Monday, February 25, 2013

At Borefts Bier Festival 2012

This post may seem a bit late, since Borefts 2012 was held back in September, but this has been a busy winter and I had to get the German road trip out of my system first. Anyhow, here is my personal recollection of the most recent craft beer festival hosted by Brouwerij De Molen in Bodegraven, Netherlands, September 28 and 29, 2012.

The old windmill of Brouwerij De Molen.

History of De Molen and Borefts
Menno Oliver started out as homebrewer and then picked up experience as a professional brewer at several Dutch breweries before founding his own brewery in 2004. He chose the name Brouwerij De Molen, Dutch for "The Mill Brewery", after the 17th century windmill De Arkduif in Bodegraven in which his small 500 liter brewery was constructed.

In control of his own brewery and with years of brewing experience, Menno Oliver started brewing more experimental beers and in the span of a few years he had created some amazing beers that got him attention far outside the Netherlands. His massive imperial stouts, in particular, were quickly picked up by word of mouth through online communities such as RateBeer and BeerAdvocate. In early 2009, De Molen was rated the 55th best brewery in the world by the users of RateBeer, a year later it had climbed to #10! De Molen is now one of the leading craft breweries in Europe with a number of world class beers, in particular their high abv imperial stouts - Hel & Verdoemenis, Tsarina Esra and Hemel & Aarde.

De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666
- world class imperial stout.

Along with the growing popularity and international fame of De Molen, Menno Oliver realized that his home country was in the backwater compared to neighboring Belgium, with regards to good beer festivals. He decided one was needed in the Netherlands and why not place it in his hometown, Bodegraven, which is located almost dead center between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

Thus, in September 2009 the Borefts Bier Festival was born, hosted by De Molen at the windmill-turned-brewery. This was a small festival, by international standards, but the quality of the attending breweries - which saw international craft beer superstars De Struise Brouwers, Mikkeller and Närke Kulturbryggeri appear - and of the arrangement in general made it a success. Word of it to spread around the beer world. This global word of mouth advertisement ensured that more people would show up for the festival next year, and even more the year after that.

Summer 2011 saw the opening of a new and larger De Molen brewery, in a warehouse complex a hundred meters down the the road from the windmill. The new brewery gave Menno Oliver much more capacity to brew beer but also extra floor space for hosting the beer festival, so for Borefts 2011 the festival was split in two - with some breweries at the old windmill and the rest at the new brewery. By 2012, Borefts had grown into a mid-sized beer festival, where I hope it will stay.

Närke founder Håge Wiktorsson on stand at Borefts 2010.

Where to stay?
On my first two visits to Borefts I stayed in Amsterdam because the few places in or near Bodegraven sold out the moment the festival dates were published, but also because I thought it would be a lot easier to stay in Amsterdam as it was close to Schiphol airport. However, staying in Amsterdam also meant almost an hour travel time to and from Bodegraven, including a tight change of trains in Utrecht - running for a connecting train is not something you really enjoy after a long day of beer drinking!

Thus, for the 2012 festival I took the logical step and found myself a hotel in Utrecht, which slashed the travel time to Bodegraven to just 19 minutes and discarded the troublesome change of trains. Utrecht may not be as big as Amsterdam, but it's a central stop on the Dutch railways and easy accessible from Schiphol airport. It has a good selection of reasonable hotels and even sports a couple of great beer pubs. Who can wish for more? I'll return to the beer pubs at the end of this post.

So, getting to Bodegraven is all a question of taking the train, whether you come from Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Utrecht. Don't even consider driving, as there are very few places to park. And taxis are a waste of money. Trains are cheap, reliable and run all day long.

When reaching Bodegraven, get off the train and either follow the flow of visitors (you'll recognize the beer geeks, besides few other tourists ever come to Bodegraven) or find your way the roughly 600 meters west to the new brewery (just down the road from the windmill) where you have to purchase a tasting glass, with tokens and a program, for €15. Later you can purchase more tokens at several locations.

 A big, empty beer tent before the opening of Borefts 2012.

Borefts Bier Festival 2012
Like in 2011, the 2012 festival was held at two separate locations. Most of the breweries and visitors could be found in the warehouse connected with the new De Molen brewery or in the big tents outside. The other location was at the windmill, a hundred meters up the road.

