Saturday, October 30, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I don't normally like to focus too much on the higher alcohol beers, and I have to say, this is the highest alcohol beer I have ever had. But dealing with so many dark beers, and the stronger alcohol being more of a trait in this style, I guess there are occasions where this occurs. I know I have reviewed this beer previously in June, and since then been waiting to find it on the shelves to try again with a fresh palate, and not after 7 other aged beers as previously done. Still, after doing a beer shop with Stass yesterday at the new Purvis Beer Store in Richmond, I found this (and another beer I have been waiting months to come back in stock. keep an eye out for that one later on) and just had to get it to try with him. At around 6 standard beers in one bottle, you need at least one other person to help you drink it, and its as black as the ace of spades.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
After picking up those beers had a kip at the hostel before making my way back down to their part of the city, stopping at the local pizza place for a Galzone, so that as the twilight of the last sunset occurred, I sat in Templehof airport and started to reflect on the whole trip with the pizza. It was amazing to think of all I have been able to experience through the people, places, beers, etc in these countries, and how fortunate I have been. The contentment from that moment was a great feeling to have towards the end of this trip, and was happy the kneipe was not far away to have my first beer while I was feeling like this. As a nice bookend to our meeting in Brussels, Jaimi and I met at the front door of the pub, and headed in for a Kostritzer, the German beer he recommended me for this trip. So, over that beer and an Erdinger Dunkel, we caught up from last seeing him in Munich and started reflecting together on what we had done.
Once we were onto our second Dunkel, Joe and Tina arrived, and then soon after James and Lottie, so we took back the round table we had all sat around the first time I had come to this pub with them (again, another nice bookend to the german part of the trip). I was able to present my beer journey to them and talk more of what the trip has brought me and where I take the experience of it from here. We even had a nice moment where everyone was able to say a little something about the experiences they had with me on this trip and to encourage me to pursue the direction I seem to be taking with beer. I tried to say something nice to them all in return trying to express how much they had helped with my experience and using their own labeling of me as a beer artist to fit in with their crowd. Still, it didn’t go that well, so to rectify, I am going to quote someone else who has said it better than me. In the wise words of Gomez, ‘It’s the things that are given, not won, which are the things you want.’ I have been given so much from so many aspects that you can from an experience, and so I hope that once I get home and have time to reflect on it all, as I picked up from the gang last night, that I find a way to give more of myself and find that direction in with to pursue life a bit more.
To bring it all to a close, Jaimi and I had one last Kostritzer (which as an even bookend I just realized this morning, is the first German beer I ever tried when I went out to Hanhdorff in South Australia many years ago and asked the bartended for a dark beer), so am happy to end this beer journey on that.
Then in true Jaimi Faulker fashion, after saying my goodbye’s to the rest of the gang, Jaimi and I hit the kebab place he lives near to finally have one of their doners, before saying farewell to him and getting back to my hostel for 4 hours sleep. So hopefully now this means I will be able to sleep on the plane back home.
As I found last night, it is very hard to put into words the admiration I have for all the people I have met, and the encouragement they have all shown me. Whether it was someone like Jaimi who put up with my crap all trip and came out with a better appreciation of beer (and maybe even me?), other friends like Brad and Seda who were in a spontaneous moment able to show me around Istanbul for a few days, or all the people like Willy I met randomly (yes, mostly with a beer in our hands), I can take away many memories from this trip, and let the impact of them filter over the coming days, weeks, years, etc to see how I react to all of this. Luckily, I have had this blog to help me document as much as I could.
Thank you too, to all of you who have read and are reading this now, as the past month has shown that people actually do read this stuff and have continued to follow me on this journey. You won’t enjoy the boring old man I go back to when this trip is over, but it has been a pleasure to show you what I have from this trip. I don’t like to use the term inspirational in attachment to myself, but if any experience I have been able to communicate to you through this blog helps in your own appreciation of beer, the diversity of this world (not just the beer in it) and the people that inhabit it (including those that drink/brew beer), then I have found something else to be content with from this trip.
