Tag Archive: Lowering Into Saxony


Lowering into Saxony: Musings on the Germany – Lower Saxony Beer Scene

We all know the German beer scene, right? It is pretty much an icon of lagers around the world. I don’t really need to do one of my post trip round up notes do I?

Maybe, maybe not. I’m not going to claim my week in Hannover and the surrounding area made me an expert on Lower Saxony, let alone the entirety of Germany – however a few things out there were a bit different than I would have expected, so figured it is worth doing one of my usual musings.

Now, a lot of what you expect is true – Germany has bloody excellent lagers. People joke about “Eurofizz”, but you know what, if you want lager done well – Germany is in the top three places to find them. Exactly what is around will depend on your locale – Many places seem to have their regional lager, like the Herrenhauser in and around Hannover, but generally you will find a good range of good quality lagers in the different pubs. Jever, Paulaner, et al. Supermarkets similarly have usually 20 odd different Germany beers in cans and bottles. It isn’t all pilsners either – nearly every pub and supermarkets we went to had a nice mix of dunkels, weisse, and so on – a few even going into heavier weizenbocks. So, base quality has always been good in Germany – its the range and variety that has usually been the let down. Even that seems slightly harsh – as indicated before there are a lot of weisse beers, some places even having the less common berliner weisse for sours.

What I think people are noting is that there is very little coming in from beer styles or breweries from outside of Germany. However even that is starting to break, in my recent experience. If you search, you can find craft beer shops and pubs – with an emphasis on Belgian and USA imports from what I saw, mixed with a growing local craft scene. Now, this has nowhere near the level of public penetration as in the USA, or even the UK these days – you have to go looking specifically for bars that tailor to your needs, rather than them just being available on your average tap or restaurant, but there does seem to be a fledgling craft beer scene going on.

What hasn’t penetrated at all, that I could see, is any sign of a Real Ale scene – not a surprise, outside of the UK I very rarely see them – a few in Sweden, a few rarely in craft beer in the USA, but it is not a surprise to me that German craft beer scene seems to be doing either craft beer takes on the traditional German styles, or following the hoppier USA styles which would match easier to the more keg friendly Germany scene.

The biggest impact seems to have been the IPAs, which always seem to be a popular part of any craft beer scene – particularly the New England IPA style which was bloody everywhere while I was there. Admittedly that could just be because the New England style is booming everywhere at the mo – so may not be representative of the general German scene. Also with Stone Berlin opening up, their beers are starting to get wider, if still not super easy to find, distribution. I think Stone Berlin still need a bit of dialling in on their brewing though – they are good, but don’t quite match those from the USA yet – though that may just have been the few I tried. Like all of these thoughts, I am extrapolating from a comparatively small sample.

The difference in cost between craft and the more local German beers is pretty heavy as well – your standard lagers and weisse beers are ridiculously cheap – while your craft beers approximate main city costs of craft that you would find in the UK. So pretty expensive, but not stupidly so.

What is very useful for the beer traveller in Germany however is the public transport which is plentiful and very reasonably priced. Our main travel out of Hannover was a day pass which allowed use of trams and buses in it and most surrounding cities, and trains that went as far as Hamburg. Cost was just over 20 quid for one person, but only 4 quid extra for each additional person which soon made it brilliant value for groups – It puts most places I have visited in the past to shame and made it very easy to head over to Goslar to try their distinctive local Gose beer. I’ve mentioned it before, but the salted and spiced German wheat beer was originally created on Goslar – and unlike the Leipzig version which for many a year was the only other goze available, is not particularly sour. Well worth trying for the oddity if you are in the area – the gose style is having a resurgence worldwide at the moment so it is nice to be able to try some of the originals.

So, still the land of excellent lager and weisse, and still with a very solid baseline of quality – there does not seem to be much mediocrity to horror of John Smiths or Fosters to be found – and now it is building on the flaws the scene used to have, with more experimental beers and more range coming into play. The scenes seem to be developing in the same way that the craft beer movement evolved alongside and intermingled with the Real Ale scene in the UK, but here with craft and lagers – no bad thing. Hope it continues to develop well,

If any locals, or anyone with more experience than me disagree, wish to add or correct any points let me know – I’m always happy to learn. Until next time – Enjoy your drink!

Been a busy couple of days in Lower Saxony – seeing deer in Tiergarten in Hannover, wonderful architecture in Goslar. Buuut…

Yeah, I’m here to talk about the beer. First up – found an excellent craft beer store. Now, your mainstream beer is generally good in Germany – their lagers are well made, weisse beers are very easy to find, even some bocks and above pop up regularly. The supermarkets don’t seem to have the widest range – but you can get very high quality lager for virtually nothing. However, it is good to see that now on top of all that, there is a craft range available and Craft Beer Kontor in Hannover had a jaw dropping range. Huge amount of imports, and a very good showing of the local scene as well – right down to a good range of beers from Hannover and the surrounding area – even better it has two taps on site. The people running it were very helpful – my only regret is not having room to bring back more beer.

Also they gave me some useful information about the second big beer news recently. Gose! Got to go to Goslar and try gose beer in the city it was born in. The ones I tried were a lot less sour than I would have expected if I had not been warned by the owner of Kontor. Apparently, Goslar consider the Leipzig version to be based on what Goslar exported, and it was slightly soured by the time it got to then. They hold the original, as their version reflects, was a sweeter wheat based beer with the salt and spice providing the unusual elements rather than full on sourness. Will talk more when I do my notes when I get back on how well the beer worked.

Anyway, only a couple of days left – Will have normal notes up soon. Until then, enjoy your drink!

Lowering Into Saxony: A Germany Trip

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Currently in Germany on holiday. Bit of a blast from the past as I lived in Germany when I was very young but don’t have much in the way of memories from that time, so good to see around where I was.

But, of course you are here for the drink thoughts – found a lovely place to eat and drink in Hanover – Kleines Museum Restaurant. Not the biggest drink selection, but the local Herrenhäuser pils they have on tap is smooth and easy drinking, and their bottle selection have some hefty dopplebocks so I can’t complain. It’s a lovely looking place as well – I’ve shoved a photo up above – lots to look a and enjoy as you sup your drink.

Also managed to try Paulaner Salvator on tap – full notes to come, but it seems much fuller bodied spice than the bottled version I get in the UK. Hoping to hit Goslar over the next few days and try Gose in the town of its birth.

Apart from that been busy sightseeing in Hanover and Celle – enjoying a lot of good German meat and the fact they have apple strudel available at breakfast which makes me a very happy bunny.

I’ll keep you up to date, and until next time – enjoy your drink!

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