bavaria · beer · what i did today

Ausflug: Bier in Bayern

And now some pictures from a recent Sunday trip to the 2016 Bayerische Landesausstellung, “Bier in Bayern” in Aldersbach. This was a fabulous exhibition put on by the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, a state historical agency that holds exhibitions around the state. The hosts for this exhibition were the former Cisternian kloister, now a parish church and restaurant/guest house, and their modernized brewery.

The church was decorated in the 18th century by the Asam brothers, the master artists who Baroque’d up the Fresinger Dom among other churches of the region.

This weekend the church was decorated for the annual harvest festival.
On this weekend the church was decorated for the annual harvest festival.
The lion and the woman with the beer are both symbols of Bavaria.
The lion and the woman with the beer are both symbols of Bavaria.
Beer has been made on this site since 1268, when it was made by (and for) Cisternian monks.
Beer has been made on this site since 1268, when it was made by (and for) Cisternian monks.

The exhibition was extremely well-crafted, with an interesting mix of objects, text, reproduced images, films, recreated rooms, and electronic games and displays. We particularly enjoyed the pre-industrial malt drying/smoking chimney, a miniature 16th century brewery (best dollhouse ever!), and some drinking vessels on display.

For example, this beer Maß was dug up at an archaeological site and estimated to be nearly 1500 years old.
For example, this beer Maß was dug up at an archaeological site and estimated to be nearly 1500 years old.
Although I'm not sure I completely understood the images from 19th century drinking culture.
Probably they could have left out the temperance lecture….

It took us about three hours to walk through with the audio guide, and so my only quibble was that there should have been a place to sit and have a beverage about halfway through.  After two hours of reading about beer one does tend to get thirsty.

The Reinheitsgebot, in original and modern German text.
The Reinheitsgebot, in both original and modern German text.

A particular highlight of the room devoted to the history of the Reinheitsgebot, the 1516 decree by a Bavarian duke in Landshut that limited beer ingredients to water, barley, and hops (which propagandists will tell you is a “quality-control law”; reality will tell you otherwise), was the actual five-hundred-year-old book in which it was recorded. It does not mention yeast, even though you can’t make beer without it.

Here it is, in all its glory, in a book filled with several hundred other ancient ducal decrees that are no longer followed because it’s the 21st century and we have electricity and democracy and antibiotics and whatnot (heck, we even know about yeast now).

I do like the drama of pulling the cord to raise the curtain. You have to protect valuable objects from light damage, why not make it interesting?
I do like the drama of pulling the cord to raise the curtain. You have to protect valuable objects from light damage, why not make it interesting?

Did I mention that after three hours of walking around reading about beer we were thirsty?  In the courtyard of the complex was the ProBierBar–this is a pun, as “probieren” means “to try” and of course “Bier” means “beer.”  If you are not a beer geek, you may skip the rest of this paragraph.  The two glasses on the left were the special beers created for the exhibition, called “Konvent” and “Pforten”.  Konvent is Starkbier made with 15 varieties of hops grown in Bavaria (eat your heart out, West Coast IPA), modern and American varieties as well as traditional ones–but it was very balanced with an heirloom malt variety and not bitter. The Pforten only had the four traditional hops varieties grown in Bavaria (Tettnanger, Hallertauer, Spalter und Hersbrucker). Both beers were brewed with water from the 12 Bavarian monastery breweries–each has its own water profile, and the recipes were devised to make the most of the mixture.  There’s a nice video here from the first tapping.  Very nice, once-in-a-lifetime beers.

They do make good beer here.
They do make good beer here.

After we relaxed a bit, we took a tour of the actual brewery.  In contrast to Kuchlbauer, this tour was self-guided and not at all museum-like.  No puppets, no art, just a walk through the production areas.  Super geeky. :)

This is how the magic happens...
This is how the magic happens…
The tour came with self-service samples.
The tour came with self-service samples.

And a final view from the parking lot–three towers.

The church, the malt chimney, and the brewhouse smokestack.
The church, the malt chimney, and the brewhouse smokestack.

2 thoughts on “Ausflug: Bier in Bayern

  1. Love the posts, the photos, and your writing style. Asam architecture is amazing, and I’m sure the brothers enjoyed sampling the beer in the towns where they worked. Is that a radish in the temperance poster?

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