Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Day After

The last day in Munich, I decided to have a walk down to the Octoberfest gardens to say thank you in my own way to the greatness of Bavaria. They had recently started setting up for Octoberfest, which I found quite symbolic to my journey. The pictures can't even remotely capture how massive these buildings were. I am disappointed I won't be there for the famous festival, but is an excuse to make a trip back.

Above is a picture from the northern entrance to the Octoberfest grounds with massive beer halls being constructed in the background. Though I hear many of the people who attend Octoberfest are tourists, I cannot underestimate the Bavarian drinking contingency out to show everyone how its done. It would definitely be a trip of a lifetime, though to be quite honest, given the choice between the two, I'd rather go to beer school.

There were about twenty of these massive buildings being erected.

While they had made significant progress, the areas still looked as if construction was in its infancy. I wish I could see it when it was complete.

Augustiner tent. If you are going, this would be the one to visit.

Queen of Bavaria. Day or night, my visits to you have been one of the highlights of my trip.

Lowenbrau lion's head. I spotted the body in a truck but couldn't get a good picture of it.

After I paid my respects to the Queen and tied up my last few things in Munich, a couple of the remaining Master Brewers and I headed to Andechts. I had waited to the last minute I guess, but looking back on it, I couldn't have gone at a better time.

The setting of Andechts and the Doppelbock, made this place such an awesome and popular beer garden.

Beer culture in Germany is definitely something I will miss. Beer in Germany is considered food and when respected, can be a wonderful part of life. These two are getting an early lesson on the greatness of enjoying beer (well actually its Radler which is a mixture of beer and lemonade).

So recovery Saturday turned into party Saturday when a certain someone thought we had been drinking liters of Doppelbock instead of half liters. This certain someone is also a medical school student, has long brown hair and happened to be the only girl with us at Andechts.

The gem of Andechts. If you are unable to read the writing on the mirror and the sink looking thing, it reads "Puke and Rally". Good thing there is a message on the mirror, reminding you to get your shit together.

Location:Munich/Andechs, Germany

Graduation - The Culmination of a Dream

We made it. For many of us it was the last day of living the dream. While we will all be entering an industry which we love, graduation day was the last official day of beer school. Twenty weeks, two continents, uncountable liters of beer and the will to make an impact on the greatest industry known to man, we all completed our journey in style. I can tell you that as in most things, it isn't the place or what you are doing, its who and where you are doing it with. I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys and gal to share this experience with. You will all hold a dear place to me in the bosom of my beer school heart. Also, a tremendous thank you to our teacher, mentor, and dear friend Michael Eder. Hopefully we made you proud. Also thanks to all the staff at Doemens Academy and Siebel Institute for making this such a great experience.

On to the festivities. Like any beer school graduation, pre-game is involved. This time, a rare release triple hopped belgian is in order. Augustiner holds a special part in this picture as well. Not only was it the only glass, but in this particular instance, it was the right one. Augustiner you never let me down.

You can also spot the Orval on the table. Belgian beer pre-game because at the Haufbraukeller there will be only the finest German Lagerbier.

A good collection of our classmates. This gives you a bit of a perspective on the size of this graduation.

I spent a significant amount of time with these three amigos over the past seven months. I will miss these men, but will be seeing them soon. Sean, Viet and Kyle congratulations on becoming Master Brewers!

Some of the guys decided to get "kitted" out (I picked it up in England) in the traditional Bavarian lederhosen. Brenner, Duncan and Chris looking sharp.

Hardy boys looking sharp in the traditional apparel. First father-son duo to become WBA Master Brewers!

Chris and Alex. You may know how to make beer Chris, but she is smarter than you. And all of us for that matter.

You can't have a beer school graduation without some Canadians ruining it. Duncan and Amy, I will be making a trip up to Canada to visit you soon!

Mike Brenner and his horn. Ohh Brenner.

As if you didn't know what would be served, proof.

Traditional as it gets I guess. I'd estimate there were roughly 300 people there.

The president of the Doemens Academy, Dr. Wolfgang Stempfl giving the opening remarks.

Vidya holding a beer the size of her upper body. I am so proud of what she has accomplished and wish her all the best in her brewing career in India. I can't wait to go visit one day.

The two most entertaining men in Bavaria, or the world, Nate and Tim. Its fair to say that any debauchery that went on started with these two. Though, when tensions were high from being surrounded by the same people for long periods of time, these two would remind us not to take life too seriously.

My greatest accomplishment.

Best in Bavaria!

After the ceremonies had finished, it was beer drinking time. This is a great group shot with Eder. He now has his Eder Liter for every Wednesday. L to R - Me, Alex, Eder, Nate, Chris, Tim, Frank.

Ohh the English contingent. You will be seeing more of these lovely people.

The crew with Klaus Ritter, the king of Chemical Technical Analysis. A legend.

The aftermath. Saturday morning was cleaning up and moving out. We saw off the gentlemen who were heading back to the states. It was quite a journey and I can't reiterated enough how much I enjoyed it with my fellow brewers. Congratulations to everyone in the program. I can't wait to make my visits around the US to your breweries and your towns. All will benefit from your knowledge and enthusiasm for brewing. Prost!

Location:Munich, Germany