Good luck to us all in our journeys (and especially beer journeys) from here.
PS: Don’t you just love the ‘syrupy, semi-philosophical, rose tinted glasses’ vibes that come out of people when they have just been on a trip? Sorry if I am being a bit over the top, I would like to blame sleep deprivation but can’t. As I said, boring Beefy will be back soon.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Have just gotten into Frankfurt and now on my way to Bamberg to start the end of this trip. Seeing I didn’t try a Tuborg while in Istanbul I had one on the flight back, and it wasn’t good. Worst beer I didn’t have in Istanbul. Couldn’t even tell if it was the yeast, hops or carbonation that made it difficult like a VB to drink.
Just found out before boarding this train that Stew has made it to Germany and had time to meet up with me over the next week. If he had let me know an hour earlier than he did, I may not have booked Bamberg from Turkey this morning and could be on my way there now. A disappointment for this trip. Still, that is travel, and already met, and reacquainted myself with many good people. Even on the way to the airport on the tram, I had a 20 minute conversation with an Istanbul local who shook my hand as we parted ways and said ‘God be with you’. Was a nice touch to the trip.
Ok, as for yesterday, I went and saw Hagia Sofia by myself in the morning (one word, immense. Made me think that in such a crowded city, this was where they came for space to contemplate). Then caught up with Brad, had a fish sandwich (too much onion) and meet up with Seda before heading out on the ferry then cable car to a café with a great view of the city. Made it back down to get a vending machine ice cream (with vacuum), past the iron church (and collected walnuts from a tree there) and made our way to an old, run down suburb in good location to meet up with a friend of theirs for beer. His place had great views as well, and so we sat and relaxed with him on the balcony and watched to sun go down from there. I started with a Efes Extra (out of a can), and even with 7.5% there was enough flavour overall to keep the taste relatively even. Slightly darker with malt, and more hops allowed me not to be offended by it as I thought I would. Then had a Efes dark to give me a bit of flavour to enjoy before getting with the other boys and drinking Efes Pils as we made our way to the design festival party (but with bad weather approaching they didn’t let us in at 8pm), so ended up back at his place for pita, more Efes Pils and the turkish spirit raki, which had a pretty distinct licorice taste to it, but still went down alright. We ended up staying the night there, having to get up early so I could get back to my hotel, have a shower, brekkie and then get to the airport.
Much love to Brad and Seda for being amazing to me to show me so much of the city and for being available just to hang out as much as they did. Luckily I have been writing down all that I saw as well as all I drank or it would be a massive blur right now.
So from sunny Turkey now back to overcast Germany but the beer journey continues with Bamberg and Prague. Sorry Stew, would have been great to catch up but looks like this is one piece of bad luck from the trip. Enjoy this country mate, and see you in January when you get back to OZ. Also, see you Brad and Seda in a couple of months, when you make it back to OZ.
Walking further round the coast road we stopped for an ice cream (Seda has been going there all her life, and can remember the guy serving us also being there that long), and my caramel, almond and honey with choc coating and nuts on a sugar waffle cone went down a treat, and great for the warm weather we had. We stopped at a supermarket and got some more beers before going to the park where the boat they used for their wedding was moored, so sat on the grass, and relived their wedding day in front of ‘Matilda’, while drinking Gusta Standard, Gusta Dark Dunkel and the Efes Dark Brown I had had the night before. The Gusta wheat beers were quite well rounded in flavour, and was quite impressed by the Dunkel. They tasted like beer, which is better than what I can say about some german dunkels, and noticed a bubblegum flavour start to come out of the standard Gusta to give it more authenticity. It has become another favourite moment for this trip just to sit there with a beer and chat about life, and allowed me to feel a little bit like I had been there for their wedding day 2 months ago.
Heading back to my part of town we found a place for dinner and was able to pull out another bottle of J.J. Prum to share with them. Not so much acidity on the back palate, and more fruity than the sherberty residue sugar taste that seems to come from older vintages. Still, gave me a chance to share this different wine with more people.
