracked down the gate for my flight to Omaha and asked the gate agent if he had any tape I could use for repairs. He didn't, but he offered a knuckle Band-Aid that did the trick.

Got to Omaha without incident. Ditto for the 1½-hour drive home; I arrived around 8:30pm, and the cats rejoiced. I too rejoiced upon finding a bottle of Duvel in the refrigerator.

And so it ends.

I've created a Google Earth file that traces this trip. If you've got Google Earth installed, you can look at the map here. I recommend that you view that map in conjunction with my Worldwide Brewery Map.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Yesterday: Dornbirn

My flight home leaves Sunday morning, so Paris and I decided to go to Zürich today and spend the night to make it easier to get to the airport in the morning. Plus we can stop at a brewery or two along the way. Our first stop was Brauhaus Sternen in Frauenfeld.

Brauhaus Sternen

After a wrong turn or two, Paris convinced me to ask a local to point us at the brewery; after that, it was easy to find, only about 500 meters from the Bahnhof. To be honest, we weren't all that impressed...the beers weren't very good, the service was virtually nonexistent, and the bill was positively extortionate.

We walked back to the Bahnhof and caught the next train to Zürich Flughafen. A very helpful woman at the Information Desk helped us find a nearby hotel, made us a reservation, and pointed us at the shuttle bus. Shortly we arrived, checked in, and asked the front desk to call a taxi to take us downtown. They told us it would be much cheaper to go back to the airport and take a train in, so back on the shuttle bus we go.

The S16 train runs directly from the Flughafen to the Hardbrücke station, and from there it's just a 500-meter walk to Steinfels Back & Brau. (I forgot my damn camera at the hotel, or there'd be a picture here.) The beers were better here, and the food was really good, and while the service wasn't as invisible here as at Sternen, it sure seemed like we were being ignored. These two brewpubs were the only places we encountered poor service; perhaps not coincidentally, these were the only places that used the American model of hiring college-age kids to tend the bar and wait tables.

We decided to call it an early night due to the early morning tomorrow, but the temptation of the cleverly named "Hotel Bar" overcame us. We stopped in for a couple of Löwenbräu Zürich Löwen Weisse, and I lamented the fact that it would essentialy be my final beer of the trip.

Tomorrow: Zürich-Amsterdam-St.Paul-Omaha-Columbus

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Yesterday: Lustenau-Arbon

Another foggy day, with the odd drop of rain. I made the earlier train today, so it's off to a good start.

Mohren-Bräu is quite a big facility, but they don't have a Stube.


Kein ProblemSchlossbräu is just a few blocks away. Missed a turn or two, but got there OK.


Owner/Diplom-Braumeister Gottfried Seitz went way beyond Gemütlichkeit, showing me around his brewery, talking about the local beer scene, and ultimately buying my lunch and beers! He's a Real Fun Guy who can come drink my beers any time.

Gottfried pointed me to the Gasthaus Bierlokal on the edge of the Marktplatz; they carry some of the Mohren-Bräu range. Löwenbräu München has an excellent Dunkles Lager, but the complexity of Mohren-Bräu Gambrinus blows it away. It's one of those rare beers that could score 35 on my 20-point scale.

(Either European tobacco has a really sweet aroma, or there are lots of people smoking dope in the stations.)

There's just the tiniest bit of snow on the tops of the mountains east of Dornbirn. The Grenzwache stopped a few people at Sankt-Margrethen, but not me. First time I've seen that on this route.

Shit. Turned the wrong way getting off the penultimate train, and missed the Konstanz connection by ten seconds. Next one's in twenty minutes, by which time I could walk to across the border to my hotel, so I did.

After wandering around the local mall looking for a non-existent Gasthaus someone had told us about, we ended up at Fäßle (Neugasse 23) for dinner and Ruppaner beers. It's a little hole-in-the-wall kind of place, but the food was excellent, and the people treated us like we were their best friends.