Up at the windmill you could visit the stands of Dutch breweries Emelisse and Mommeriete, as well as The Kernel from England, Evil Twin Brewing from Denmark and Jester King Craft Brewing from Texas. De Molen, like in previous years, had their stand in their pub inside the windmill. This is also where the restaurant is located, where you can order light snack early in the day and hot meals after 4 pm.

A glass of Emelisse DIPA Hopserie at Borefts 2012
- it was dry-hopped on the spot with Apollo!

The majority of breweries were found at the new brewery: De Struise Brouwers and Alvinne from Belgium shared stand with HaandBryggeriet from Norway, serving beer from the überkool Taptrailer - first used for Copenhagen Beer Celebration in May 2012. Inside the large brewery warehouse you could visit the stands of Mikkeller from Denmark, Birrificia del Ducato from Italy, Gänstaller-Bräu from Germany, Buxton Brewery from England and Närke Kulturbryggeri from Sweden. Inside the brewery itself, you found Thornbridge from England side by side with Brasserie du Mont Salève from France.

All in all there must have been around a hundred beers on keg or cask, simply too many to get through in two days - even for a professional beer drinker like myself :) So the first thing to do when you've picked up your tasting glass, tokens and festival program, is to scan the program for highlights and go for the most rare or exclusive beers first - you never know when a given beer runs out. This year, Närke Konjaks! Stormaktsporter and Buxton Tsar Bomba were two such beers.

Buxton Tsar Bomba, inoculated with brett from 1978
- served from cask at Borefts 2012.

Borefts is usually less crowded on the opening day, which is always a Friday, and especially before 4 pm, because a lot of people will come after work. So I always make sure to be at Borefts before the festival opens at noon. It also makes sense to start early because you can then catch an earlier train home and so be able to start the second day better rested and more sober than if you stayed at the festival until closing time (10 pm).

Early in the day, finding a chair or bench to sit at is no problem, but later in the evening it makes sense to team up with some friends to reserve a section of a table so that you can rotate seating - while some are up to get more beer, others can sit down and get some rest. This wasn't really an issue the first few years, but with the growing popularity even Borefts may run out of seats. But this is mostly a problem on Saturday, when most of the visitors come.

Highlights from Borefts 2012
There were a number highlights at Borefts 2012 and I'm sure I've forgotten a few of them in the months that have passed. But these are the things I still remember:

- Närke Kulturbryggeri: Had an amazing stand with a large number of draft beers, cool slogans and the weirdest tap handle I've ever seen - a beer served from a Urinal! And when they served a world class beer like Konjaks! Stormaktsporter along with spruce and spice beers such as Gransus, Äljäjl and Bäver you could really spend a lot of time at their stand.

- Struise Taptrailer: First unveiled for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration a few months earlier, the 30 tap Taptrailer is a winner at any beer festival since it both refrigerates the beer kegs and offers the beer through taps along the side. At Borefts, Struise shared their Taptrailer with Alvinne and HaandBryggeriet - so brewers from all three served visitors to the Taptrailer stand. At times a bit chaotic, but the more fun for that reason. And who can complain when a stand offers 30 high quality draft beers?!

The amazing 30 tap Struise "Taptrailer" at Borefts 2012
- shared by Struise, Alvinne and HaandBryggeriet.
- Struise Pannepot Wild: One of the many great beers served from the Taptrailer was the Struise Pannepot Wild, which is the regular Struise Pannepot aged with wild yeasts. The result was heavenly, one of the most amazing beers at the festival - combining the sweetness of the original with a wonderful funky sourness.

- Buxton Tsar Bomba: When I first read about this beer, I knew I had to try it quickly before it ran out. This 9.5% abv imperial stout was inoculated with brettanomyces yeast from a 1978 bottle of Courage Russian Imperial Stout! Yes, it had that funky brett flavor - rich and flavorful. A unique imperial stout and a once in a lifetime tasting experience.

- De Molen Bommen on Cascade: Usually I like their imperial stouts the best, finding the regular Bommen & Granaten barley wine a tad sweet, but this 15.2% abv version was dry-hopped with Cascade making it an explosion of hop flavors and bitterness which perfectly matched the sweetness of the barley wine; a fresh imperial IPA on steroids!

- The atmosphere: Like previous years, what really struck me to the core was the great atmosphere. The beer geek factor may be high (I've got nothing against that, by the way), but everyone seemed so relaxed, there were no shouting or overly drunken people. People were there for the beer experience. I've shared tables with countless people I don't know at the start of the day but that I've gotten to know well over the afternoon. People from all parts of the world. People I look forward to meet again at future festivals.

