Friday, July 6, 2012

Barbarossa Brewery "Bier Seminare"

There's not much more that Marisa enjoys doing than looking through deals on Groupon, and fortunately they have Groupon in Germany.  So, when Valentine's Day came around she came across a deal for two to a 4-hour beer brewing seminar not too far from Frankfurt.  I think that that in itself speaks volumes about German culture and their level of romanticism, but it sounded like fun so we went for it.

It took us several months before we were able to agree on a weekend to do it, but we finally had a date in June.  I tried, in vain, to recruit one of our German friends to come along with us because I knew that the beer-brewing workshop would be 100% in German.  Nevertheless we went in thinking that there should be plenty of hands-on participation that it wouldn't matter if we understood every word.

That turned out to not be the case as we found ourselves bombarded with very fast, and very detailed lecturings on the art of brewing for a few hours - all while sitting uncomfortably on beer garden benches.  I knew it was bad when the crowd erupted in laughter a few times in the first ten minutes, and I completely missed the jokes......

Brauerei Barbarossa in the town of Scholkrippen

It's a small-size brewery with a really nice, authentic atmosphere inside.  They are one of the few breweries that we came across that were so dedicated to sharing their knowledge with home-brewers.

 Our favorite of their beers was the Barbarossa Hell.  They also make seasonal beers such as Bock, Lager, Marzen, and Weizen.

 While only a small percentage of the seminar was hands-on, we were able to capture some of this action, like this guy stirring the barley and water while checking the temperature periodically.

After the mixture was heated and stirred for an hour or so, we dumped it through a strainer to separate out the wort from the malt.

The straining is a slow process since the wort has very fine grains.  We tasted the warm mixture and it was a sweet, grain taste.

After two passes through the strainer, he then tried this technique, pouring the mixture over the back of the spoon.

 After filtering our home-brew batch, we took a gander around the breweries equipment.  They had a few of these large, open fermentation tanks with floating thermometers.  As you can see, the top of this guy was thick like the top of a cappuccino or something.

 Marisa enjoyed a sample of the Barbarossa Hell.

I pretended to enjoy the Barbarossa Red beer - too sour for us.

     I'm glad that we got a chance to learn a little about brewing from a German brewer.  However, I wouldn't recommend this seminar for anyone without excellent German language skills.  Even if you speak fluent German, in the 4-hour seminar it was about 3-hours of lecture and 1-hour of touring the brewery and making a home-brew batch.  Just too much talking and not enough doing.........a reminder for my teaching that students have to be engaged with the subject before learning can take place.

--Justin
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