Two Stops for Real Cask Ale in London

I had one goal on my extremely short trip to London: drink as much good cask ale as I could find. It turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected! I had everything from the clearly very old to the straight up vinegar (looking at you The Royal Oak.).

Two pubs were my favorites by a massive order of magnitude: The Princess Louise and The Harp.


I have to thank Bill Simpson (and also maybe fate??) for recommending The Princess Louise just a week before I left for my 50ish hours in London. Marked only by the standard hanging bar sign the facade doesn’t lead to much expectation.

Inside, there are a bunch of booths separated by ornate wooden and glass walls surrounding a giant oval bar in the center. Most of the structure of the bar is original from 1891 it’s so well preserved that it is protected as a historical site all the way down to the marble urinals in the Men’s room. (I didn’t get to see these but I hear they’re pretty neat!) The booths give you a feeling of a loud and lively bar environment without being crowded. It made us want to sit there for hours in our little private booth and watch all the Londoners trickle in for an after-work beer. But alas, Princess Louise is owned by Sam Smith’s and I needed to get my hands on other varieties of cask ale. 

The other pub that really made an impression in both quality and character was the Harp. Upon walking in it’s hard to miss the walls plastered with labels from Fuller’s beers (and that’s mostly what they are serving on tap) but the real atmosphere is waiting out back and up above the bar.

A crowd of pub-goers gathers in the alley behind and beside the building and even up the street aways. I guess in London they don’t have a problem with glassware growing legs and walking off the premises like we do in the U.S. because no staff was visibly keeping watch. The people outside aren’t too boisterous, they (mostly men) are just getting a pint or two after work peppered with the occasional passionate conversation about sports (yes, of course I mean football).

I want this art from the 2nd level of The Harp in my apartment!

I want this art from the 2nd level of The Harp in my apartment!

The scene in the back alley of the Harp is crowded with drinkers (but doesn’t feel like a frat party!)

The scene in the back alley of the Harp is crowded with drinkers (but doesn’t feel like a frat party!)

A winding staircase behind the bar takes you up to the second floor that is bursting with old world time. Tiny tables fit with even smaller stools (I truly felt like I was crouching) fill every inch of a wooden room that seems unchanged for at least 50 years. The walls are adorned with Victorian era paintings (many of them depicting beer or drinking). It felt like an authentic British experience that was once more prevalent in London. (I get into the craft scene here!).

All this before I even say a word about the beer! My goal was thoroughly accomplished at The Harp with more than half a dozen hand-pulled casks plus a selection of beers on tap that wasn’t exclusively Fullers. It was also one of the few bars serving a mild on cask (a dark British session ale that has waned in popularity in the last couple decades.) Between the fresh air in the back alley, the loud bar area, and the quaint if crowded upper level it would be easy to lose a whole day at The Harp.

The Best Little 15 Minute Walk in London

The best little 15 minute walk for a beer lover in London is the trek from the Princess Louise, through Covenant Garden, with a stop at the National Gallery, and down to the Harp.


The Princess Louise and The Harp were my *top picks* for traditional bars in London. But, Covenant Garden is packed with quintessential English pubs including some that serve food. I stopped in both the White Lion, a great location for people watching, and The Lamb & Flag, at one time a favorite of Charles Dickens, for its old fashioned construction and real ale.

With so many pints along the way this short journey needs a non-boozy stop that is easily fulfilled by the free to the public National Gallery. The collection is astounding and can be enjoyed by both the art-inclined and tourists. In my opinion, one of the highlights is the only equestrian portrait Rembrandt ever painted located on the second floor. I have heard that the tea room at the National Gallery is an unforgettable experience, but I didn’t make the time on this trip…too many beers!

At the White Lion in Covenant Garden located right across from the Nags Head pub.

At the White Lion in Covenant Garden located right across from the Nags Head pub.

Why Visit The Bermondsey Beer Mile When in London?