- The arrangement: Borefts keep impressing me for being so well arranged. They have thought about everything, from cheap water bottles sold everywhere, finger food that goes well with beer, hot food when you get hungry, rinsing stations where you can clean your glass between tastings, toilets and urinals. And by spreading the brewery stands over two locations they spread people and reduce queues. And there's plenty of chairs and benches to sit down at, with tables for taking notes. Nothing is left to chance! Compare this to my critical remarks of the Copenhagen Beer Celebration.

Saturday was a bit more crowded, but still manageable.

In summary
Despite its growing popularity, with more visitors showing up every year, the arrangement is flawless and the festival still feels like a small and cozy craft beer festival. It is certainly small enough to allow direct communication between brewers and visitors, which I value highly. And the quality of the attending breweries is staggering, few other festivals - possibly with the exception of Copenhagen Beer Celebration - have such a high standard and such a breadth of beer styles.

There's no doubt in my mind, if there's one festival I have to attend in 2013 it will be the 5th Borefts Bier Festival which will most likely ("99% sure" according to the De Molen website) be held on September 27 and 28. So, mark those dates and make plans for a Dutch holiday this fall. UPDATE: These dates have just been confirmed on the De Molen Facebook page.

Jester King Das Überkind at Borefts 2012

Utrecht beer pubs
I promised a few words about the beer scene in Utrecht and we're basically talking about two pubs, both of a very good standard though world class may be pushing it a bit far.

Kafé België is located along a canal on Oudegracht 196 in old town Utrecht, at the time of my visit it was the highest rated pub in Utrecht (on RateBeer). I had been there once before, back in 2007, and remembered it as a nice place with a fairly good selection of Belgian beers on tap. This time, the pub turned out a lot more crowded than I seem to remember. Granted, it was Friday night - probably the busiest night of the week. Still, in the end I managed to find standing place on the side of the bar. It wasn't ideal and the noisy atmosphere made it difficult to ask about or even order beer. On a regular weekday, this may still be a great beer pub - but on a Friday you'll be better off trying the next one.

Café Derat is a small and cozy "neighborhood pub" on the corner of Springweg and Lange Smeestraat. From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking it's an ordinary café, but inside you're met with a view of old woodworks - from the solid furnitures to the bar. The walls are plastered with beer signs and on one wall hangs what looks like a huge, mummified rat in a glass encasing. And it is. It's the rat which was found dead during renovations in 1978 and thus gave name to the café, which is now run by a smiling and friendly fellow, named Eric, and his two cats, Josephine and Spot. Eric may not have the largest number of taps, but there are always something interesting on draft. And he knows his beers, often suggesting new ones to try. As the pub is fairly small it may feel crowded, but unlike Kafé België it didn't feel cramped and never so noisy you couldn't talk. Even on a Friday night. Since my visit, Café Derat has climbed the ratings and is now considered the best beer pub in Utrecht. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.

Owner of Café Derat, Eric, and one of his two cats.

More photos can be found at these Flickr sets: Borefts 2012 and Café Derat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Counting down to Tour de Geuze 2013

For those hooked on sour beer not much comes up to the high standards of the Belgian lambics, those spontaneously fermented beers that have been brewed in Pajottenland and the Zenne river valley, just outside modern Brussels, for centuries. Lambics can be enjoyed young but they really prove their worth when blended across several vintages to create geuze or when steeped with berries, such as cherries and raspberries, to create kriek and framboise. Bottles of geuze can be cellared for decades and will often still come out sparkling and fresh.

3 Fonteinen / De Cam Millennium Geuze from 1998
- still sparkling and fresh after 15 years!

A visit to a lambic brewery is like walking back in time (the Cantillon brewery in Brussels even doubles as a museum!), with brewing equipment and traditions unchanged for generations. In most cases, it's next to impossible to get inside a working lambic brewery, the aforementioned Cantillon brewery being a notable exception, because the brewers fear anything that can possibly upset their local flora of wild yeast strains. But on one Sunday, every second year, the members of HORAL open their doors to visitors: It's time for Tour de Geuze!

HORAL and Tour de Geuze
HORAL or Hoge Raad voor Ambachtelijke Lambiekbieren is the "High Council for Artisanal Lambic beer" and consists of members from Pajottenland and the Zenne valley in Belgium. This organization was the brain child of Armand Debelder, the owner of 3 Fonteinen, who initiated HORAL with five other lambic breweries, including Boon, De Troch and Timmermans, on January 10, 1997.

