The Beer Route

The Beer Route

Suraaj Nair

Co-Founder & Director Brewer World

RECENT BEER TRAVEL TRAIL EXPERIENCE THROUGH FRANKFURT & PARIS

Frankfurt – The city of Lights! The city of Culture! Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. It is a global hub for commerce, culture, education, tourism and transportation. Home to the Goethe University and the largest English theatre, Alte Oper, Frankfurt is definitely a place to add on to the bucket list if you haven’t already visited the city.

Once we landed in Frankfurt, our first impression is that you are no stranger in the city, it welcomes you. As an enthusiast of all things beer, we decided to look at Frankfurt through the beer glass! Or glasses!!

A WALK ALONG THE ALTSTADT

The Altstadt is a city district of Frankfurt, located on the northern Main river bank. Covering less than half a square kilometre, it is the smallest district of Frankfurt. The locals have taken advantage of the scenic magnificence of the Northern river, and opened various cafes and beer gardens on shore the Altstadt. Our first sip on the beer trail is at a quaint former outhouse, with detailed interiors and a welcoming ambience.

The Schöfferhofer weizen, is a German Wheat Beer brewed in Bavarian tradition using wheat malt.


Binding brewed by Binding-Brauerei (Oetker Group) is a German style Pilsner.
The beer has a light sweetness to it.

HENNINNGER PERIMUM LAGER.
This is surley a must try. I recommed all to add this to their beer lists. Brewed by the Oetker group. It has a mild but refreshing flavour.

NEXT STOP-KAKADUS, this tucked away abode reflects the settings of an Australian brew pub. Its interiors are vibrant and the mood is one of youthfulness and creativity.

Let yourself be enchanted by the Australian flair and enjoy a rich selection of exotic cocktails and food in addition to the country-style cuisine.

Their beer selection is as wide and vast as the spaces on the shelves cater to. From an Erdinger to a Franciscan weissbier.

We tried the FRANCISCAN ROYAL. The Franziskaner Weissbier Royal won the Gold Award in the category “German-Style Wheat Ale” at the World Beer Cup 2016.

I’ve heard a lot of rumours about this one. And have been on the lookout to try this brew for over a couple of months now. The ROTHAUS PILS TANNENZÄPFLE has existed since 1956 – for almost 60 years. It has a great light golden colour and a slight bite when you first taste it.

It’s packed full of light fruity notes, that leave a smile on your face once done.

ERDINGER WEISSBIER! This age-old classic has finally landed in India as well. The strength of this classic wheat beer lies in the harmonic balance it achieves between various aromas.

FROM BOTTLE TO BOTTLE

As an avid collector of single malts, I’ve spent my fair share trudging from liquor stores to duty free stores in search of these bottles. When we visited Frankfurt and Paris, I was amused by the variety & choices, the labels & artworks, the sizes & shapes, the colours and of course the branding and attention to each and every bottle of beer on display. From Stouts, to Hefeweizens, Flavoured Ales, Pumpkin Ciders, Trappist beers and more, the only problem one might face is choosing what to pick up and savour.

A couple of the beers that you are going to read about tickled my interest enough to get me to research these brews. The Bitburger Braugruppe, established 7 generations ago, is rich in tradition and is a family centric business. Bitburger, Köstritzer, König Pilsner, Werensgrüner and Licher adds to the beer portfolio at the Bitburger Braugruppe. The Köstritzer is an schwarzbier or a black beer, is a dark lager made in Germany. They tend to have an opaque, black colour with hints of chocolate or coffee flavours, and are generally around 5% abv. Tyskie Gronie, as hard to pronounce, as it is to find the history of the great brew. Tyskie is a Polish brand of beer, its name comes from the brewery located in the Upper Silesia town of Tychy. Gronie is their flagship pale lager of full strength, which for years has been gaining recognition both in Poland and all over the world. Tyskie Gronie is the only Polish beer to have won two “Brewing Oscars” – Grand Prix at the British Brewing Industry Awards.

Rogue nation gets mentioned mainly because I have never been so engaged and amused with the colours, labels and logos of their bottles and packaging!  Their bottles on the outside create a visual stimulant before sipping their brews. While they have over 13 of their brews in bottles on shelves waiting to be bought. I’d like to tell you about the 2 that we tried. 6 Hop IPA – ‘hazelnut brown nectar’ is a pumpkin patch brown ale. A nutty twist to a traditional European Brown Ale. Dark brown in colour with a hazelnut aroma. We tested our taste buds next with Rogue Nations – ‘paradise pucker’ inspired by the classic Hawaiian juice, infused with passion fruit, orange peels, and guava to create a delightful sour ale.

