Beer stories

A night train ride… there’s something impressive about this loneliness on iron wheels. Bucharest and its moments of modernity will be quickly left behind and you’ll head into the growing darkness, familiar shapes turning soon into ghostly appearances. Sometimes you stop in the middle of the corn fields for no apparent reason. A uniformed guy with a jittery lantern passes by in perfect silence, doing…what? Distant hills cut black silhouettes under the shimmering eyes of the stars, the lights of the train barely make a dent in the surrounding pitch. One second of sleep… and there’s light already, that special light of summer 5am in hesitant blue with pink streaks then lime green and finally definite yellow. One and half hours delayed, the rusty caravan reaches its destination and I can’t say no to another round of sleep, finally home.
A pitch black beer seemed like the perfect selection for this story but the Double Stout of Hook Norton failed to deliver a matching experience. Everything is there, right: malts yes, aroma there it is, little head and a bit bitter, a decent yet light drink which still felt like a kids movie watched with adult eyes.

Time travel, your name is Romanian train. It doesn’t work that well as it does in movies, tough. It’s not traveling very far in time, just about 30 years, and not to any place, just the same ride I was taking many years ago going to or coming from my seaside vacations. It’s surprising and a little bit weird to find about the same coaches I was riding at that time. Newly painted maybe and with some of the most worn parts replaced, they exhibit the same wooden walls, badly closing doors, sharp edged window handles which come so strong in my memories. It doesn’t matter that Bucharest’s North Station - Gara de Nord - is so much more colorful today, or that it hosts experimental music concerts or hosts contemporary art (thank you Cuzina!) exhibitions in wagons no, the very reason to be there, the trains, are still the same. And the beer to go with I them, a Tmișoreana pale lager, is lame. The lame, bland taste might work better if that’s all you ever had, but if you start comparing… better think at something else, drink it down quickly and be done. The artsy mirrors in the shape of Romania show your face. You’re here, you’re Romania, get done with it.

You won’t be able to understand everything about Romania, and about Bucharest even less. Why would somebody plant that tree right in the middle of the international airport? Where come all those nymphaeas sold at the crossings through car windows? Why would you stick that device in your seatbelt slot instead of the seatbelt, only to get rid of the nagging noise? Why on earth does the cashier at the mall need twelve, yes TWELVE card readers? At once? You know something? Let go. Just give up asking, stop trying to understand, and take a stroll with the locals through the old center. Make your way with difficulty through countless terraces, between abandoned buildings and colorful graffiti and have a good beer. A pity that good beer won’t be Romanian, but most probably… whatever. This Thornbridge black IPA called Wild Raven (are there lame ravens too?) was English and really good, not much malts in the taste and with a wonderful smell, a strong hoppy bitterness which worked perfectly in this late afternoon in the center of the Romanian capital city.

A peaceful evening at the Zürisee - the lake of Zurich in local words - can be sometimes difficult to imagine. Lots of people flock to the piers to have a drink, to wait for the local ship for a cruise or just to be hauled over the see, but most of them are there just to walk along the shore and have a relaxed chatter. On the lake, around the few pedal boats lazily drift spotless dinghies or whatever other yacht classes the better off folks can afford to keep on the lake. Keeping the boats on the lake seems to be a whole story, having to move them away in winter but honestly said, I don’t care - I find sailing boring anyway. Myself, I came to the lake only to enjoy a quiet read, a thing I wasn’t able to do since… ever, feels like. Being vacation time and also weekend there’s barely somebody left in Zurich, so there’s no loud laughter, no pick-nick baskets and the terraces are half deserted. I chose a bank directly by the lake and opened the bottle I brought along - an Old World Russian Imperial Stout by the crazy Scots from BrewDog. Until I reached the perfect spot the beer lost some of its chill, but should I mind? Only bad beers really need chilling to be palatable and this stout is in no way related to those. The over 9% ABV can be felt only in the warmth down the throat  because the delicious malt taste, full bodied and without being sweet takes you over completely. Bitter smooth, burnt chocolate tingles your buds, and I know I’m not used to write such things but this dark opaqueness really knocked me over. Add to it the lake’s faint smell and its waves almost splashing over the border, the fantastic story of Michael Moorcock, and the evening couldn’t have been any better.

