Oktoberfest 2014!

The traditional Bavarian Kick off for Oktoberfest is Sept 20th this year.

Now that happens to be the same day as Zwanze Day for us – and then we follow Zwanze weekend with LA Craft Beer Week. This year we will acknowledge the traditional start of Oktoberfest by tapping a Anstich Keg during the Zwanze day festivities. We think they are perfect match for that day; they are gravity (don’t take up a tap line), lower ABVs, and nuanced delicate beers…perfect beers for those hours you spend waiting for the Zwanze tapping! (Read more about what an Anstich keg is here)

Starting the Week of Sept 23rd we will be rotating many small and medium sized farmhouse breweries through our draft list. Scheduled events are shown below, but keep checking our draft list weekly for late September and early October for these great German beers.

Mahrs Bräu: Ungespundet Hefetrüb, Ginger Bock, Mein Emmental dr Rot Baron, Mastodon, Kapuziner Weiss, Kapuziner Saphir Weiss, Freigeist Pimock, Rhubarb Berliner, Quince Berliner, Ottekolong Kolsch, Neuzeller Badebier, Reisdorff Kolsch, Ayinger OktoberFest

Anstich Nights:

  • Friday Sept 19/Sat Sept 20th: Weissenohe Monks Fest, Mönchsambacher Lagerbier
  • Friday Oct 3 : Weissenohe Bonator, Weissenohe Bioland Classic
  • Friday Oct 10 : Weissenohe Bonifatius, Bayer Landbier
  • Friday Oct 17: Weissenohe Altfrankisch Klosterbier, Löwenbräu Kellerbier


Joel Shelton Explains Anstich Lagers

An’stich ~ tapping or first draught

Bierkeller Von der HeydtThe Craft Beer movement of the past twenty-five years has sparked consumer interest in products with more “character” – often a catchphrase for extreme bitterness, heavy malt, puckering sourness or high alcohol. The brewing industry– first in England, then the U.S., and more recently in places like southern Europe, Asia, and Oceania – has scrambled, in an extremely competitive environment, to keep up with ever evolving taste trends. In a global market, one now finds similar beers being made nearly everywhere on the planet.

The slowest of the great brewing nations to jump on the craft bandwagon is indisputably Germany. There are just now visible pockets, most notably in cosmopolitan neighborhoods of Cologne & Berlin, but as a whole the country has stayed loyal to it’s traditional Pilsners, Weissbiers, and regional specialties.

Unfortunately, the strains of international competition have resulted in a consolidation of brands and widespread cost-cutting in brewing methods. The “International Lager” epidemic has come full circle; beers of larger cities like Hamburg, Frankfurt, even Munich – are being dominated and taken over by multinational corporations and their frequently generic beers.

However…tucked into a little-known and untouristy area of pastoral farmland, rolling meadows, and woodsy hills in the north of Bavaria, a brewing culture that might be described as “original craft” goes about it’s business as it has for centuries, even millennia. Franconia (“Franken”, in German) is the only region on earth where a tradition of local beer-making continues unabated, largely unaffected by globalization. Here, in tiny villages with half-timbered and stone buildings we find the farm or house-brewery – or perhaps even a Bierkeller, a shady spot set along a mountainside where beer was traditionally stored & served in warm weather months.

In Franconia, “Lagerbier”, “Kellerbier”, or whatever the village brewer prefers to call it – is a staple – an everyday drink, an ubiquitous presence in the local fabric. Whole families gather at the garten, gasthaus, or keller, and socialize over ceramic stein after stein of unpasteurized, unfiltered, house-made bottom-fermented beer. Franconian lagers are traditionally tapped in one session, from tiny 20L “Anstich” Kegs, by gravity, as all beer was until the development of modern preserving & dispensing systems – no artificial pressure, and no preservatives.

The styles from one hamlet to the next vary only slightly – the difference is shown in the skills of the brewer– but always the emphasis is on balance, freshness of ingredients, and drinkability. The typical version is dark-gold, sometimes leaning to amber, with a very lively nose of floral Bavarian hops and a bready, honey-ish but dry malt body. The texture as well as the palate is round & soft, owing to the superior Bavarian brewing water and natural carbonation, and the overall effect is to leave the drinker wanting another!

This is live beer, real lager. The original “craft” beer, only without the gimmicks!

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