English | Deutsch

The best of all possible beer worlds – a visit to the Braukunst Live!

I feel as if I’m in a gigantic living-room with relaxed people around me who all share the same enthusiasm. Beer. Craft beer.

From a visitor’s perspective, the Braukunst Live! is more of a market than a trade fair. The beer nerds stroll at a leisurely gait through the aisles with their tasting glasses, savouring the effects of all the different aromas on offer. All of them are sniffing and sipping their way through a well-nigh infinite cornucopia of creative beers – 95 exhibitors are showing their beer creations – from a multiple-prize-winning wheat beer to a Neapolitan Milk Stout that conjures a hint of icecream on your palate. The visitors are no less disparate than the beer varieties being proffered – Scottish rockers with gigantic tattoos juxtaposed with Bavarian brewers in lederhosen, hipsters wiping the foam out of their beards just like the moustachioed guy in his traditional Loden suit.


There’s quite a crush at the stands, to put it mildly, and I have to take full advantage of having so many international beers to hand all at once. I map out my route and, armed with a bag of payment chips, I start off with the European exhibitors, like the Gzub Brewery from Poland, and the Doppelleu Brewing Workshop from Switzerland.

Then I taste my way through the American brews, like Smuttynose and Saugatuck. One magnificent IPA after another: hard work for the taste buds. Anyone needing a short break can stop off at one of the numerous water stations, and dispose of any beer residues in the “residue containers” provided specifically for the purpose. While the palate and the olfactory organs enjoy a brief rest I take a leisurely look around me. All I see at first is a multiplicity of plaid shirts, the unofficial dress code for craft beer fans, but then my eyes focus on the contents of the tasting glasses – beer in caramel, golden and brown hues that all shimmer invitingly in the evening light, strikingly interspersed with the almost-pink Lupulus Fructus from Les 3 Fourquets and the bright blue “Babo Blue”. The blue beer-based mixed drink originated in a project at Munich University of Applied Science (TuM), and astonished the market with its intense blueberry aroma and this out-of-the-ordinary colour.

Well, that’s enough random gazing – I have to get on. I want to see the start-ups, the former home brewers, like Camba Bavaria, Crew Republic and Buddelship. Their porters, IPAs and creative varieties deserve plenty of respect. As indeed do their brewers. Genuine “characters” such as Oliver Wesseloh (Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei) and Florian Kuplent (Urban Chestnut), who – just like some of their pioneering predecessors in the German creative beer scene – have themselves put together the best of all possible beer worlds. Formative experience in the USA’s flourishing craft beer scene has inspired them to found their own breweries. No, setting up a brewery is no longer a pipedream, as you might think at first. Florian Kuplent, for example, grew up in Mühldorf am Inn, and studied brewing in Weihenstephan. Later on he went to St. Louis – where he’s meanwhile brewing 50,000 hectolitres in his small brewery with its own tavern. Now he’s bought the Bürgerbräu Brewery in Wolnzach, and will as from May be brewing his beers there. “It’s going to be an autonomously operating outpost of our brewery,” he explains to me.

Let’s take a wider-ranging look at the scene in Germany. Many old-established breweries in all output categories are following the example of the United States and are themselves including one or more craft beers in their range, like Schneider Weisse, the Spital Brewery, Eichhofener, but also Köstritzer and HB. Ayinger, by contrast, is sticking to its guns: “We sell our tried-and-tested varieties, and simply try to craft the best beer you can with every brew. This approach pays off as well, as evidenced by three European Beer Stars in 2014”, I learn.

Shortly before I’m overcome by sheer exhaustion, eureka! I’ve arrived in seventh wheat-beer heaven. “Comet and wheat beer: I love you,” I post immediately on Instagram. I’m at the stand of Joh. Barth & Sohn, the hop supplier, where Dr. Akis Trouboukis is hopping a classical pale ale and a wheat beer retrospectively with five different hop varieties, wheat beer with Relax, pale ale with Comet, pale ale with Monroe, … Each combination produces a highly distinctive pattern of aromas. I’m astounded. Yet again.

I’ve been fascinated for years by how the choice of hop variety and also cold-hopping influences a beer. It does me so much good to see and feel that I’m not alone with this fascination. The crowds milling around the stands go to prove it: the movement for good beer is alive and kicking. Beer has status again. Everyone wants a piece of the action. And I hope that we’re only at the start of this creative beer movement.

Share on Pinterest
Your Comment

All (*) marked fields are mandatory fields