EN ROUTE PARIS

Paris isn’t really known for their beers. It is more commonly associated with the Eiffel tower, Champs-Élysées, baguettes, croissants and fine wines. We took the train from Frankfurt main to Paris, and with three hours to entertain ourselves, we turned our attention to the food carts and beverages on offer. That is how I got introduced to my first brew of Parisian beer – Kronenbourg 1664. Founded in 1664 by Geronimus Hatt in Strasbourg, Holy Roman Empire. The name comes from the area where the brewery relocated in 1850. The company is owned by the Carlsberg Group. The main brand is Kronenbourg 1664, a 5.5% abv pale lager. The main Kronenbourg 1664 brewery is in France, but the brand is also brewed in the UK by Heineken at its Manchester brewery, as well as in Australia by Coopers.

Paulaner beer was another brew we got to try on the train journey to Paris. Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier is the one we dipped our lips in. Citrusy and refreshing are the two words that come to mind while trying to describe this brew. As a traditional German Hefeweizen, this brew style has a royal heritage and is worth a read.

We found our humble abode amidst the rue de Jacob, this road runs parallel to the Seine. It begins in the Rue de Seine and ends up in the Rue des Saints-Pères. The footpaths are covered in colourful cafés with their own sort of sigil’s creating a unique identity. The streets are crowded with chattering tourists, we included! The aromas, noises, and colours force us to grab a table and savour all the Paris offers.

Located in the heart of Paris, Au Trappist is the perfect place to relax and unwind. A beer bar with over 120 beer bottles of assorted styles and 20 draft beers on tap. Au Trappist, is a one stop Parisian café where you can indulge in fine brews produced from different countries, and is where we settled down to try out the next few beers mentioned – Leffe, Schneider Weisse and Schlenkerla Rauchbier.

LEFFE and Schneider weisse have been on my favourites list for a while now. Leffe Blonde, Leffe Nectar, Leffe Brown, Leffe triple, Leffe Radieuse and Leffe Rituel֯ create their proud range of beers brewed. Leffe’s introduction to the Indian market was certainly a cheered one.

SCHNEDIER WEISSE, after the breweries in Munich were destroyed in 1944 by aerial bombardment by the Allies of World War II, the entire production was relocated to Kelheim. Today, the brewery has an annual output of about 300,000 hectolitres, of which about 25% is sent outside of Germany.

AECHT SCHLENKERLA RAUCHBIER, now this is one interesting brew. It has a magnificent history and is truly one-of-a kind experience. Smoked beer is a type of beer with a distinctive smoke flavour imparted by using malted barley dried over an open flame. Bamberg’s speciality, a dark, bottom fermented smokebeer, brewed with Original Schlenkerla Smokemalt from the Schlenkerla maltings and tapped according to old tradition directly from the gravity-fed oakwood cask in the historical brewery tavern. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier has a distinctive smoky aroma and flavour that is consistently present amongst the three varieties: urbock, märzen and weizen. I had travelled to Bamberg a couple of months back when I first sipped this fine brew in the original brewery with all its history, yet it was in Paris that I got reacquainted with Bamberg’s finest once again.

Another interesting Parisian brew I stumbled across was at a local liquor store – BaP BaP BEER! The branding and packaging were a visual treat and their quirky story is an inspiration to become a beer-preneur of sorts. The name stands for brassée à Paris, bue à Paris – “brewed in Paris, drunk in Paris” – and this brewery is decidedly local.

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport”, and that’s inspiration enough to get me packing and set out to discover what the rest of the world has to offer. It’s been amazing as a first-hand observer to witness how the Indian Beer Market has expanded. The variety on the shelves of liquor stores are expanding with commonly known foreign beer brands that are now available in India too! I haven’t really caused a dent to my beer bucket list but I did learn a great deal about the history of these brews and why they stood through time measured in centuries. I observed the ripples caused by the introduction of new brews that leave a beer connoisseur spoilt for choice. From milk stouts, to sriracha infused pale ales, brews influenced from pineapple juice & grape seeds to speciality brews famously named for being brewed by monks – inspiration comes from anywhere! Till we meet again on my next beer adventure – Jusqu’à la prochaine fois. Bonne chance et bon courage.

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