Monday, 6 August 2007


Nuremberg Airport
I'm writing this on the back of a map to guide me to an interview. Fingers crossed. I need a job. Scant interest for you, but I use this blog as a diary. Not of everything. Much I keep to myself.

Waiting at airports is dull. I broke. While Andy was hanging around at the gates, I went for a "toilet break". There was some toileting involved, but on my way to the bogs I noticed a bar. As I always tell my kids, it's unlucky to walk past an open pub without stopping for a beer. I didn't want to tempt fate.

Tucher Hefeweizen. I could just about justify drinking it (it is unfiltered). Wee expelled, I said "ein Hefeweizen, bitte." My German is great. When it comes to ordering beer. Ask me to discuss particle physics and I struggle. Fortunately, I hang arounds pubs more often than research labs.

I'm introduced to my travelling companions. In the beer gut stakes, I come second or third. Should I weep or rejoice? Paul and Steve are in my zone for both belly and age. Stonch, the baby of the group, is disappointingly slim. Bugger.

A beautiful town (not a sentence). That's why tourists mob it. The hordes that occupy its medieval bridge will prove untypical. It's easy to mock the snapping Japanese, except that it's so photogenic, I'm snapping, too. Double bugger.

Gaststätte Spitalgarten
St. Katarinenplatz 1,
93059 Regensburg.
Tel: 0941 - 847 74
Fax: 0941 - 890 3168

Just over the bridge is the Spital brewery. They have a beer garden right next to the river. Whoopee! We did glance at the Würstkuche at the other end of the bridge, but it was packed. I'm glad it was. Spital wasn't only far quieter, but far more local. Except for a group of crop-haired GIs. But they were sitting well away from us.

The first official beer of the tour: Spital Dunkles. Steve has a litre: good man. Wimpy me has just a half (litre). I'm still in a pre-notes situation here. Quite like a Czech dartk lager is how I remember it. So malty and with a discrete hop presence. We are just outside Franconia, which explains the lack of hops. Hops in a Dunkles? That isn't a mistake. Franconian Dunkles doesn't stint on hops. Their most endearing feature is their bitterness.

You'll hear much, much more about Franconian Dunkles this week. I love it. One of my favourite styles. Styles . . . styles . . . styles . . .

Once I could discuss styles without embarassment. But that was before I learned of style fascism. I've become wary. Here "style" is used in the sense with which I grew up: more an emotion than a definition.

Franconian Dunkles: I'll explain what I think it is. Later. Regensburg is the topic today.

I have a pub guide to Regensburg. We can be honest with each other. I like you. It's my first time in the town. Don't tell anyone else. It can be our little secret. My credibility would be blown if it got out. "We'll meet up at the minibus in half an hour." said Andy. Magic. Time for a couple more pubs. I sprinted off to the old town.

Brauereigaststätte Kneitinger
Arnulfsplatz 3,
93047 Regensburg.
Tel: 0941 - 52455
Fax: 0941 - 599 9982

The Regensburg outlet for Munich's Hofbräu is reasonable enough in a sad folksy sort of way. But it didn't tempt me to waste any precious minutes. I pressed on to the Kneittinger brewery tap. Pils and Dunkles on draught.

I took my place, slightly uneasily, in the lengthy drinking corridor. Those accustomed to northern multiroom pubs would feel right at home with the layout: self-contained rooms off a corridor with a servery. After some confusion with the waitress (it was my first day, it takes time for my rusty German to sparkle), I had a Dunkles in my hand. I forgot to mention that the glass roof over part of the drinking corridor had turned it into a greenhouse. Sweating cobs. I was sweating cobs.

Standing up, sweating and fretting over my watch (10 minutes left to get back to the bus) I wasn't in the mood for anything but knocking it back. It hit the spot. And certainly wasn't nasty. Not bad. Again, quite like a Czech dark lager. Malty. A bit sweet. Two minutes to walk to the bus? The Kneittinger goes down easily in eight. Perfect for arriving back at the bus in time.

Where the hell is everyone else?

No comments: