So this seemed like a fun way to sum up a beery 2017 and reflect a little on what’s been in my glass. (Apologies that Golden ‘Pints’ doesn’t quite seem so apt in a German context but any potential alternatives would most likely lead to confusion.)
Best German bottled beer – Schönramer Helles
Perhaps the important factor for me in this category is drinkability and the Helles Lager from the Schönram Brauerei in Bavaria definitely ticks this box amongst many others. A great, balanced interpretation of one of my favourite German beer styles.
Best German canned beer – Stone Berlin White Ghost Berliner Weisse
The arrival of Stone Berlin last year allowed me to realise just how far European breweries have come in terms of producing hop forward, ‘American-style’ beers, which sadly makes one of my former favourites Stone now seem fairly lacklustre in comparison. However, their White Ghost Berliner Weisse really jumped out of my glass this summer. This beer is zippy and tart on the palate and packed full of citrus flavours. Ideal for a summer’s day by the Spree.
Best German keg beer – Brauerei Schumacher 1838er Altbier
Whilst this beer may not quite fall under the category keg beer, as it is dispensed at the brewery from a wooden barrel, my stand out Fassbier has been the 1838er Altbier, a smooth, rich brown German-style ale loaded with fresh and fruity aroma hops.
Best bar – Craftbeer Corner Cöln, Cologne
The Craftbeer Corner Cöln is a true craft beer paradise in a city in which you can only otherwise drink beer out of weird lab glasses. Craftbeer Corner Cöln has 14 taps of craft beer from all over Germany, Europe and beyond. They regularly host tap takeover and meet the brewer events and are a cornerstone in the growing Rhineland craft beer scene.
Best festival – Bäm Bäm Bräu Hopfendankfest, Cologne
With chilled out street vibes, home brewed beer and the festival location being in a nano-brewery in Cologne-Ehrenfeld, the Hopfendankfest (hop harvest festival) held by the Cologne home brewing collective was my personal festival highlight of 2017. Read more about it here.
Best beer blog – We love pubs!
Holger Böckmann writes the blog ‘We love pubs!’ and provides an in-depth guide to the hottest drinking spots in Bonn and fantastic coverage and analysis of all things craft beer in the Rhineland. Check it out here: https://www.welovepubs.de/
Best brewery – Brauerei Schönram, Bavaria
As well as a solid line up of classic German styles such as their iconic Pils and the already mentioned Helles, Brauerei Schönram’s American brewmaster Eric Toft and his team have also branched out into producing a Bavarian Pale Ale and a stunning Imperial Stout.
Best overseas beer – Abbeydale Brewery, Sheffield, UK – Voyager IPA (Simcoe & Mosaic)
I drank this beer in September at the Dore Village real ale festival and loved drinking several pints of 6% fruity, hazy IPA from cask brewed by my local brewery.
Best German beer city – Bamberg
Bamberg is home to 11 breweries/brewpubs as well as about 60 more in the surrounding region. In Bamberg you can drink fantastic Rauchbier and other Franconian beer specialities in a traditional Brauhaus environment. The city is even home to two malt houses and some great pubs to drink local beers or eat some delicious Schäufele (pork shoulder).
So there are my picks for 2017! Happy festive beerings and I am looking very forward to what excitement 2018 has in store. Cheers, Prost!