Tomorrow: Frauenfeld-Zürich

Friday, October 13, 2006


Yesterday: Wädenswil-Rapperswil

Got the same ticket agent today that I got on Monday. He sold me a day pass good for travel all over the Bodensee area for about half the price (€27-) of a round trip to Lustenau. (Where was he yesterday?) The train doesn't leave for an hour and a half, so I went to the Bahnhof Gaststätte for a beer. Of course, Heute Ruhetag. Took a 45-minute walk around the Konstanz Altstadt to kill some time. Somehow walked in a loop along the way, and found myself at Obere Laube, heading the opposite direction from where I thought I was going. (Technically, I wasn't "lost". I knew where I was, I just didn't know how I got there.)

The fog had pretty much cleared by the time I reached Sankt-Margrethen, and the weather was beautiful during the three-kilometer walk from Lustenau Bahnhof downtown to the Kirchbräu Gasthaus-Brauerei.

Kirchbräu Gasthaus-Brauerei

The former Kirchbräu, that is — the signs in the windows say "Premises for Rent". Fortunately, across the street the Austria Lustenau Cafe was open. I was able to get a couple of Mohren-Bräu beers before hiking back to the Bahnhof, along with a couple of very tasty Wurst served with mustard and grated horseradish.

Found a bus stop that offered three different routes to the Bahnhof, but decided to walk anyway. Worked out fine, because I was only five minutes from the Bahnhof when the first bus passed me. Surprisingly for a town of this size (population 20,000) the Bahnhof is not much more than a wide spot in the tracks — the office appears permanently closed — and it's quite some distance from the middle of town.

Waited 25 minutes for the train, made all the connections like clockwork, got off in Arbon, walked up the hill to Gasthof-Brauerei zum Frohsinn, and by some miracle, it's open! It's perfectly named, and it's got pretty good beers and terrific Rauchlachs.

Gasthof-Brauerei zum Frohsinn

Installed in the men's room is a self-sanitizing, gear-driven, rotating toilet seat. I must confess I've never seen anything quite like it before. I apologize for not taking a picture.

It just occurred to me that I haven't seen one single advertisement for an American industrial beer. When I visited Germany in 2003, the ads were everywhere.

We originally planned on having dinner at Zum Salzbüchsle (Salmannsweilergasse 26). The Andechser Dunkles was excellent, but the food menu was very limited, so we decided to go to the Turkish restaurant Radieschen (Hohenhausgasse 1). The food was interesting and tasty, and the Schlösser Alt wasn't bad either.

Tomorrow: Dornbirn

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yesterday: Ravensburg, and not Tettnang

CHF 68,00 for a one-way train ticket to Wädenswil! This is going to be an expensive day. Thick fog. No scenery. Hard to stay awake. The WC in Zürich Hauptbahnhof wanted CHF 1,00 to take a leak, and I didn't have any change. Couldn't find the WC at Wädenswil Bahnhof. Fortunately it's right by the door at Wädi-Bräu-Huus.


Noticed something here that you don't see in the States: traffic here comes to a screeching halt for a pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk.

Missed my train by five minutes...the next one is only twenty minutes from now. Some Alps are finally starting to poke out of the fog.

The Hotel Speer is immediately across the street from Rapperswil Bahnhof. The Back & Brau brewpub, formerly located here, closed a year ago. Fortunately, there's a train going at least part of the way to Konstanz in 40 minutes.

Apparently the machine sold me a half-price kid's ticket, so the conductor took CHF 15,00 from me on top of the CHF 17,00 I had already paid. And I'm not sure why this train is called the Voralpen Express. We're stopping at every little town we come across.

Tomorrow: Lustenau-Arbon

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ravensburg, and not Tettnang

Yesterday: Kressbronn-Tettnang

Since I was planning to go to Ravensburg anyway, I thought I'd give Tettnang another try. I'll be really displeased if Tuesday is Ruhetag in Ravensburg.

Bus: Konstanz-Fähre-Ravensburg

Bürgerliches Brauhaus Brauereigaststätte

The Bürgerliches Brauhaus Brauereigaststätte at Hotel Storchen opens at 10:00am. It's on Friedhofstraße, but not at number 20-36 where Brauerei Leibinger appears on my list. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a number 20, a number 36, or anything in between on that side of the street. The bartender here insists Leibinger is on Friedhofstraße, on the right side of the street, but I sure didn't see it. But the Brauereigaststätte has a good lineup of Farny beers, so it was worth stopping. The beers were €2,60 apiece (not bad) and for €4,70 I enjoyed the daily special of Hirsch Gulasch that was absolutely outstanding.

