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Welcome to the craft beer Mecca

Welcome to the craft beer Mecca

Yesterday was Father’s Day – and as is traditional in my family, I meet up with my parents and my brother for a beer or two. Recently, we have modified our tradition a little bit: instead of going to a beer garden, now every year we enjoy the amber nectar at the Craft Beer Festival.

For four years now, the festival on Neupfarrplatz Square has had an established place in the city’s event diary: it’s held every year on three days around Ascension Day – and thus always on Father’s Day. With around 35 breweries participating and about 18,000 visitors, the Regensburg Craft Beer Festival is the largest of its kind in Germany. “We’ve got a colourful mix of national and international breweries represented here. This year, for example, we’re once again welcoming brewers from Austria, Czechia and the USA in Regensburg,” says Pit Krause, one of the organisers. When asked whether there are criteria for the exhibitors, his co-organiser Thomas Raab answers: “Of course it’s vital that they brew outstanding beers. But we likewise think it’s important that the brewers are passionate about what they do. And we also rely on recommendations. Meanwhile, we’re lucky enough to have a waiting list for exhibitors that gets longer year by year.”

Besides the classic creative beers like IPAs, pale ales and porters, though, the festival also offers the traditional types like light, dark and wheat beer. In all, there are about 60 different styles of beer at the Craft Beer Festival. We didn’t want to miss out on these highlights, of course, and, each of us armed with a hired glass, embarked upon sour tour through the world of beers. Hired glass? For a deposit, every visitor receives a glass to start with, which the brewery then fills with craft beer – but don’t worry: as you proceed from one festival stand to the next, the residues (what the Bavarians call “Noagerl”) of the pale ales, IPAs and porters sampled do not collect in a single glass: at every stand, the used glasses are of course exchanged for fresh ones.

But back to our tour: we asked the exhibitors for a few tips, of course – and the first one we tried was Herr Axolotl – a Berliner Weisse with rasperries from Himburgs Braukunst Keller. The slightly acidic fruit admixture makes the beer not only a cooling refreshment, but also a perfect substitute for an aperitif – and thus an ideal starter for the family’s afternoon.

At the next stand, things reverted to a more traditional approach: at Hoppebräu from Upper Bavaria, you see, there is no craft beer, but there is some potent hand-crafted stuff with names like Wuidsau, Wuide Hehna or Vogelwuid. Each of us armed with a different type, we enjoyed the sunshine on the meanwhile bustling Neupfarrplatz Square. We particularly liked the Vogelwuid Double IPA with its potent hoppy taste (no wonder, with its five hop varieties!) – but at 6.5 % it isn’t particularly light.

Our next stop was Giesinger’s beer truck – and while my parents opted for a classic Märzen, I was attracted by Lemon Drop. At the very first sniff, one thing was clear: citrus is here not just a name, but a programme, also reflected in the yellow colour and, of course, most emphatically in the flavour of the tripel beer. My first reaction was that it tasted as if Giesinger had dropped a fizzy lemon tablet in its beer. “You could say that,” the nice man behind the tap agreed, “But it’s solely due to the mix mix of Lemondrop and Steirer-Goldings hops – because of course we brew all our beers in compliance with the Purity Law.” And by the way: as from autumn of this year, Giesinger will be brewing its beers in a brewhouse from Krones.

I hope that with my modest tour of the Craft Beer Festival I’ve whetted your appetite to taste your way through the world of IPAs, pale ales and porters. Then I heartily recommend dropping by at Neupfarrplatz Square in Regensburg later on. The stands at the Craft Beer Festival will stay open until 10 p.m.

And by the way: this Friday the exhibitors will also include a Kronese. Under the name of INALE, Matthias Pohl together with his former colleague Andreas Marz is currently brewing five different beers – and they also have something up their sleeves for all drivers: an alcohol-free pale ale. After two days of craft beer, this afternoon I’m probably going to opt for this variant – and you’ll soon be reading here on the blog what it tasted like, and what impelled the guys of INALE to get involved with a brew-kettle in addition to their jobs at Krones.

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