So a very pleasant day all round and looking forward to my last full day in Istanbul to see more sights and hang out with the cute couple.
Of course checked out a few mosques and found a place they had brought Jess and Stass for my first Turkish beer and a ‘turkish bong’. We went with melon for the bong and I went an Efes dark pils for the beer. Like many of the german darks, pretty watery, not a whole lot of flavour, but could at least see it had some roasted malt to make it taste like real beer as it sunk in that I was in Istanbul and with Brad and Seda. Also had a standard Efes pils, which was exactly as I expected, like the dark, but without the dark, before we walked around and made our way back towards Taksim, finding a bar Brad and Seda knew for dinner.
One beer they had told me about was this coffee infused dark beer that Efes also do, and so had that with creamy chicken pasta. The Efes Dark Brown was pretty interesting actually. Normally through the roasted malt you get a bit of a bitter coffee taste, but in this case it was a sweeter coffee flavour, and found the first mouthful to be quite alright. Seeing I am not a coffee drinker though, the coffee flavour was a little too much on multiple tastes, so was happy to have the food cleanse my palate a bit after each taste to help me enjoy the beer. So far then, the Turkish beers have not been offensive, easy drinking and good to see there is some experimenting happening to do something different with beer.Coming into another city have noticed this organic-ness to Istanbul. So many people living their lives, with apartment blocks stretching for kms and every space in the city being used. The biggest things in this place are the mosques, and whatever space is left over is used for everything else in life. And it is used! Shops are completely full of stock, and any nook or cranny could have a shop or someone living in it. With something like 17-20 million people in this city, it is close to the same population as Australia, but all in one area. It has been interesting soaking it up and seeing people just getting on with their lives in this city. I look forward to doing that more today. Finally, I have had a sleep in a real bed and been able to catch up on my beer travel notes over the past few days, I can have brekkie and ‘tffy’ (team ‘ffy’. Something we came up with last night. Seda is cuffy [cute+ffy], Brad fuffy [funny+ffy], and of course I’m already beefy. Ah, close enough) can get more into this city. I am such a lucky person!!!
After a good sleep and brekkie (both provided by Jacob and Tanya, and through Jacob’s folks. Yeah, another thanks needs to go out to them, Jaimi, and just to luck), we were in town early to see if we could beat the masses and more easily find a place to sit and enjoy the third beer festival on this trip.
So, we only had one day to celebrate this day, and while we could have joined the masses at the actual tents, the locals and Jaimi’s local knowledge got us to the Hofbrau beer hall just away from the festival for an experience which I think would give us the good things of Oktoberfest without the queues and idiots everywhere. So we were able to get a seat straight away after doing a hot lap, next to a couple of other mates having a couple of beers. We did the first ‘Proust’ with them and got into our first beers, which were the same as our last, and all inbetween. Jaimi went the standard Hofbrau pislner where as I went for the dunkel (tasted like beer, but not a lot of flavour to appreciate. Yes, I do realise I am at Oktberfest). As I have said previously, there is something about a situation that changes a beer, and the way you drink a beer. With the atmosphere being so big and everyone there to have fun and enjoy themselves, the approach we had going into the day was soon lost. We had both contemplated just having one or two and just sitting back to soak up the atmosphere, but seeing this many people enjoying their beer, and as it is probably a once in a lifetime experience, we soon got into the act and found the beer going down pretty quick.
By the time our second stein came two darts players (father and son) from the N/E of Germany sat down next to us. So between Jaimi’s broken german (nah, you did well mate) and the son’s broken English, we were able to communicate enough. And in the end, we both know why we are there, so we just enjoyed each other’s company and the father and I could just drink, say something to each other, then look across at Jaimi and his son to translate for us. At this time it we were also ready for some food, so I went a Spanfekel and Jaimi went the pork knuckle. I have to say that mine tasted pretty good with good juicy meat, crackling and a sauce that was great (too bad it didn't all stay in my stomach. Yes, my first spew since starting this blog, and at Oktoberfest! Classic.). I would have thought with the amount of food they were making the standards may not have been that good, but it tasted great, and allowed us to keep drinking. I took the opportunity when I saw some girls behind us dressed in some of the traditional garb to get them to pose for me, and found one of them was from Melbourne (what is going on?).