When I first asked around about what I should do in London so many people suggested The Bermondsey Beer Mile. A “mile” built around beer? Seemed like a natural fit.

Even though I was only in London for three short days, I knew I wanted to make time on Saturday to hit up the beer mile especially Brew By Numbers and Cloudwater breweries which I’ve heard so much about.


After visiting the touristy Bourough Market (where they not only offer you pink prosecco while you shop, but encourage it.) we made the scenic walk down Bermondsey road, past many colorful shops and cafes. (It’s about a 20 minute walk, perfect for a pretty day if you’re planning a trip to London!)

We ended up at the Maltby Street Market, which though it was prosecco-less I much preferred to the overcrowded Bourough Market. There is an eclectic mix of street fare from cities all over the world. I was devastated that the “African Volcano” was closed but was satisfied with my falafel plate and a Taiwanese dessert called dhan. There were also two very small bars pouring craft beer, I had a Belgian blond that wasn’t too bad, but maybe a bit reminiscent of starting out as a homebrewer.


All this pre-beer-mile-arrival explanation because the beer mile was…..fine. I may be jaded by living too close to the packed taprooms of Brooklyn or so fascinated by the traditional beer culture of London that the craft simply pales in comparison, but I was left questioning my decision to make my way out to Bermondsey while in London.

The feel of the beer mile is very industrial, freight containers line the walk and the breweries are situated under large archways in a rail line.

Sure, there are a dozen breweries lined up so in some sort of Goldilocks principle situation, there must be at least one that I liked. But fusel alcohol laden saison gave way to metallic pale ales and left me uninterested in the journey required to unearth a gem.

Brew By Numbers was my favorite of the breweries, a spot where I found a decent pale ale and a corner to stand in with a ledge to rest my beer (aka the bare minimum for me to survive in a bar.) I gave up and caught a train over to Mayfair for a break from beer with a martini at the Connaught Hotel.

I mean tell me this doesn’t look like Brooklyn?!

I mean tell me this doesn’t look like Brooklyn?!

An industrial feeling tap room at Brew By Numbers

An industrial feeling tap room at Brew By Numbers

I hate being negative so I will caveat to say I had about 50 hours in London so every moment felt precious, if I had more time I may have just generally shrugged off the detour to brewery road. Plus, if I hadn’t ventured out I wouldn’t have discovered the Maltby Market, one of my best memories from this visit.

All in all, if you’re looking for London style “craft” beer and the direction English beer culture may be headed in make a visit to this strip mall of breweries but if you’re looking for something that feels London-y spend your time elsewhere.

What to do When You Visit Weihenstephan 

An easy train ride out of Munich, Freising (pronounced fry-sign) is a perfect day trip for beer lovers that want to get a little history in during their stay in Germany. Weihenstephan is the oldest continuously producing brewery in the world (a fact not easily forgotten as it is plastered all over the brewery campus) and is best known for its impeccably brewed wheat beers. Here’s what I suggest doing when visiting this picturesque town and historical brewery.

The main street in Freising had a little construction going on

The main street in Freising had a little construction going on

The town square in Freising (Yes it’s on a hill!)

The town square in Freising (Yes it’s on a hill!)

Explore the Town of Freising

Freising is a quaint German town that almost seems torn from a movie set (or maybe Disney World’s Epcot?). If you’re planning to tour the brewery, try to get an early train and give yourself a few hours to explore the old town area. The town square with three (beer serving!) cafes and the old church is a great place to relax, people watch, and take in the unique architecture and statues.  

Go to an Eiscafe 

I was shocked at how important ice cream is to the German diet. At any time of day, early morning, lunch time, very late at night, people are sitting outside eating massive ice cream sundaes. My friend who lives in Berlin laughed when I texted her on our second day in Germany “Ok, everyone is always eating ice cream? Or am I crazy?” She confirmed, yes in Germany, there’s no wrong time to eat an ice cream. Freising’s main road is lined with Eiscafes that are a little less commercial and more charming than the ones you’ll find in Munich, a perfect opportunity to try the mid-day ice cream trend...maybe the Germans are onto something with this?? 

