Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Anstich kegs are back! Six more Franconians are making their way to the Public House.

The afternoon was spent researching the latest shipment of Anstich kegs from Shelton Brothers, which Cavalier Distributing in Indianapolis will be conveying to the Public House in time for pouring on Thursday, December 10.

If you’re just joining us, we had riotous fun in September and October during NABC’s Sandkerwa NA, an annual celebration of the Franconian brewing ethos. Our homage was immeasurably enhanced by the Shelton Brothers importing company, which has begun importing rare Franconian lagers in 20-liter, "Anstich" kegs. One after the other, the kegs comprising the first batch were drained, and we simply had a marvelous time drinking them.

These are gravity-feed kegs with no CO2 used to push the beer. Just as in Franconia, we set an Anstich keg on the counter behind the bar, punch a hole in the top, and use a rubber mallet to insert a tap at the bottom. Once tapped, the 40 half-liter glasses of beer therein must be consumed forthwith, or the remainder will go flat. Because of this, we'll again be selling these special beers at a special price: $5.00 per half liter.

Each of the six Anstich kegs we’re purchasing is described as Märzen, so I’ve included only the brewery’s name in the tentative schedule that follows (except for Weissenohe Monk’s Fest, which we had previously on CO2 pour).

Following the tapping schedule are excerpts from the importer Dan Shelton’s notes on the beers, which provide basic information on the breweries and their beers. I now understand that Shelton works with Urban Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery to source these great beers, and my thanks go to him, Dan Shelton, Matt Dinges and everyone else who are making these shipments possible. It's been my favorite new development in a year packed with them.

Ahornberger on Thur., Dec. 10
Rothenbach on Fri., Dec. 11
Hartmann on Sat., Dec. 12

Then, later:

Lang-Bräu on Fri., Dec. 18
Günther-Bräu on Sat., Dec. 19
Weissenohe on Wed., Dec. 23

Brauerei Strössner, founded in 1739 in Ahornberg, is a good-sized family-owned brewery making 80,000 hectoliters a year. It is located in the far north of Franconia, north and east of Kulmbach. They do a bunch of seasonal variations on their basic Landbier ('country beer'), including the Märzen, which is described as malty, hoppy, and dark.

Founded in 1886; makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. Yet another family-owned brewpub, a picturesque place in the tiny town of Aufsess, in the Fränkische Schweiz -- the Franconian Switzerland. (There's nothing at all like the Alps here, so the name is a little over-blown.) The beers tend to be very solid, if perhaps uninspired here, but we've never had the Märzen, which is highly recommended by our Franconian connection at the monastery brewery in Weissenohe.

A small inn and brewpub, founded in 1550, right on the narrow winding highway that runs parallel to the new A70, about 20 kilometers out of Bamberg, Upper Franconia. They make 15,000 hectoliters, all consumed locally, in the Franconian way. They have a wide range. For what it's worth, this is 3 Fonteinen brewer Armand Debelder's favorite place when he visits from Belgium, and its beers are the main inspiration for his Beersel Lager.

In little Burgkunstadt, just outside of Kulmbach, in Upper Franconia, this is one of three small family-owned brewpubs in a town of a few hundred people. Makes only 6000 hectoliters a year. Founded in 1840.

A small but ambitious brewpub in a very tiny village in the far east of Upper Franconia, founded in 1853. Makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. For better or worse, they make a very big range. They seem to crave attention, and get it with some gimmicky things like Erotik Bier, with a label that stops just short of being pornographic, and another beer named for the latest Pope, Benediktus XVI. For some reason, they also put the labels on their dark and light wheat beers on upside down. The Märzen label is properly staid.

Weissenohe Monk’s Fest

1 comment:

B.W. Smith said...