From there it gets pretty blurry. I remember Jaimi pulling out and heading back to where we were staying, and me continuing to try and talk with the German darts players. Next thing, after I would guess 5 hours drinking (and possibly a stein for each hour), having toasted to probably anyone I have ever met (especially Loz, Joel and Jess), I hit the wall and like Jaimi, felt the need to get back to the abode (I think I may have even left about 100-200ml of beer in the bottom of my stein [bad beefy!]). I don’t recall getting to the train. I remember having to change trains and waiting 25 mins for another train to come, then walking back from the station, meeting up with Jaimi, before packing up my gear, just to head back to the train station and make my way to the airport. As my flight to Istanbul was leaving at 7:30am and I wouldn’t be able to get a train in the morning to get me there in time, I had to get there tonight and just sleep at the terminal (not the first time, probably not the last). Still, had the advantage (is it an advantage?) of being drunk and so just being able to lie down on the bench and get a few hours sleep. So at least we can say, we have done Oktoberfest in a way it should be done, and lived to tell the story. Now just to get through the next day…
So we have made it down to Munich yesterday, and been very lucky to be able to stay with a friend of Jaimi’s for the two nights we are here. I was able to meet Manfred, Jacob and Tanya at Jaimi’s gig, then meet up with Manfred’s other half Christine at there house after the gig to eat salami (they have just come back from a trip to Italy) and drink wine. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of all six of us there. Through Jaimi I have had another door open to me and really appreciate that they are open to me as a tag alonger of his. I found Manfred is an All Blacks supporter and not entirely looking forward to seeing them choke again next year in the world cup. Even at the café last night, the people there were so nice they tried not to let me pay for my beers, seeing I was with Jaimi. Still, I couldn’t let them do that, after finding an interesting dunkel to try. It was a Maisacher bier (Rauber…something) and seemed to be a regional beer of the area. Speaking to Jacob about it (he spent 6 months in Sydney) he could appreciate the differences in beers between our countries, and found the yeast is a big difference (of course along with the hops), and I have to agree, especially when it comes to the bubblegum flavour I can get in the higher alcohol beers.
Still, as for this beer, it was quite watery and seemed to be pretty mainstream, but had enough malt and hop characteristic and 5% alcohol to make it a decent beer, and one I enjoyed a few times over on the night. I was asked whether I wanted to try a spiced dunkel when I had the first beer, but decided against it (which I was told was a good choice but the guitar shop owner’s wife) still, might have been good to try. It is funny how once the language barrier is opened (by the German’s speaking English) how much better an experience I have. While I did manage to record Jaimi playing some of his songs, inbetween and after was too interested in talking to them that I forgot to get other photos. Also, I find it interesting that watching Jaimi get up and do his ‘thang’ you re-realise how talented he is. I guess I got so use to seeing him as just a travel buddy, you forget about his ability in this. Still, the locals here have seen him more times at gigs than I have. One other thing I have to say is that the crowds here are very responsive and appreciative of music. At many places in Australia, people are talking over and not showing respect for the musicians. Here, they are very quiet during the show/song, but very boisterous once a song is done (even if the café he was playing in last night could only hold 30 people). I can see why Jaimi and other musicians enjoy playing to these types of crowds.Still, today we have our one day of Oktoberfest, and have been warned and guided by the locals as to how best to stay away from the traps of this event. Still, I have to say I am a little scared and excited to see how it goes, and will be happy just to have one or two just to say I have done it, and tick it off the list of beer festivals I have been to. Am sure there will be enough atmosphere around us anyway, that we won’t want to add anymore.