Armand Debelder of Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen
- founder and leader of HORAL.

A member of HORAL must either be a traditional lambic brewer or a "geuzestekerij", a geuze blender - using real lambics to produce geuze. There are currently 11 members of HORAL: Brouwerij Boon in Lembeek, Geuzestekerij De Cam in Gooik, Brouwerij De Troch in Wambeek, Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen and Brouwerij Oud Beersel in Beersel, Brouwerij Girardin in Sint-Ulriks-Kapelle, Geuzestekerij Hanssens Artisanaal in Dworp, Brouwerij Lindemans in Vlezenbeek, Brouwerij Mort Subite in Kobbegem, Gueuzerie Tilquin in Rebecq-Rognon and Brouwerij Timmermans in Itterbeek

Three of these, prefixed Geuzestekerij or Gueuzerie, only blends geuze, using lambics bought from the other members or from Cantillon, which is not a member of HORAL.

As mentioned in the introduction, every second year HORAL arranges a special tour to allow ordinary people to visit its member breweries and blenders. The first Tour de Geuze was held back in 1997, the next one - the 9th so far - will be held this year, on Sunday April 21st, 2013.

Tour de Geuze 2013: April 21st
On the Tour de Geuze visitors are free to come by car, scooter, bike or any other means of transportation to visit those breweries that are open for the tour. The following 8 HORAL members are open this year and can be visited between 10 am and 5 pm on April 21st:

Brouwerij Boon, Fonteinstraat 65, 1502 Lembeek
- Geuzestekerij De Cam, Dorpstraat 67A, 1755 Gooik
- Brouwerij De Troch, Langestraat 20, 1741 Wambeek
- Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, Hoogstraat 2A, 1650 Beersel
- Geuzestekerij Hanssens Artisanaal, Vroenenbosstraat 15/1, 1653 Dworp
- Brouwerij Oud Beersel, Laarheidestraat 230, 1650 Beersel
- Gueuzerie Tilquin, Chaussée Maieur Habils 110, Rebecq-Rognon
- Brouwerij Timmermans, Kerkstraat 11, 1701 Itterbeek

Giradin, Lindemans and Mort Subite will not be open to visitors on this Tour de Geuze.

The route this year, connecting all breweries and blenders, is 62 km long - so you really need transport to get around. If you don't have your own wheels, you can sign up for one of the HORAL buses. Tickets for the HORAL buses will be made available for orders on the Tour de Geuze website, on February 21st.

Here's a Google map showing the route of Tour de Geuze 2013, with each of the stops clearly marked with a letter:

Map of the stops at Tour de Geuze 2013

The stops marked on the map are A) Tilquin, B) Boon, C) De Cam, D) De Troch, E) Timmermans, F) 3 Fonteinen, G) Oud Beersel and H) Hanssens.

2013-02-21 update:
Tickets for ten different bus tours have now been posted on the HORAL website, at €15 per ticket. No single tour covers all 8 breweries and the De Lambiek museum in Beersel, so you will have to decide which places you prefer to visit and then choose the relevant tour. But be quick, some of the buses are almost booked full (#2, #3 and #6 have just a couple of tickets left) only a few hours after the tour alternatives were posted!

After some reflections I booked a seat for myself on bus tour #3 because two of my favorite lambic breweries - Boon and 3 Fonteinen - will be visited on this tour. And it skips the lambic museum, which I plan to visit on a different trip anyway. Bus tour #3 will depart from Halle railway station at 10:15 am on April 21st and visit Tilquin, Boon, De Oude Cam, Timmermans and 3 Fonteinen before returning to Halle railway station at 5 pm.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kelheim - a Schneider Weisse experience

Wheat beer is one of the most popular styles of beer to come out of Germany and though there are several sub categories, such as Berliner Weisse and Gose, most people think of the hazy, wheat beers from Bavaria. Weissbier is indeed a Bavarian speciality, and it may be known both as "weizen" (German for wheat) or as "weisse" (white), since many wheat beers have a pale, almost milky complexion. When unfiltered, such beers are often prefixed by "hefe" from the German word for yeast, e.g. hefeweizen.

Erdinger is probably the best known weissbier brewery from Bavaria and Weihenstephan may brew the "gold standard" of Bavarian weissbiers but it's G. Schneider & Sohn aka Schneider Weisse, in the town of Kelheim, that is the boldest and most innovative brewery - offering a wide range of wheat beers that will surprise you and amaze you in equal measures. Kelheim is also close to Weltenburg, the topic of an earlier post, so it was high on my list of places to visit during the road trip through Germany in September 2012.