Where’s the entire Zurich gone? They can’t be all on vacation, all at the same time, leaving the streets on a Friday late evening so depressingly empty… it’s only 11pm and the usually lively Niederdorf - old center of Zurich - looks almost abandoned. A few souls here and there haunting around in the neon yellow streetlights or the blue underground station atmosphere, there’s an out of this world feeling… and rightly so, as the this whole world decided to disappear for a summer retreat, even if only for the weekend. Just not me, I still have to go to work, damnit. But… not now, as Friday evening is for beer! The relatively new metal&rock bar Ebrietas doesn’t brag with a huge selection of beers, heck I couldn’t even get a menu list. Still, you’ll discover here a selection way beyond the average 2-3 sorts local bars usually carry. And hey, it’s called Ebrietas, so let’s start imbibing. With this Brooklyn Brown Ale I landed a nice brew. I just like these dark but not overly malty ales, which allow my unexperienced taste enjoy more nuances coming from other aromas, almost nutty in this particular case. Good and thick beer to sip, good music I didn’t get a chance to hear since ages (yes Rammstein, don’t hate me for ignoring you for so long), nice decoration - again rather unexpected from my experience with metal bars, a promise of a funny concert next evening with a bunch of local metal and punk bands, and a handwritten flyer… all fine but at some point you’ll have to head back home, back through the deserted streets flooded with this eerie yellow mist only accentuated by the apparently (in hindsight) dirty lens and my inability to manage the focus on the darn new phone.

thehighguybenblaze:

I need some of these for my next late night beach bonfire

Howgh.

thehighguybenblaze:

I need some of these for my next late night beach bonfire

Howgh.

(via mindbodysoulandbeer)

microbrewery-is-easy:

You don’t have to sell beer..
Get Drunk All Night: Follow Microbrewery on Tumblr!

microbrewery-is-easy:

You don’t have to sell beer..

Get Drunk All Night: Follow Microbrewery on Tumblr!

hopshack:

bobbycaputo:

The Best and Worst Foods to Cure a Hangover

Definitely need some of this

Just noting how the science level of the article plummets into the negative zone. Vasoconstrictor = swelling of blood cells? Whatta…?!?

hopshack:

bobbycaputo:

The Best and Worst Foods to Cure a Hangover

Definitely need some of this

Just noting how the science level of the article plummets into the negative zone. Vasoconstrictor = swelling of blood cells? Whatta…?!?

There’s a life outside the World Cup! A good one, I must mention, especially when the Bierhalle Wolf restaurant is involved. Somehow we grew into this tradition that every birthday in the family should be marked with a visit to this all-year-round-Oktoberfest-tavern. For my birthday I only managed to get a minor adjournment until having to dive again, head first, in the yodler-schlager-polka milieu of central Zurich. Juu-huii! The only football references were the tablecloths, fashionably lawn-green with white markings, and the all present flags - even though the fllags were rather EU-style, with Ireland and Sweden and some other nations which didn’t make it to the finals. Well, Ingrid and the rest of her Austrian band, from Styria to be more precise, didn’t mention anything about games. The Steirer Boys did their thing and raised as usual the people on their chairs (chairs, as standing on the table is strictly verboten) - people which waved, clapped, whistled and yelled along whenever they happened to know the lyrics (or not). Who didn’t want to stand at least swayed - I mean schunkeln - or cheered, played frisbee with the beer coasters and all in all had a decent Friday evening fun. I got this time a generous plate of “Zürich Geschnezeltes” - beef with a mushrooms and cream sauce, served with rösti and a puny slice of tomato for the necessary vitamins (not overdoing it). What’s that “rösti” you will ask? Well, some other time about it - suffice to say it’s about potatoes. The beer couldn’t miss from this picture, obviously. This Eichhof dark lager showed up in a liter mug (called “Mass”) and made a fine impression. Dark copper under a short lived head, this Swiss beer tasted light, somehow like slightly roasted turf. Yes, Hubertus Dunkel is probably not the best selection for a heavy diner but… I was happy, everybody else even happier, so let the beer flow.