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We stayed in a converted watermill (Reussenmühle) attached to the back of Goldene Krone. A very comfortable hotel, but for one small point. I'll return to that later.
I'm wasting my time with expressions like "attractive half-timbered building" and "in the centre of town". You can see the former for yourself in the photo and the latter can be deduced from the Markplatz (Market Place) address.
What can I tell you? That they sell Maisel Pils, Kellerbier and Hefeweizen on draught. That's the Bayreuth Maisel, not the Bamberg one. Being Mr Natural (though beardless), I plumped for the Kellerbier. Yeast, pepper, tobacco and spice I could pick out. But it had been a long day. Some other flavours may have been lurking in the shadows. "A good, solid, hoppy unfiltered beer" is how I summed it up in my notes. Who am I to argue with myself? (Though, in my more schizophrenic moments, I have come close.)
A pub/restaurant too food-oriented for my taste, it was comfortable enough for a pre-prandial slurp. Or two. I think Steve was already on his second when I got there. Happy days.
That Monday was so full of beery delights, I'm glad that I took notes. That hasn't prevented me from confusing the order of the pubs/breweries we drank in. For the record, we didn't get to Schroll until after Kathi-Bräu and Aichinger was after Buttenheim. I hope that's cleared things up. I wouldn't want to rewrite history. (I would really, but that's another story.)
While I'm busy with clarifications, there's something else I would like to point out that. In Forchheim and beyond I told you that I had to photographic evidence of Stonch's half-pint shame. Yet the picture of Schroll Landbier has Stonch drinking out of his girly glass in the background. My apologies. (I hope Stonch doesn't retaliate and publish some of his dodgier snaps of me.)
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Andy recommended Kachelofen for late-night drinking. He'd drunk in the pub a few months before. A young bloke at the bar, who introduced himself as Stefan, greeted Andy like a long lost friend. Someone he'd met on his last visit.
When someone suggests playing a drinking game, I start to sweat. A vision of a pool of vomit with me lying in it flashes before my eyes. It hasn't actually happened yet, but it's only a matter of time. Stefan wanted to introduce us to a drinking game. First he ordered a beer cocktail that trumps snakebite and blackcurrant for sheer awfulness: a litre glass of Pils, cola and two shots of kirsch schnapps. It was served in a dimpled glass. The idea was for each person to drink in turn and try to get down to exactly the bottom of the next dimple.
(This is a variation of a very old game, played in Holland in the 17th century. They had a special vessel called a "pas glas" (pass glass) - a tall cylindrical glass with horizontal lines at irregular intervals. You'll note that this is long before most writers would have you believe glasses were used for beer drinking. Like much else, the stories about the where, why and when of their introduction are mostly based on fantasy. I love tale of beers becoming pale after glass replaced pewter in 19th century England. In fact the opposite happened; when London pubs swapped to glasses it was about the time when the most popular drink, Mild, changed from pale to dark. Here's an interesting account of the reason for the switch away from pots by the manager of the Pembury Arms - now Tavern - in 1897. Sorry for diversion. I'll now return to the narrative.)
The Pils-cola-kirsch mix tasted as disgusting as it sounds, but it seemed impolite not to join in. In between having my teeth dissolved by the revolting sweet liquid, I chatted with Stefan and his mustachioed mate. Stefan, it turned out, was a policeman. The most laid-back policeman I've met. But this is Franconia. Not exactly a seething hotbed of crime. He was a mine of fascinating background information on the area, most of which I've forgotten. High unemployment, youngsters move away, the village communities aren't as tight as they once were. That's the gist. (I've concentrated two hours conversation into one sentence. How's that for being concise?)
Later, over his third or fourth beer, Stefan told me that he didn't live in Pottenstein, but a small village a few kilometres away. "How do you get home then?" I asked. He just shrugged and gave me a sly smile. Right. He must walk.
Look at me, rattling away. I've forgotten to tell you what beer was on. Kaiser Pils and Weizen on draught. I didn't fancy either and went for the bottled Echt Veldensteiner Landbier (also from Kaiser). A "sweetish, malty and chewy Munich-style Dunkles" my notes say. The second worst Dunkles I had on the trip (after the crappy Weltenburger), but still drinkable. The people at RateBeer call it a Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, I suppose based on the name. Total bollocks, as it's a filtered/force carbonated beer for a start. At 5.4% ABV and 12.5º Plato and sweet, it seems pretty obviously a Dunkles Export (Munich style). Why haven't they classified it as that? Oh, I know, because no-one in the US style Nazi community has noticed that the style exists yet. How can anyone lump this together with something like St. Georgen Kellerbier, a bitter, spicy, pale, cloudy beer?
While Paul and I were busy with Stefan, Andy was chatting to the crazy landlord, Sigi, a Saxon with a beard birds could nest in. A proper landlord of the old school: begutted and with rather too much liking for his own wares. Andy had been much taken by the Kaiser lampshades in the form of a miniature copper. He asked Sigi if he could buy one for 5 euros. "No". This wasn't the curt refusal it seemed. Sigi disappeared and returned with a screwdriver. He then unscrewed one of the lampshades from the ceiling and presented it to Andy, free of charge and with the flex still attached. Remember I mentioned
"He won't remember what happened tomorrow." Stefan told me, before detailing Sigi's normal daily alcohol intake. "His wife will go crazy when she sees it's missing. He'll probably tell her aliens took it."
We stayed until around midnight, which was late for us. Early starts drove us to our beds before ten most evenings. Sigi's eccentricities extended to his mathematics, too.
Phew! I've finally finished telling you about Happy Monday. Just two more days to go. Who's going to give up first, do you think, me or you?