Such a cute spot for some beers and snacks!

Such a cute spot for some beers and snacks!

Pure joy drinking the Weihenstephan Pils!

Pure joy drinking the Weihenstephan Pils!

Go To Das Bräustüberl Weihenstephan (The Brewery’s Restaurant)

It takes about 25 minutes to walk from the center of the town up to the brewery. If you’d rather skip the exercise, it’s easy to find a cab near the train station. It’s a bit of a steep walk, you’re mounting the hill that the brewery sits on, but the elevation also provides a unique view of the city and scenic gardens as you make your way toward Weihenstephan. If you have time before your tour definitely stop in at the restaurant for a few beers. There is counter service through a window out back in the garden or you can opt for a full blown table service lunch of traditional German fare and beer. Beers are affordable at around €4 a liter and the whole line of Weihenstephan beers are available. It was my first time having their pilsner and I gotta say...come for the wheat beer, stay for the pils! 

Just one of three bottles on the tasting! (You can see the empty basket of pretzels too!

Just one of three bottles on the tasting! (You can see the empty basket of pretzels too!

Couldn’t help but pose with the boil kettle…I am a tourist after all!

Couldn’t help but pose with the boil kettle…I am a tourist after all!

Take a Brewery Tour 

The tour may seem like the main event, and it may be that I’m a bit tour-ed out, but I would say the tour is rather generic. It is cool to see the old equipment and the “room where it’s made” but I didn’t learn anything new or specific to Weihenstephan. The tours happen Monday-Wednesday and are available in English so you can ask as many questions as you want...and take photos of course. Be sure to make a reservation, these tours fill up! It was a really hot day so being in the brew room was almost unbearable, on a cooler day I’m sure we would have spent more time there. In my opinion, you should opt for the tour with the tasting. The tasting at the end is where I learned the most about German drinking culture and got to see the “proper” pour of a wheat beer...yeast and all! Plus at just €9 for the tour, three bottles of beer, and a souvenir tasting glass it’s a great deal. 

One of the views from the Weihenstaphan brewery tour

One of the views from the Weihenstaphan brewery tour

Enjoy the Views 

Like I said, Weihenstephan (and the college campus it is a part of) is on top of a hill that overlooks Freising. There is a great little view from behind the restaurant, but don’t forget to take a few moments to walk around to the other outlooks. Behind the beer museum is an outlook that allows you to see for miles with all of the small towns and their cathedrals speckling the landscape. I might over romanticize it because I’m used to looking at NYC every day, but it’s literally less than a minute out of your way to give it a look.  

Hit the Gift Shop 

Speaking of walking around the campus, there is a small gift shop in the main restaurant, but there is a much larger gift shop (packed with beer!!) on the brewery campus. If you’re looking to bring home gifts for anyone or a few memories for yourself, it is definitely worth the stop. Pretty much every piece of merchandise is plastered with the “World’s Oldest Brewery” slogan which is pretty iconic if nothing else. Also a great place to grab a few really well made beers you can’t get in the states. 

Photo Jul 02, 6 56 20 AM.jpg

Getting There 

From Munich take the S1 train all the way to the end of the line. It’s about 40 minutes from the Marienplatz stop (in the center of the city’s old town). The trains are comfortable and air conditioned so it’s a relaxing trip.  

A Beer-y Bamberg Travel Guide

We were only in Bamberg for two days (one night) and I can’t imagine needing to spend much longer in this small, brewery packed, town. It’s a beautiful city and one of the few left untouched by wars in Germany (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site). Beyond the typical sights of the ornate church, quirky town hall, and old town square there are plenty of beer-y things to do. These were my favorite stops we made in Bamberg.



