I was making a quick search for duplicates amongst my German books – I know there are some – when I chanced upon a book I forgot that I owned. "Die Besteuerung des Haus-Brauwesens in Bayern" by Otto Rizzi, published in 1933. I think I bought on one of my trips to Bavaria, but I’m not 100% certain.
As soon as I opened it, I could see why I bought it. Certainly not for the typeface, a hard to read Gothic. No, for the tables. Of which there are lots. I love a good table, me. The topic – the taxation of house brewers in Bavaria – is pretty dry. But it’s packed with data about both communal and commercial breweries. Dead, dead handy. Why have I never used any of it? Because I’m overwhelmed with data. I can’t collect it all. There’s just too much of it.
A couple of the smaller tables particularly attracted my attention. Like the one we’ll be looking at today. It shows percentage sales of Helles and Dunkles in the different regions of Bavaria. Not something I’ve seen before. And not at all what I expected.
Let me explain. One of the best books ever written about German beer in general is "Die Biere Deutschlands" by Wolfgang Kaul & Dietrich Höllhuber, published in 1988. I can remember ordering a copy when I lived in Rotterdam. It’s where I first learned of Gose, something that started a quest to track down the style.
But they also wrote a series of walking guides to Franconia for the beer drinker ("Fränkische Schweiz. Ein Wanderführer für Biertrinker", for example). Their photos and descriptions of rural beer gardens made my mouth literally water. What particularly struck me was how many of the places they covered only sold Dunkles. It sounded like heaven.
When I finally got to Fränkische Schweiz, I saw plenty of Dunkles. One of my favourite places, Kathi-Bräu, brews nothing else. And most of the small breweries had one available. That’s why these numbers shocked me so much:
|Output of beer in Bavaria by colour 1930-1931|
|"Die Besteuerung des Haus-Brauwesens in Bayern" by Otto Rizzi, 1933, page 197.|
Fränkische Schweiz is in
I’m amazed at how dramatic the split is between the north and south of the state. Though, thinking more carefully, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that Franconia had a different beer tradition. It only became part of Bavaria during the Napoleonic Wars.
Here’s a map of Bavaria to make things clearer:
German beer classes in the 1930’s next.