Monday, April 11, 2011

Castles, Bavaria, etc

Last week we were doing mostly class work and styles tasting. The styles include not only the characteristics of the specific style, but also, how to make each. We also went through a pretty rigorous chemical analysis section which I will be very happy to get more of in the future.

This week we are split into three different groups: brewing, filtration and draft systems. On Thursday we round off the practical work with a packaging day. All of the theory we have been studying is finally being put to work! On Friday we have our final exam so during the weeknights I will mostly be studying.

During the weekend we visited the Augustiner Keller which is the "cellar" of the best and most popular brewery in Munich. It is a beer garden which incorporates a series of tunnels that used to be used as a cellar for lagering. If you are ever in Munich, I highly recommend the Augustiner Keller.

Thats the normal crew inside the Augustiner Keller. All of these beer nerds end up being pretty fun to hang out with.

Above is the inside of the cellar where the dining portion is. We had some of the special release "lenten" beer which is a strong beer brewed traditionally by the monks (with higher alcohol and higher carbohydrates) for consumption during lent to make up for having to fast during the day.

Saturday we decided to go visit Neuschwanstein in the southwest corner of Bavaria. The castle itself was quite marvelous, though the real treat was the landscape. If so inclined, the site offers a steep mountainside which you can climb and catch a great view of the Castle, nestled at the base of the alps.

We climbed to the peak of the mountain that is cut off in the top corner of the picture. It was absolutely amazing and we got some pretty amazing shots of the landscape. There is no shuttle to the top, however, and most of the way up there was mountain climbing with no railings or clear paths. It is certainly not for the weak of heart. Only three brave souls from our party made it to the highest point.

The group before the climb.

Three of us swallowed our fear of heights and climbed very near to the top of the mountain. Not many other people make it up there so it wasn't exactly easy to get a group photo. I didn't want to risk having my camera tumble down the mountain either as three feet from where they are standing is a few thousand foot drop straight down. Below are just a handful of the amazing shots we got from up there.

Not the best mountain climbing shoes.

Probably the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.

Alps to our backs. It was breathtaking and these pictures do it absolutely no justice.

This is generally what you can see out of the windows of the castle (though I took this picture from close to the summit of the mountain overlooking it).

Snowy alps peering over our shoulders the entire hike.

The best of my castle pictures.

The only picture I got of the inside because photos aren't allowed, but this kitchen was amazing.

Sunday we spent at the English Garden again. Kyle, Shaun, Nolan, Mike and I took the football (not American) down and ended up playing 7v7 with some Germans for almost three hours. It was pretty even and I think in the end we showed the Europeans that we can play real football as well. After enough sun we enjoyed a beer at the Sea Haus and called it a day.

I miss people from the United States but I certainly prefer the lifestyle over here. I couldn't ask for more. Last week in Munich before our brewery tour. I think I am going to get a chance to visit Patrick in Nice over Easter which is awesome.

The weather over here has been amazing and I certainly packed too many "Chicago" clothes. Everyday has been in the 50-75 degree F range and it has made biking extremely pleasant. We are also avoiding the thunderstorms that the US seems to be enjoying recently. Hope that clears up for you and you can all enjoy an amazing spring as I am.

Finally I wanted to Congratulate a brewing and biking friend of the family, Tyler Ellis, on getting married to now Meredith Ellis. I have a bunch of knowledge to share with you when I get back! You are gonna have to schedule a day to come to Asheville and brew/bike/lake it up! Congrats man!

Location:Munich, Germany