This was a fitting first stop in Bamberg because it is also the oldest brewery in the city. It gave an immediate sense of how much Bamberg values tradition and drinking culture. On a sunny Saturday on the back patio under massive branded umbrellas there were several tables of locals enjoying a snack and a pint, a long table filled with older men clanking ceramic beer steins all wearing the same shirt (adorable), and one other table of tourists. 

Opt for the braunbier and the kellerbier if they’re available (at €3 a pop you can afford to try the whole menu!) and enjoy the views over the water. I didn’t try the food here but it appears to be very typical German fare. There are also tours that need to be booked in advanced.

Steins of kellerbier

Steins of kellerbier

The back patio of Klosterbräu from across the water

The back patio of Klosterbräu from across the water


Of course, you can’t talk about Bamberg without talking about I won’t! First thing to note, there is a restaurant around the corner, Kachelofen from Schlenkerla that does a very good job masquerading as the real deal. While it’s not a bad spot (we enjoyed a rauchbier and a few kellerbiers on the patio) it’s something to note. 

Schlenkerla is gigantic and almost cavernous (at least to this NYC resident). Each room has its own charm (a full description of the rooms is available on the brewery website) and the beer garden looked like the quintessential place to enjoy a rauchbier. It was closed when we visited. The good news is with all that space in a small city it’s unlikely that you’ll feel crowded at Schlenkerla so it’s a great place to post up for a smokey beer and some German food (a match made in pork heaven!). 

We were lucky enough to visit when the “Krausenbier” was in season and I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, I did recommend it to an entire tour group that was a little unsure about the whole smoked beer thing. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the style without being overwhelmed, or to ease into the real deal.



Next door to Schlenkerla is a tiny brewery making their own weissbier and fresh white weisswurst. The atmosphere is a little more sunny and airy than Schlenkerla which made for a nice lunchtime setting. You can sit right next to their brew house and snack on pretzels sausage and some housemate beer! Worth a stop to take a break from rauchbier. 

Dunklesweiss beer at lunch

Dunklesweiss beer at lunch

My first pretzel in Germany!

My first pretzel in Germany!


One thing I didn’t get to do while in Bamberg that I really wanted to was tour the malting facilities at Weyermann. They have a public tour every Wednesday at 2pm but I just couldn’t get the days of our trip to line up. If you have a group of 8+ you can book a private tour any weekday. In the few emails I had back and forth with staff they were extremely helpful! I think with enough advanced planning you could book a smaller tour or tag along on an existing tour. Definitely something to look into if you want to geek out on how German beer is really made!

The Views of Bamberg

Castle Altenberg/Restaurant Altenberg 

We were in Bamberg during an uncharacteristic heatwave for Germany (my friend in Berlin said stores completely sold out of fans) so we skipped the 30 minute walk from old town through the city and up the hill that Castle Altenberg sits on. If it were even a bit cooler I would have taken the hike because it takes you past all the major Bamberg landmarks and up a very scenic hill. You can drive almost to the castle and just the five-ish minute trek from our car was more than enough 92 degree sunshine for us. When we looked over the ledge of the castle we realized the sweat was worth it.

You can see the whole city of Bamberg tucked in the valley and there’s a clear shot all the way to the horizon. The restaurant has a to-go window outside for both beer and food. It would be a great spot to eat inside and enjoy the view but the air conditioning left something to be desired so we enjoyed steins of the local helles in the shade instead.

One view from the top of the hill

One view from the top of the hill

A helles with a side of castle.

A helles with a side of castle.

The Rose Garden 

If you’re crunched for time (or just don’t feel like adding a hike to your vaycay) the rose garden next to the Dom (look up Rosengarten) also offers stunning views of the city, a little more up close and personal. Adding hundreds of beautifully maintained roses to the view and its totally worth the stop. If you go when the cafe is open you can also enjoy a beer or lunch in the garden.

