Monday, August 18, 2008

Sandkerwa NA 2, liquid ode to the beers of Bamberg and Franconia, returns on Friday, August 29.

Bamberg, a beautiful city of 70,000 people located in the countryside of the northern German region known as Franconia, has long been recognized as the epicenter of traditional German brewing and beer culture. Ten breweries operate within the city limits, and as many as 150 others are to be found within the outward radius of a good day’s bicycle ride on immaculately marked and maintained bike routes. The majority of Franconia’s 300 breweries are family owned and operated.

For a half-century, SANDKERWA (SAND-kehr-wa) has been Bamberg’s end-of-summer street festival, one that originated as a church-related commemoration in the historic city’s oldest central district. For six days each year in late August, the Altstadt’s narrow lanes are filled with food, beer and people in a hearty celebration that brings Munich’s better known Oktoberfest to mind, but exists on a less crowded, decentralized and more enjoyable human scale.

Sandkerwa is an idea worth emulating, and Bamberg a state of mind worth honoring, so in 2007 we offered the inaugural edition of Sandkerwa NA. This year’s second edition kicks off at Rich O’s and Sportstime on Friday, August 29.

There’ll be as many draft beers from Bamberg and environs on tap at the same time as we’re able to acquire, combining to represent as many traditional Franconian styles of beer as possible (with a few Greater Bavarian and non-regional ringers perhaps tapped to provide representative examples of unobtainable styles).

Kindly note that contrary to what you may have heard, not all of these delectable beers are smoked!

In Bamberg itself, only the renowned Schlenkerla and the tiny Spezial include Rauchbier in their daily range, as do a few breweries outside Bamberg, but by no means are smoked beers the norm in Franconia at large.

Because of distribution uncertainties, beer acquisition is going to be last-minute. A supplementary posting will list the beers to be poured. Numerous imported and microbrewed Oktoberfest beers will be coming on tap in September, as well.


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