Friday, August 27, 2010

When the Anstich kegs arrive, Sandkerwa can begin.

According to Matt Dinges of Shelton Brothers, the anticipated shipment of rare Franconian Anstich kegs has arrived on the East Coast. As I write, wheels are turning to get these gems from port to Public House.

Anstich kegs are 20-liter, gravity-feed kegs with no CO2 used to push the beer. We'll set them on the counter behind the bar, punch a hole in the top, and use the rubber mallet to insert a tap.

As I learned last Christmas while in Bamberg, the procedure is this: Shelton Brothers conceives of a brewery wish list, and the importer’s contact on the ground, Urban Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery, attempts to source the Anstich kegs. I joined Urban and Dan Shelton at Spezial (and later Mahr’s) for beers, and got the complete lowdown on how it works.

Consequently, after learning that Shelton would be bringing another container of Anstich kegs into America in August 2010, I decided to change the way we do Sandkerwa NA. Originally, we tried to run Sandkerwa NA, a draft-only celebration of Franconian and Bavarian beer styles at the Public House, in late August to coincide with the fest’s run in Bamberg.

Henceforth, the annual arrival of the Anstich kegs will determine the dates.

I’m told that the target for delivery to Indianapolis is next week, which (with luck) will yield Anstich for us by the following weekend. Therefore, let’s hope that Sandkerwa begins on Thursday, September 9. This isn’t firm, and I’ll provide updates as necessary.

There’ll be a few kegs on normal CO2 pour, and there’ll be one Anstich keg tapped on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday until they’re gone. This translates into 40 half-liter pours, each keg.

Of course, like cask-conditioned ale, they’re not meant for keeping overnight, and so the price point again will be held to the minimum. I’d like for it to be $5 per half-liter if at all possible, but I cannot say with certainty until the invoice comes through. For both Shelton and NABC, these Anstich kegs are labors of love, not engines for massive profit. Fresh Franconian lagers poured this way are revelatory, as many customers last year will attest.

Matt Dinges says that the only description he’s received to date of the Anstich styles is, “yeasty lager,” which I take to mean that the Anstichs were filled from the lagering cellars of participating breweries without any filtration that might normally occur prior to packaging, with final maturation in the keg as they’re shipped, which sounds marvelous to me. Here is the preliminary list of breweries. I will fill in the information blanks as we get closer.


Lowenbrau (Buttenheim?)
Weissenohe (two varieties … Annafest coming later in the fall on another shipment)


Monchshof Fest
Weissenohe Altfrankish
Weissenohe Monk’s Fest

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