The Bamberg rose garden is tucked just out of sight, look for it on your map!

The Bamberg rose garden is tucked just out of sight, look for it on your map!

The view from the “rosengarten”

The view from the “rosengarten”

Where to Stay 

Try to stay as close to old town as you can. It’s the most picturesque and the hotel prices are similar to the rest of the city. We stayed at the Hotel Villa Geyerswörth and loved it. I will say in the middle of a heatwave Europe’s lack of strong air conditioning and ice were apparent. The breakfast spread at our hotel was insane, meats, cheeses, bread with all the spreads for days! 

We also had breakfast at Eckerts part of the Hotel Nepomuk and I would suggest looking into that hotel as well it’s situated right on the canal and the restaurant was large and had great food, plus next door to Klausterbrau is hard to beat! 

There is a brewery, Fässla, that offers lodging and I would have stayed there in a heartbeat if they weren’t booked. It reminded me of the set up at St. Bernardus which was one of my favorite beer-trip hotels ever! We did get to try some of their beer while out and about in Bamberg, would be so fun to stay there!

One Bowl Stout Skillet Brownie Recipe

I love baking with stout (as seen by my stout cake donut recipe) it gives chocolate a deeper more luxurious flavor and tastes beer-y without being toooo beer-y (here’s looking at you beer cheese dip that still hold carbonation.). Two things make this recipe truly great you only need one bowl and a cast-iron skillet to prepare it, meaning less cleaning, more eating and it only requires 10 easy-to-find ingredients.

Stout Skillet Brownies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

  • 1 cup stout beer (sweet stout or milk stout are best)

  • 8 oz (two 4oz bars) semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter or cooking spray



  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl.

  • Over medium heat in the cast-iron skillet warm butter and stout until butter is completely melted. Bring mixture to a simmer, set a timer for 10 minutes, and cook while stirring occasionally. (This reduces the amount of liquid from the stout and eliminates any carbonation from the beer.)

  • Pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate. Allow to rest for about a minute. Then whisk until thoroughly combined.

  • Add sugars and whisk until the mixture has a uniform texture.

  • Add egg and whisk vigorously. Repeat with each egg yolk, adding one at a time.

  • Sift cocoa powder and flour directly into the bowl and sprinkle with salt. Stir with the whisk just until the mixture becomes uniform. Do not over mix (you’ll get tough brownies, yuck!).

  • Use cooking spray or 1 tablespoon butter to coat skillet (it will still be warm) and pour in batter.

  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Rotate the skillet after 15 minutes. When the brownies are done the edges will appear thoroughly baked but the center will look just set and still steamy.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes (the skillet will be VERY hot) on a wire rack.

  • Slice and serve carefully, minding the hot skillet. Top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, shaved chocolate, or your favorite toppings.


Secrets to Stout Brownie Success

  • Use a milk stout, sweet stout, or a flavored stout. I often use Trader Joe’s Boatswain Chocolate Stout because it has cocoa powder in it and it is CHEAP (no worries about wasting beer in brownies there.) I also enjoy Left Hand milk stout in this recipe and Founder’s Breakfast Stout. Stouts that lean too roasty can give a bit of metallic flavor to this recipe so save those for drinking.

  • Do not over mix once four has been added. Have you ever had a gummy brownie? The culprit is gluten development. As soon as that flour hits the wet batter gluten begins to form and mixing encourages more, faster gluten development. Mix just until you have a uniform batter and you’ll avoid gummy and get fudgey.

  • This is a rustic dessert, it doesn’t come out of the cast-iron perfectly. If you’re looking for a show-stopping dessert table centerpiece, keep looking. If you’re looking for a fire side dessert with the fam…hello stout brownies.

Stout Brownie Beer Pairing

  • The obvious pairing, the stout you used in the brownies! When you eat the brownie with the same stout baked into it the stout flavors become more apparent and dark beers always feel like an end-of meal beverage.