Mount Michelsberg in Kelheim, Bavaria

Kelheim has a population of about 15 thousand and is beautifully situated on the banks of the Danube river, between Ingolstadt and Regensburg, in Bavaria. Old town Kelheim is a very scenic place to visit, even if beer is not your fancy, with cobble stone streets, colorful, old facades and fenced in by four impressive city gates of age five hundred years or more.

If you crave great views, little will surpass the view from Mount Michelsberg west of old town. There you can also enjoy the magnificent Befreiungshall, or Hall of Liberation, which is currently under restoration. It was ordered built by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the victories against Napoleon during the Wars of Liberation in 1813-1815.

From Kelheim you can take ferries or small cruise boats up or down the Danube river. A very popular one, which I took, goes upstream through the Danube Gorge to Kloster Weltenburg, where you can visit the abbey brewery from 1050 or just enjoy a hearty meal in the courtyard / biergarten of the abbey.

Colorful facades along Ludwigstraße in old town Kelheim.

For those with just the smallest shred of interest in beer, Kelheim is important for its central place in Bavarian weissbier traditions. It's home to the oldest exisiting weissbier brewery, Weisses Brauhaus, which is currently where G. Schneider & Sohn is brewing their famous Schneider Weisse series of wheat beers.

Getting there and staying
Though it's possible to take a ferry, from places such as Dietfurt and Riedenburg, a car is really the best way of getting to Kelheim and around in the area. The nearest train station is a good 6 km away from old town Kelheim, in Saal, which is a bit far to walk.

Old town Kelheim isn't really big, less than 500 meter times 500 meter, so instead of driving along narrow cobble stone streets I stayed at a hotel near the Donautor city gate which allowed me to park just outside old town. The hotel I stayed at, the Altstadshotel Wittelsbacher Hof on Donaustrasse 22, is a bit pricey (€69 for a single, €99 for a double room) but with a great location, excellent rooms and a very good breakfast.

The Schneider Weisse story
Located on Emil-Ott-Straße 1-5 in old town Kelheim, Weisses Brauhaus was founded as a weissbier brewery as long ago as 1609 and is still in the business, making it the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria. Since 1928, the brewery and the adjoining brewery tap and biergarten has been owned and operated by the Schneider family.

Weißes Brauhaus was founded in 1607 making it the
"Älteste Weissbierbrauerei Bayerns"

For a German brewery family, Schneider is a relative newcomer. Their entry into the world of beer came with Georg Schneider (1817-1890), the royal master brewer and leaseholder of the royal Bavarian Weisses Hofbräuhaus in Munich. In 1856 he received an offer he couldn't refuse.

For centuries it had been the exclusive privilege of the Royal family of Bavaria to brew wheat beers, everyone else had to stick to the plebeian beer style of lager. But with the advent of pilsner in the 1840s, lager beer rapidly grew in popularity and wheat beers went into a steep decline. Thus, it was in 1856 that King Ludwig II of Bavaria decided to get out of the brewing business by offering the rights to brew wheat beer to a commoner, his master brewer Georg Schneider.

With the wheat beer brewing rights in his pocket, Schneider got to work saving wheat beer from total extinction. He founded Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn  together with his son Georg Schneider II (1846-1890), and bought the old Maderbräu brewery in Tal 7, Munich, in 1872. After renovations, the brewing operations were moved from the old Weisse Hofbräuhaus to Tal 7 in September 1872. That year the brewery also introduced their Schneider Weisse wheat beer, now simply known as Original.

Since then the Schneider family has kept the wheat beer torch burning and more or less single handedly kept the old style alive, while the lager craze washed across Germany and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1890, both father and sohn died, but the barely 20 year old grandson, Georg Schneider III (1870-1905), was able to take over the running of the brewery. He renovated and expanded the brewery around the turn of the century, and in 1894 he submitted the crossed wheat ears trademark to the Patent Office in Munich, making Schneider Weisse the oldest registered trademark for wheat beer.

