Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sandkerwa NA 5 at the Pizzeria & Public House begins on September 12.

NABC’s Sandkerwa NA is our Bavarian-themed draft beer “tap takeover” festival. It originated five years ago as a tribute to Bamberg’s annual late August street festival of the same name.

In the beginning, our aim was to source imported specialties from Bamberg and Franconia, and by doing so, to celebrate the Bavarian brewing and stylistic heritage at the Pizzeria & Public House. Like most other such endeavors, Sandkerwa is evolving, owing both to intent and circumstance.

Two years ago, the Shelton Brothers importing company made Anstich kegs available for the first time, and we repeated the Anstich emphasis in 2010. It’s hard to imagine a better way to honor Franconian brewing than Anstich kegs, which are gravity-pour barrels. The innovative Shelton program made it possible to obtain freshly filled kegs from small Franconia breweries that otherwise didn’t export, or exported very little.

Unfortunately, Shelton and Cavalier Distributing have not yet been able to completely iron out their various issues, although I’m told that talks are ongoing to get Shelton’s unparalleled line back into Indiana. I’ve asked whether any choices from the forthcoming Anstich shipment have a chance of reaching us for Sandkerwa’s 5th edition, and the reply: Not likely.

Seeing as there’s no sense in crying over spilled “ungespundetes” Lagerbier, we’ve adapted Sandkerwa to fit what we can do, as opposed to what we can’t do.

The starting date will be Monday, September 12, at the Pizzeria & Public House. In addition to our usual Schlenkerla, Eric and Ben have pre-ordered Oktoberfests from America and Germany, and as augmented by beers representing other Bavarian (and greater German) styles, these will comprise the bulk of the Sandkerwa program for 2011.

On Saturday, September 17, the NABC will take the occasion of Strassenfest at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater to debut our first-ever batches of Helles and Marzen, both brewed with Andechs yeast. There’ll also be Keller Pils, and possibly Smoked Abzug.

As an added bonus, we’ll tap an Anstich keg of Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche – delicious oak-smoked Rauchbier, which comes to us from the B. United importing firm, which still is going strong in Indiana.

Shelton’s absence from Indiana hurts, but it does not kill, and therein lies a valuable lesson. As much as we miss Shelton’s wonderful portfolio, and wish for it to return, there are so many fine beers available nowadays that the wait is far from intolerable.

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