We all have our foundational texts, and these are three of mine (although not the only ones), as plucked from the shelf a few weeks ago as I was contemplating the Common Haus beer program, as well as prepping for our Altbier day at Office Hours on 14 August. I also thumbed through Michael Jackson’s original World Guide to Beer).
- The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Munich, by Larry Hawthorne (originally published in 1992)
- Good Beer Guide to Munich and Bavaria, by Graham Lees (a CAMRA guide, originally published in 1994)
- The Simon & Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer, by Michael Jackson (1991 edition, I believe)
These books date to the early 1990s, were packed on trips abroad, and contributed immeasurably to the educational outreach during those early Public House daze. I’ve found them to be amazing yet again in terms of a refresher course about all the cultural aspects of beer and brewing, which beckoned me to enter the fest tent from the very start.
It might be noted that the authors, to a man, were British. This might explain their point of comparison pertaining to Altbier, which they found explainable in a British ale-brewing context, albeit it adapted over time to German lager-brewing norms.
Rick’s first Altbier batch at Akasha was quite good; he’ll be tweaking it a bit, and when Common Haus comes around, I’m hoping it will be an everyday selection. If it skews on one’s palate more toward an English Brown than Munich Dark, that’s not only fine, but preferable. I suspect Köstritzer Schwarzbier will be the German beer that fills the Porter gap. Calibrating these similarities is why I earn the big money.
Even I understand that it’s impossible to completely replicate the glories of traditional German beer culture here in America. But recapturing vital elements of this most comfortable of “comfort beer” atmospheres surely can be achieved. I’ll do my best, and the research will continue.