Monday, 13 May 2013

Berlin-brewed Grodziskie

Now this is getting confusing. Because I've evidence that Grosziskie was brewed outside Poland.

Here's the evidence:
"Grätzer Bier is brewed in relatively small quantities by just two breweries in Berlin, namely the Monopolbrauerei and the Hochschulbrauerei."
"Die Herstellungobergäriger Biere und die Malzbierbrauerei Groterjan A.G. in Berlin", by Braumeister A. Dörfel, page 31 (my translation).

The original text:
"Grätzer Bier wird in Berlin nur in zwei Brauereien, nämlich der Monopolbrauerei und der Hochschulbrauerei in verhältnismässig kleinen Mengen hergetstellt."
When it was first brewed in Berlin, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if it was after Grodzisk became part of the reformed Poland in 1919*. But I've no evidence to back that up. I could just be talking out of my arse.

What to call Grodziskie brewed in Berlin? I think we can all agree that Berlin is definitely in Germany and has been (or in Prussia) for a considerable length of time. Is it fair enough to call it Grätzer? Though obviously it wasn't brewed in the town the style is named after. It's got me scratching my head.

What do you reckon?

* That was a shit guess. The Josty brewery was already brewing a beer called Grätzer in Berlin in 1900. (Thanks Robbie.)


Barm said...

Josty was brewing Grätzer in Berlin in 1900:

I don’t have a problem with using Grätzer to refer to a German-brewed copy.

Ron Pattinson said...


I guess that Josty was one of the breweries that combined to form Monopol.

Pivní Filosof said...

Well, if Pilsner can be brewed in Germany, then so can Grätzer....

Lars Marius Garshol said...

Isn't it reasonable that the same style can have different names in different languages, and still be one style? So it's grätzer in German and grodziskie in Polish?

This doesn't occur so much with other beer styles that have been brewed in different places, but perhaps that's because those styles have names that translate better? I guess only speakers of Slavic languages are ever going to be comfortable with a name like grodziskie, so presumably translation of the name was inevitable from the start.

Also, I don't see why they can't brew the same style of beer in both Berlin and Grodzisk. Of course, there could be sufficiently big systematic differences that there are two distinct styles (in which case the naming issue kind of dissolves itself).

If gose could be brewed in both Copenhagen and Leipzig, surely grätzer can be brewed in more than one town?

Anonymous said...

I think its fine for English speakers to use the German word for this beer. No offense to Poland. It has nothing to do with German being better or anything to do with race, etc as the polish message alluded too. Its very common for English to use German names for cities in the east. How about Pilsner? Should it be call it Plzeňer? If I call it bohemian am I being insensitive to the Czechs since thats German too (and there is quite a history there too!)? How about Munich, only München from now on? Lets not even get to Chinese cities!

I feel their pain, my grandfather is from Danzig. But again, Danzig is the English word for the city, and Gdansk is the polish, its not "anti polish" to refer to it that way, no more than the "anti-czech" or "anti-german" from above.

So, I say you refer to the beer however you want, as both are correct.

Barm said...

Lars, it’s more than places or things having different names in different languages. It’s because of the policy of enforced Germanisation of Poland that people are touchy about this particular issue. The native language of Grodzisk was suppressed and now their beer is being discussed using the name given to it by foreign rulers.

English speakers should use Grodziskie. It’s not really any more difficult to say than Grätzer (probably most people are mispronouncing it Grahts-uh anyway).

Jay said...

Hochschulbrauerei was operated from 1898 until it's demise by Versuchs- und Lehranstalt für Brauerei, who are generally wise to the brewing history of Berlin. It might be worth your time to contact them and see if someone there can give you some solid information. They also have a fairly extensive library on site (librarian Michaela Knör, which may be of some use.

Anonymous said...

The Brauwelt article from 1990 stated that Grodziskie was brewed not just in Grodzisk, but also in a number of other places in the former province of Posen and in West Prussia.

I call it the Plzen effect. If something is selling like hotcakes, others will surely want to cash in on the name.

Also, to help reclaim the original name of the beer, it's: "Grow-JEES-kee-uh". Easy enough for English speakers to say - it's only difficult if we try to read it. :)

Anonymous said...

sorry to go a bit off topic but this post just reminded me about a couple of pictures by the berlin artist heinrich zille, he draws a good pub does zille and in the "kinder vom der strasse" series theres a couple of pub scenes that include beer signs on the walls and they include signs for graetzer a couple of times, just reminded me reading this post as i didnt really know what the signs referred to before!


Ron Pattinson said...


that's interesting. Do you have links to any of these Zille drawings?

Anonymous said...

theyre in a book ive got of his drawings, ill try and see if theyre online anywhere and if not ill scan them over the weekend and put them on here. he used to hang out in zum nussbaum in the nikolaiviertel a lot apparently around 1900


Anonymous said...

ive scanned the pictures i was talking about, plus one that talks about schnapps being the peoples friend which i quite like, but i dont know how to put them on a comment on here, im not the best with technology, is there an email address i can send the pictures to you at?