Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doemens Spring 2011 Bavarian Hefeweissen

Monday night we decided to visit the world's most famous, aka touristy, beer house, the Haufbrau house. The experience today, I think, is different than the experience my parents had many years ago when visiting Munich. Most of the people who make the trek are tourists and so instead of an authentic local experience, you in turn, get a worldly experience. Being served 1L mugs of German lager by busty German women in traditional garb, however, cannot be missed.

Tuesday we decided to venture to the English Gardens which is the largest park in Munich. Home to such attractions as "river surfing", and Chinese Pagodas, the most appealing part to me were the vast open fields next to the river in which the masses played. I can safely say this will, no doubt, be a weekend destination.

We dove straight into the practical work at Doemans this first week. Tuesday we spent all day in the microbiology lab identifying yeasts, beer spoilers, soft drink spoilers, and other microorganisms. Finally, we put a face with the name so to speak! We also learned some really cool evaluation methods for a given microorganism culture, i.e. catalase test, oxidase test and the gram positive/gram negative test. We used these methods on a series of cultures and were able to determine what kind of organism the culture was. Think biology 101 but all about beer related microorganisms. It just makes the content so much more enjoyable.

Wednesday was the start of our practical brewing experience. We are doing 500L batches on a near fully automatic brewing system. "Automatic" is a very loose term because you would be surprised how much there is to do during a nearly "automized" brew day. Guess which part isn't so automized (Think about doing the dishes).

Above is a picture of our 500L system with the 250kEuro brewing software and hardware donated by Siemens. The same software is used by 5 million hectoliter breweries, so the experience is incredible. We made a wheat beer and overall the day took a little longer than expected but everything turned out great. We are fermenting in traditional open fermenters, which gives an authentic feeling to brewing the Bavarian way.

This weekend hopefully I will find a bike so I can ride the roughly eight miles to school through the Munich countryside. The bike/car relationship, like many other relationships, puts the United States to shame. There are so many signs of advanced culture here that can't help but illuminate our young culture in the states. It is good that we have room to improve, I just hope that we realize that we are supposed to learn from our older cultures, as they learn to adapt to us.

Location:Senefelderstra├če, Munich, Germany

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beer School in Bavaria

The first portion of the class, the diploma course, finished up in Chicago and I have since arrived in Germany for the second portion, the associates degree, at Doemens Academy. I miss Chicago and all the awesome people I met while there who helped make my experience so memorable. I will be returning soon, I am sure of it.

I arrived in Munich on Saturday, a day ahead of all my classmates in order to get my internal clock adjusted to the time zone switch. I anticipated a poor flight over and wanted to get a good night's sleep Saturday night. Sleeping on a plane as a 6'3" male is as annoying as you would imagine, especially when you get stuck with the window seat and have no place to extend your legs. I have recently developed an extreme annoyance with people who trade seats on planes as it has ruined my past two international flights. If you want to discuss this topic, send me an email but be warned, my rant could get rather lengthy.

I am staying at one of Munich's most famous hostels, the Euro Youth Hostel which is right next to the largest train station in town. It is a great location in terms of access to the downtown and for the price and the quality, it is a phenomenal deal. So far, they have been very accommodating and extremely nice which is not always the case at hostels. The room reminds me of a college dorm (I am thinking freshman year).

I am rooming with Mike (pictured above) and Shaun from school.

Sunday the rest of the class arrived and all the guys staying at our hostel decided to go out for some traditional bavarian food and beverage.

You can't get much more Bavarian than wheat beer, pork and sour kraut.

Classes have been going very well at Doemens. It is the real deal in terms of Brewing schools. The school is nestled away in a small town outside of Munich on the S6(S Baun - the Munich rail system) at Grafelfing. The faculty are all top notch and the facilities are amazing. The school has its own brewhouse which we brew in as well as cellar and bottling line. It also has a cafeteria for students which is run by an "all business" lunch lady (pictured below)!

The lunch lady serves students with authentic bavarian/austrian lunch options which, to no surprise, consist mostly of starch and meat. I do notice that most of the Bavarian dishes I have seen do not include greens.

Tomorrow will be my first brew day at Doemens and I will update with how that goes.

Location:Senefelderstra├če, Munich, Germany