The Stammtisch was occupied at 10:00 already. I heard one of the old-timers exclaim, "Ich rauch' zu wenig" after the bartender accused him of smoking too much. And it must get pretty feisty in here sometimes; the bartender's phone rings so loud they can probably hear it in Ulm.

A lens popped out of my glasses while I was at the bar, but I wouldn't let that interfere with my beer-drinking. There has to be an Optiker around here somewhere. (I knew it — I should have just had them fix my right eye two years ago, and got a monocle for the left.) Some discussion with the bartender and a patron at the bar got me pointed in the right direction.

And finally, after my fifth beer, it's time to go. I got my glasses fixed quickly, easily, and friendly at Die Brille on Kirchstraße, then walked the rest of the way to the Bahnhof.

The next bus to Tettnang doesn't leave for 2¼ hours. Unless there's an earlier one at another Haltestelle, I'll head back to Konstanz. (There wasn't, and I did.)

But I did in fact find Leibinger beer at the Ravensburg Bahnhof; apparently, the trick is that you have to ask for it. And as I drank it, I realized...there's nothing like a good German beer. A real, fresh, German beer is as good as beer gets. (Although the beers here in Baden-Württemburg seem a lot more fizzy than elsewhere in Germany.)

So, an Edel-Spezial and a Hefeweizen at Ravensburg Bahnhof, then back to Konstanz. Here's another gross generalization: the Weissbier in Baden-Württemburg don't seem to have anywhere near the banana and clove character as their Bavarian counterparts.

Trains: Ravensburg-Friedrichshafen-Radolfzell-Konstanz, or at least that was the plan. I missed the connection to Radolfzell at Friedrichshafen-Stadt by nine minutes. (Unheard of!) The next train to Radolfzell is over an hour from now, so I have time for a beer at the Speisegaststätte Stadtbahnhof. They have the complete range of Königsegger WalderBräu and Härle beers, of which I've got time for two. Or maybe three. The bartender reminded me of Christine Parolek, a colleague here at Gottberg; she said she was surprised that I was writing my notes in English!

Fell asleep on the train. Woke up in Singen. Missed the train to Konstanz by ten seconds; next one leaves in half an hour. Had to buy a beer (Becks in a 14-ounce "pint") to get a 50-Cent piece for the toilet. Finally got back to the hotel at 7:15 to find a note from Paris saying "meet us at Johann Albrecht at 7:00". So off I go...

After dinner and beers with Paris and her cohorts from Altana, we stopped by Bierstube zur steinernen Kugel (Hohenhausgasse 8) for more than a few beers. Owner/bartender Olaf Dietrich is a tremendously friendly man, lately moved to Konstanz from Dresden, who loves good beer. We had a great time at the Kugel, and I intend to stop by every time I'm in Konstanz!

Tomorrow: Wädenswil-Rapperswil

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Yesterday: Konstanz

The DB-agent noticed that I was heading for Max & Moritz near Kressbronn am Bodensee and said their beer is wunderbar. The brewery is a two-kilometer uphill hike from the Bahnhof, past hop fields, apple orchards, and a beer can collection displayed in front of a house at Bergerstraße 3.

Hop field near Kressbronn

Internationale Bierseminare, Dr. R. Kugel

By the time I got to the top of the hill, I was definitely ready for some wunderbar beer, and I found it here in the form of their Kellerpils. Had fun talking with Andi the brewer, who gave me a great tour, tastes from the lagering tanks, and a four-pack of his Spezial, which I carried back to Konstanz so Paris could have some. Also a great Brotzeit to soak up the beer.

Gasthaus-Brauerei Max & Moritz

It was another long walk back down the hill (but not as long as the walk up), and a long wait for the bus to Tettnang. I walked round and round the Bärenplatz looking for Brauerei & Gasthof zur Krone, only to finally find Montag Ruhetag posted on their door. Had an even longer wait for a bus to Ravensburg.

There are plenty of signs that Tettnang is a major hop-growing and -processing center.


