German brewers take their hops seriously and this festival was organised to celebrate the 2017 hop harvest. Bäm Bäm Bräu is a nano-brewery collaborative in Cologne Ehrenfeld run by 6 incredibly passionate home brewers. They kindly invited Ale-Mania to pour beers last night at the third annual hop harvest festival and to get a little wax lyrical about hops.
We served beers alongside the resident Bäm Bäm brew crew as well as father-daughter brew partners, Horst and Angela and home brewers Martin and Ignaz from the rival city of Düsseldorf. Beer was paid for on a donation basis, which means you can drink as little or as much as you like for a small donation. This approach fit in perfectly with the general festival atmosphere, which was very laid back and where enjoying beer was the focus. The festival had a relaxed ‘street feel’ to it, as acoustic duo Katie and Lumberjack played music on the pavement whilst visitors drank beer and hid from the rain under the tent that was disassembled whenever a car drove by.
Beers were served from a kegerator (a fridge converted to cool kegged beer and dispense from built in taps) loaded with 8 kegs and I was particularly delighted to see a hand pump – yes, there was real ale served in Cologne! Festival organiser and fellow home brewer Roland Schön brewed Becca, a Best Bitter and he was nervous to hear my verdict on this, as a Brit brought up on real ale. And it certainly did not disappoint. Whilst Bitter is no exciting or trendy beer style, this interpretation was a rounded beer that is very typical for the style. For me the deciding factor for a Bitter is its sessionability. You should be able to drink several pints of a good Bitter and it should be balanced and flavourful without being overly assertive on the palette or too intoxicating. Becca certainly met these criteria.
Overall, this was a fun festival with an easy-going, cozy atmosphere and a great range of home brewed beer. Hurrah to another year of hops!
Bäm Bäm Bräu
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