  • Kriek works surprisingly well with this dessert. The hit of fruit and vibrant carbonation breaks up the heavy mouthfeel of the decadent brownie and provides a counterpoint to the bitter sweet flavors. This pairing brightens up the dessert course and leaves you feeling lighter than other beer pairings.

  • Belgian Dark Strong like Chimay Grand Reserve works well with this chocolate flavors of the brownie while adding some dark fruit flavors to the mix. When I drank this beer with the brownies I got a lot of dark brown sugar flavor I hadn’t noticed before. I also think this beer is an excellent meal ender, almost like a port.

How Many Beers Are In A Keg? And Other Conversions

This is something I had to memorize for the Advanced Cicerone exam so I figured, may as well make my own chart!

How Many Beers are in a Keg? A Barrel? A Batch?

I always hear brewers talking in “batch sizes,” bartenders talking in “pints,” and um…frat boys talking in cases. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize how all of these common beer phrases relate to each other.

I created this niffy little chart to make it easier (and also because I have to memorize it for the advanced Cicerone exam…)

Unit Bottle 6-Pack Case Keg Barrel 10 Barrel Batch 30 Barrel Batch 250 Barrel Batch
Bottle 1 6 24 165 330 3300 9900 82500
6-Pack 1/6 1 4 27.5 55 550 1650 13750
Case 1/24 1/4 1 6.875 13.75 137.5 412.5 3437.5
Keg 1/165 1/27.5 1/6.875 1 2 20 60 500
Barrel 1/330 1/55 1/13.75 1/2 1 10 30 250
10 Barrel Batch 1/3300 1/550 1/137.5 1/20 1/10 1 3 25
30 Barrel Batch 1/9900 1/1650 1/412.5 1/60 1/30 1/3 1 8.33
250 Barrel Batch 1/82500 1/13750 1/3437.5 1/500 1/250 1/25 1/8.33 1

I picked the 10, 30, and 250-barrel batch sizes because I thought it was a nice way to look at production across the different types of breweries. The largest craft breweries like Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada have 250 barrel brew houses.

So, anyone memorizing this bad boy with me??

How Do Brewers Make Clear Beer?

These are notes from the field while studying for the Advanced Cicerone Exam

What Is Added to Beer to Make It Clear?

Yes, I know, who cares about clear beer these days? It’s all about that #haze #juicebomb, right Instagram?

Well, if you’re brewing a classic style or entering competitions (or studying for Cicerone!) you’ll definitely want to know how to make your beer clear. There are two categories of substances used to make beer clear, also called “finings.”

The first category is “hot side.” These finings are added during the brewing process when the wort is “hot.” The clarifiers in this category are Irish Moss and Whirlfloc tablets. Both are made from seaweed but Whirlfloc tablets have more carrageenan in them than Irish Moss. Carrageenan is the active ingredient causing protein to clump and fall to the bottom of the beer so Whirlfloc requires a smaller dose to be effective.  

Naturally the other category is “cold side.” Cold side finings include Isinglass, Gelatin, and Polyclar. My favorite in this category is isinglass, just because it’s made of fish bladders and I like imagining all the tiny fish bladders dissolving in a beer.

As a homebrewer I typically use gelatin for clearing beers. For all of these cold side clarifiers, the fining agent is mixed with water (or in the case of isinglass an acid) and added to the fermenter a few days before bottling. When the beer is racked or bottled after being cleared with gelatin you get a nice layer of protein jelly, is cool but also kinda gross to clean!

What do you think about clear beers? Do you prefer them or are you all about the haze? Let me know at @beerswithmandy.

Which Hops Produce Bitter Cones?

These are field notes jotted down while studying for the Advanced Cicerone Exam.

Only Female Hops Make Beer Bitter

Did you know it’s lady hops giving your IPAs bitterness??

