Monday 23 November 2009

Salvator again

Obsessions are wonderful things. I always have something to talk about. It's time to return to an old favourite, Salvator.

That retired diplomat again. How I love the early days of the German Empire. Gründerzeit, that's what the Germans call it. (What a wonderful way with words the Germans have: Schadenfreude, Frühschoppen and Gründerzeit. Great, great words all.)

"But there is still another beer in Munich which makes its appearance but once a year (in the spring) and is sold only for a short number of days,—it is even stronger than the bock,—the Salvator beer.

To a certain extensive garden, high up on the right bank of the Isar, from which a beautiful view of the city is had, there is every year a pilgrimage of all Munichers. It seems as if a world's fair were being held. Close streams of people, men, women and children, people of all ranks and of every station in life, pour in from all directions, and the garden and the immense halls, and even the street adjoining, are swarming with drinkers. It is a hard fight of many minutes, duration before one can get to the various counters where the beer is tapped. It is a hard fight in the first place to secure an empty mug. The crowding and the shoving is almost intolerable, and yet the Munich man stands it bravely and good-naturedly; the prize rewards him for all the inconvenience he has in getting it. The thing must he seen, it cannot be described.

Salvator beer is the invention of the Paulian monks, who brewed this beer with special care at all their convents under the name of Holy Father beer, and they commenced drinking it on the second of April, the feast of the Holy Father. When the order was disbanded, the brewing of this beer ceased at all places except Munich. Their brewery in the Au (a suburb of Munich) was sold to a citizen brewer, who kept on making the brewage, faithfully adhering to the original receipt, to the great delectation of all Munichers. But at that time the Bavarian law did not permit the brewing of any beer either weaker or stronger than the established norm (the brewing of bock was a government privilege). The government for a long time closed its eyes to this one particular brewery. The government officials were themselves evidently fond of Salvator. Later, when it was found the law must take its course, a daily fine of fifty florins was imposed, as long as he sold the beer, on the now rich brewer. He paid the fine and laughed in his sleeve. But as the evading of the law on such conditions was, withal, of precarious tenure, the brewer was advised to make a direct petition to King Ludwig the First to secure his privilege. His petition was successful. The king granted him the right, and at the same time the monopoly of forever brewing the Holy Father beer on the site of the former Paulian Convent brewery.
"Consular Reminiscences" by By G. Henry Horstmann, pages 334-335.

There will probably be more from this fascinating book tomorrow. Maybe the bit about the total number of breweries in Europe. What do you think?

No comments: