Readjusting to normal life after my Franconian trip has been more difficult than I expected. I'd got used to someone else arranging all the boring necessities. It's a shock to responsible for myself again. If only life could be one continuous beer tour.
Getting used to Belgian beer wasn't the doddle I expected. I've been reacquainting myself gradually. My first St Bernardus is in front of me now. Hello old friend. Long time no see. Please be gentle with me.
I've already thrown the scrap of one Franconian brewery review. To avoid confusing myself, or others, I'll try to do the rest in chronological order.
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Driving down from Kaldenkirchen with Andy and Iffy, I got an extra bonus day in Franconia. Brilltastic. Even better, we were staying in a brewery.
You may have heard Stonch mention my notebook. It wasn't so much a book as a bunch of scrap paper folded to be like a book. It isn't bound and could at any moment disintegrate and disappear into the sea of paper than laps the shore of our furniture. I've lost notes before. The loss of those for the 1851 Barclay Perkins brewing logs I feel the keenest.
I keep losing the thread. Notes. That's it. I didn't make any on the tour prequel. This is all from memory. A ready explanation for the brevity and vagueness of this post.
We didn't wet the tour's head where we stayed, but in a town nearby. Andy needed to pop in the toursit office and luckily there was a brewery around the corner where I could slake the thirst of five hours motorway driving.
Bad Windsheim is a pretty little town. Being in Franconia, having two breweries doesn't make it particularly special. Döbler, in the centre of town, was fated to be my First Beer of the Trip.
Start as you mean to go on. I ordered a litre of Doppelbock. That's what I would have done, but they didn't have any Doppelbock. Or Bock. Or Märzen, even. The largest measures were a half litre. Oh, OK then, a half litre of Dunkles will do.
I almost began a description of the mellow, nutty sweetness of the Döbler Dunkles. But I'm not going to bullshit you. That's how I recall it, sort of, but I wasn't really paying that much attention. I was too excited at being in Franconia again. Hey, I've got a Dunkles. Cool.
By the time we hit Geyer, I was more rational. Time for another digression.
My wife is from Thuringia. It's a beautiful part of Germany. Quaint villages of half-timbered houses cluster around a church and a pub. Franconia looks exactly the same. I feel at home in a proxy kind of way (there is a word that expresses this thought more concisely but I'm buggered if I can remember it now).
Scatterbrain. Concentrate, concentrate. Geyer is in what looks to me like a typical (aaaaah one of the two t-words I've sworn not to use; excuse me) Thuringian village. Very Tudor - half-timbered and with a pervading smell of shit.
I'm a townie. My adult life has been staged in a succession of cities. It's scary when the out there in the country. They do horrible things with pigs. Uuugh. Dolores has told me about life on an LPG.
Outside Geyer (which means vulture, in case you're interested) , between the pub and the offie, sat a crate of beer in a wheelbarrow. Hey, this is the countryside. Seems a sensible way to transport your beer home.
Bavarian pubs can overload on the cutesy country look. Geyer's blond pine lacks the resonance of age. Age isn't everything. Everything about a pub contributes. The flourescent bottles that adorn each table aren't purely decorative; they illustrate the third (shit, I'd forgotten about the hotel) fourth string to their bow (more like a Bass with that many strings). Brewery, pub, distillery, hotel.
It's significant that few of Franconia's small breweries limit themselves to just making beer. Perhaps that's the secret of their survival.
(No notes for this day. Memory only.) Geyer's flagship is Hausbräu. Unfiltered, spiciliy hoppy and very drinkable. Too drinkable. The draught Helles was OK, but less characterful.
When we traipsed to our beds at 12:00 the wheelbarrow was still there. And the crate. None of the bottles were missing.