When you see hops hanging from a bine those are almost always the “female” cone. In fact, it’s a best practice in hop growing to eliminate a male hop plant immediately if you see one. The characteristics of male plants are much harder to control and will cause a specific type of hop (for example Columbus or Chinook) to taste slightly off or have a different alpha acid content. Male hops grow “flowers” that are used for breeding so if a male plant pops up in a hop farm, the hop cones will have seeds (which is not ideal for harvesting).

So next time you take a sip of bitter beer, thank the lady hops that made it for you!

Figure 1. a. Male inflorescence, b. stamen (male flower), c. anther, d. female inflorescences (burr stage), e. pistillate (female flower with stigmas projecting above bract that surrounds ovary), f. hop bine, leaves, and cones, g. hop bract, h. hop seed (achene). Source: Wikimedia

Figure 1. a. Male inflorescence, b. stamen (male flower), c. anther, d. female inflorescences (burr stage), e. pistillate (female flower with stigmas projecting above bract that surrounds ovary), f. hop bine, leaves, and cones, g. hop bract, h. hop seed (achene). Source: Wikimedia

What is a Stange Glass? (And Why Do I Care??)

These are some field notes from Advanced Cicerone study sessions.

What is a Stange Glass?

The answer to this question is pretty easy, a stange glass is the traditional serving-ware of a kölsch.

But let’s get more difficult ~why is a stange glass?~

That my beery friends is far less clear.

This tall, thin, perfectly cylindrical glass can be traced back to Cologne, where they are served out of a kranz tray like the one below. A traditional stange only holds about 6oz of beer so a group could drink several stange-fuls out of a kranz.


The light carbonation of the kölsch style benefits from the smaller serving size. It is unlikely that the beer will be completely warm and flat by the time you finish 6oz. In a busy bar, it is also unlikely that your server will want to refill your 6oz glass every few minutes. Today, stange glasses are made in 12-13oz sizes so your bartender doesn’t need to constantly top you off.

Similar other tall, thin glasses, like a weizen vase or a pilsner glass, a stange is helpful for head retention and shows of the brilliant clarity of the kölsch.

Is there other glassware that you are curious about?! Let me know @beerswithmandy so I can tell you a little more over the next 95 days!

Zwanze Day: What is it anyway?

This Saturday is a special holiday for beer lovers around the world. If you're not into sour beer (yet!) you may have never heard of Zwanze Day. Trust me, it's worth all the hype you are seeing in your twitter or instagram feed. Plus, there is still time to make plans to go to an event that doesn't require tickets! So here's everything you need to know about  Zwanze. 

A Zwanze Day Explainer 

The world-famous lambic brewery, Cantillon, created the celebrated and cherished series of beers called Zwanze in 2008. The series was (and still is) a creation of brewer John Van Roy that allowed him to release an experimental, limited quantity beer.  

A barrel at Cantillon from my visit to Belgium in 2017.

A barrel at Cantillon from my visit to Belgium in 2017.

From 2008 to 2010 Zwanze beers were released under cover to various undisclosed locations and very, very lucky drinkers. In 2011, the world-wide release party known as Zwanze Day was born. 

The toast and party holiday was created for many reasons, the first was to help dedicated lovers of spontaneous-fermented beer find these special brews and the second was to combat resellers. Van Roy said he was informed of Zwanze being sold on eBay for 600% mark ups. 

The 2011 world-wide Zwanze release party had 22 locations. In 2017 Zwanze Day locations have tripled to include 66 worldwide. 

The last special thing about Zwanze Day is that event goers are bonded together in a world-wide simultaneous toast! Bartenders and owners tap their kegs of the special Zwanze blend at the exact same time no matter the time zone. So when you're feeling excited as the beer is passed around - know that their are beer lovers all over the world that feel the exact same way. 


Zwanze Day 2017

The 2017 Zwanze will be a lambic, tea blend inspired by John Van Roy's son's love of iced tea. The label art is inspired by another of his son's loves - Game of Thrones. And c'mon how cool is this label?! 