The crossed wheat ears trademark of Schneider Weisse

Upon Georg Schneider III's untimely death in 1905, the running of the brewery was taken over by his wife, Mathilde Schneider. It was under her control that Schneider Weisse released their first strong wheat beer, the Aventinus weizen doppelbock, in 1907. She continued as the manager of the brewery until her son, Georg Schneider IV (1900-1991), had come of age in 1924. It's with him that Kelheim finally enters our story, when in 1927 he purchased the old Schramm brewery on Thalkirchner Straße in Munich and the Weisses Bräuhaus in Kelheim. The latter was renovated and put into operations in 1928.

In 1944, during World War II, the Schneider breweries in Thalkirchner Straße and Tal 7 were destroyed by allied bombs, causing the company to move all its beer production to the Kelheim brewery in 1946. In 1958, Georg Schneider V (born 1928) took over the brewery from his father. With a doctorate degree and also educated as a brewing engineer, he started expanding and renovating the Kelheim brewery. This work would continue for most of his time as managing director, and wasn't completed until 1998! Two years after that, he was succeeded by his son - the always smiling Georg Schneider VI (born 1965), who has overseen a growing popularity of Schneider Weisse with the relase of several new beers as well as an international collaboration - the Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen-Weisse made with brewmaster Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery in 2007.

Today, G. Schneider & Sohn is a successful wheat beer brewery with a modern and highly automated brewhouse and bottling plant, located in the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria - the Weisses Bräuhaus in Kelheim.

Brewery tour and tasting
A few months before going, I had signed up via email for an English speaking tour of the Weisses Brauhaus, but when I arrived it turned out that most of the others on the tour were German natives so the tour guide was sorry to inform me that the tour would be held in German. Fortunately, the group was well disciplined so it was easy to hear what the guide said and even pose a few questions, in English, from time to time.

A 320 hl stainless steel brew kettle at Weisses Brauhaus

The tour started with a walk through the hop garden in the back of the brewery. Unlike many other German breweries Schneider offers aromatic and strongly hopped weissbiers, so good hops are important to them. From there we were led into the brewhouse, to behold two large 320 hl brew kettles in stainless steel. According to our guide, about 5,600 kg crushed malt goes into each kettle where it is boiled for up to three and a half hours, resulting in 32,000 liter wort.

Schneider Weisse uses top fermenting yeasts in open fermentation tanks, where each tank can take 32,000 liter wort. The fermentation starts after roughly one day. After 2-3 days a Kräusen is formed, on top of the wort, protecting it from micro organisms in the air. Some of this Kräusen, which is basically yeast cells floating to the top of the brew, is harvested and later reused to start fermentation in new batches of beer.

After seeing the brewhouse, we were led over to the bottling plant. This is a fully automated bottling plant with a capacity of 40,000 bottles per hour. The view from the second floor viewing platform was absolutely breathtaking. Along the viewing platform guests could also view some older bottling machines and even try their hands on a simple manual bottle filler. Part of the tour was actually to pour and cap my own bottle of Schneider Weisse Original, which I could then bring with me home as a souvenir!

The modern bottling line at Weisses Brauhaus in Kelheim

After the tour of the brewery, it was time to taste the beer so our group was led over to the brewery tap right next to the brewery. There we were given tasters of seven of the Schneider Weisse beers in order of growing strength, from the mild Kristall to rich Hopfen-Weisse.

All of the Scheider Weisse beers now have a unique Tap number, in addition to their old names, and these were the ones we got to taste:

- Schneider Weisse Tap 3 Mein Alkoholfreies
- Schneider Weisse Tap 2 Mein Kristall (5.3% filtered weizen)
- Schneider Weisse Tap 1 Meine Blonde Weisse (5.2% hefeweizen)
- Schneider Weisse Tap 7 Unser Original (5.4% hefeweizen)
- Schneider Weisse Tap 4 Mein Grünes (6.2% hoppy hefeweizen)
- Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus (8.2% weizen bock)
- Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse (8.2% hoppy weizen bock)

Tap 5 is the same beer originally brewed in collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver as Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse in 2007.

Bottles of Schneider Weisse tasted on the brewery tour.

After the end of the official program I moved out into the cozy biergarten in the back of Weisses Brauhaus, it was a bit quiet in late September (and cold after sunset!), but I found it a great place to contemplate the long history of this place and of Bavarian wheat beers in general, while indulging in a fresh Schneider Weisse Original from draft, the only beer on draft during my visit.

Next time I'd love to come back in July, to spend a long summer evening out in the biergarten.

Schneider Weisse Original, first brewed 1872
- in the biergarten at Weisses Brauhaus.

More photos from the visit to Kelheim and Weisses Brauhaus are found at Flickr.