I noticed a Gasthaus-Brauerei near Ravensburg Marienplatz — no time to stop now, but I found that it's on my list for later this week. Couldn't find a beer at Ravensburg Bahnhof. Took trains from Ravensburg to Radolfzell to Konstanz and got back just in time for dinner at the Italian restaurant Pinocchio, where we enjoyed Stuttgarter Hofbräu Herren Pils and Malteser Hefeweizen.

Tomorrow: Ravensburg, and not Tettnang

Monday, October 9, 2006


Yesterday: Amsterdam-Zürich-Konstanz

We slept late and missed the free breakfast at the hotel. Walked over to Konstanz Hafen and found the Konzil Gaststätten. Along with a terrific Fischmaultäschle for lunch, I had my first taste of Ruppaner, the local beer of Konstanz. (Johann Albrecht is the "newcomer".)

We took a short walk to the Bahnhof to catch the #1 bus to Staat-Autofähre, from which stop it's about a 1 km walk to the Ruppaner-Brauerei. The Biergarten there has a terrific view of the Überlingersee, and the beers were noticeably fresher than at the restaurant earlier. It's a real nice place to relax and enjoy the beer.

Ruppaner Brauerei

Dinner at the Hexen Küche on Bodanstraße, with beers from Dinkelacker-Schwabenbräu. By the time we returned to the hotel, Paris' colleague had recovered somewhat from his flight, and we met him at Shamrock, an Irish pub on Bahnhofstraße. (Shamrock has free Internet access, and in fact that's where I'm posting these notes from.) One round of Guinness, and a couple of Maisel Weissbier. And then it was midnight already.

Tomorrow: Kressbronn-Tettnang

Sunday, October 8, 2006


Yesterday: Omaha-Detroit-Amsterdam

Either Amsterdam has a remarkably confusing airport, or it's just too early in the morning (6:00am MESZ) for my brain to function. Fairly short hop to Zürich.

Taxi driver Bernd Müller was ready and waiting for us, and chatted all the way to Konstanz. He was very excited to hear that I was touring breweries, as the Ruppaner Brauerei is in his neighborhood, and he spends a lot of time in the Biergarten there.

Arrived at the Hotel Bayrische Hof at 10:00, two hours before our room was ready, so we dropped off our bags and strolled around the Altstadt. Ended up at the Bahnhof Gaststätte for breakfast - our third of the day, if airplane food counts - and a couple glasses of Rothaus Pils. Went back to the hotel around noon for a couple hours' sleep.

Walked to Brauhaus Johann Albrecht, about 700 meters across the Altstadt from the hotel. Good food and good beer, better than the one in Düsseldorf that we visited three years ago.

Brauhaus Johann Albrecht - Konstanz

Tomorrow: Konstanz

Saturday, October 7, 2006


Yesterday: Columbus-Omaha

Our flight left Omaha around 10:00am and dropped us off in Detroit with three hours to kill. Had a couple of Bell's Amber at the Online C@fe near Gate A36. Northwest Airlines offers free Heineken on the Amsterdam leg...I figured having one might help me sleep.

Tomorrow: Amsterdam-Zürich-Konstanz

Friday, October 6, 2006

The trip to the Bodensee begins: Columbus-Omaha

So here we go...Paris' employer is sending her to work at Altana Pharma in Konstanz am Bodensee, and I'm going along for a week to find all the good beer in the area.

We'd planned to stop by the Crescent Moon for some Unibroue beers (newly introduced to Nebraska by the Crescent Moon), but we got such a late start that we just found ourselves a hotel near the airport and stayed put.

Tomorrow: Omaha-Detroit-Amsterdam

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Beer drinkers beware: 4 percent of U.S. hops crop burns

From AP via CNN:

YAKIMA, Washington (AP) -- Federal investigators were set Tuesday to begin an investigation into a fire that ruined about 4 percent of America's yield of hops, used as flavoring in the brewing of beer and ale.

The fire started shortly before noon Monday in a 40,000-square-foot (3,600-square-meter) warehouse operated by S.S. Steiner Inc., one of the four largest hop buyers in the Yakima Valley of central Washington. By mid-afternoon flames engulfed most of the building, sending up plumes of smoke and a pungent aroma.

[I had a link to the original article, but it no longer exists.]

Thanks to Michael Feekart for the link!