We've arranged to meet one of my blog readers, Michael, and his son Tom in Buttenheim. They're staying up there, close to the Kellers, for their Annafest trip. The plan is to meet them at Buttenheim station at 13:33 (when the train from Forchheim arrives). They have a car so we'll dodge the death march up the hill.
As we've some spare time before that, Andrew suggests we go into Forchheim.
"I can show you the WW I war memorial. It's a dead good one." Andrew is a big WW I fan. Interested in WW I, I should say. I don't think he'd volunteer to take part in a rerun.
"And . . ."
"It's conveniently right opposite Neder."
"What a surprise - there's a pub involved."
"You'd think I'd been replaced by an alien if there wasn't a pub. It's a great pub. You'll love it. I call it the Early Retirement Club."
"Sounds just the place for a teenager, dad."
It's really hot again. And my navigational skills haven't improved. Forchheim is one of those places where the route between station and town isn't obvious. We go a way I'm sure I've never been before. Because we spot a dead brewery I've never seen. The last to close in town: Brauhaus Forchheim. It doesn't look like much has happened to it since. I wonder if all the brewing kit is still inside?
Considerably sweatier than we started, we reach the war memorial.
"See, it's a good one isn't it?"*
"Looks expensive. I wonder where they got the money in the 1920's?"
I let Andrew admire it for a good 5 seconds."That's enough culture, time for beer."
It's 10:30 on Sunday, yet we're lucky to find a seat in Neder. The Early Retirement Club is in full swing. A group of old blokes are playing skat. Others are just drinking. A surprising number of shots are flowing. My idea of a lazy Sunday morning.
"Look at that Andrew. Beer as god intended it, straight from the barrel."
"You've already done that one, dad."
"OK, beer the way Stalin intended it. Is that better?"
There's just one draught beer, Neder Export, despite this being the brewery tap. I couldn't give a toss. That one beer is a delight, cool, smooth and with enough bite to keep your attention. Here it is:
A bearded man about my age enters carrying a copy of the Good Beer Guide to Germany. He orders a Schwarze Anna, a bottled beer, and makes notes as he drinks it. Then spends a few minutes shuffling pieces of paper presumably filled with precious previous notes. Andrew throws the bloke a pitying glance. I'm glad of my no notes policy. Don't want to be the object of my son's pity.
Sadly, I've only time for two beers. Train to catch, Kellers to sit in, more beers to drink.
* I realise the poorly placed TV aerial in my photo makes makes it look like the soldier holding some weird detector or ray gun.
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