My favorite part of the 2017 Zwanze announcement post was Jon Van Roy's care to explain what Game of Thrones would be like in Cantillon's world, "But in our version, no one dies and everyone has a good beer!"

via Brasserie Cantillon's  Facebook page .

via Brasserie Cantillon's Facebook page.

As awesome as this label art is my favorite Cantillon Zwanze Day 2017 graphic comes from a brewery just outside of Austin, Texas, Jester King. They make a shirt for their event each year and 2017 is so funny to me. Below is their Instagram post with the shirt art. 

This year, NYC is lucky to snag two coveted spots on the Zwanze lineup both Fool's Gold and Spuyten Duyvil will host events. (Full list of locations below.) I'll be at Fool's Gold bright and early so let me know if you'll be there too! 

List of 2017 Zwanze Day Locations 

Note: Some of these events require tickets so check with the venue before making plans.

- NOLA -- Adelaïde
- Bitter Phew -- Sydney

- Tribaun -- Innsbruck

- Moeder Lambic Fontainas -- Brussels
- Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles -- Brussels
- Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon – Arlon
- Rose Red -- Brugge

- Dieu du Ciel -- Montréal, Québec
- Birreria Volo -- Toronto, Ontario
- Bells and Whistles – Vacouver, British Columbia

- Himmeriget -- Copenhagen

- La Fine Mousse -- Paris
- La Capsule -- Lille
- Brasserie du Mont-Salève – Neydens
- Au Poêle de la Bête -- Toulouse

- Stadin Panimo Baari – Helsinki

- Café Herman – Berlin
- Mon Petit Café -- Stuttgard

- Kernel Brewery – Bermondsey
- Beermerchants@Unit 101 -- Manchester
- Six° North – Aberdeen
- Moor Beer -- Bristol

- Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà -- Rome
- The Dome -- Nembro
- LambicZoon -- Milano
- The Drunken Duck -- Quinto Vicentino
- Ristopub Margherita -- Quartu Sant’Elena
- Ottavonano -- Atripalda
- TryBeer Room – Castiglione d’Adda

- Dolphins Ueda – Osaka
- Lembeek – Nagoya
- Favori -- Tokyo

- De Bierkoning -- Amsterdam

- Garage Project – Wellington
- Camera Storyline -- Oslo

- Masia Agullons -- Sant Joan de Mediona

- Ölrepubliken -- Göteborg

- Bière Café Au Trappiste -- Bern

– Anchorage Brewing Company — Anchorage, Alaska
– Armsby Abbey — Worcester, Massachusetts
– Avenue Pub — New Orleans, Louisiana
– Bagby Beer — Oceanside, California
– Beachwood BBQ — Seal Beach, California
– Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar — Denver, Colorado
– De Garde Brewing — Tillamook, Oregon
– Fools Gold NY — Manhattan, New York
– Green Bench Brewing — St. Petersburg, Florida
– Holy Grale — Louisville, Kentucky
– Jester King Brewery — Austin, Texas
– Jolly Pumpkin Brewery — Dexter, Michigan
– Laser Wolf — Fort Lauderdale, Florida
– Mikkeller Bar SF — San Fransisco, California
– Monk’s Cafe — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
– Novare Res Bier Café — Portland, Maine
– The Porter Beer Bar — Atlanta, Georgia
– REAL a gastropub — Honolulu, Hawaii
– Russian River Brewing — Santa Rosa, California
– Schera’s Restaurant and Bar — Elkader, Iowa
– Seymour, the pub — Greenfield, Massachusetts
– Side Project Brewing Cellar — Maplewood, Missouri
– Slow Boat Tavern — Seattle, Washington
– The Sovereign — Washington D.C.
– Spuyten Duyvil — Brooklyn, New York
– Thin Man Brewery — Buffalo, New-York
– Trillium Brewing Company — Canton, Massachusetts
– West Lakeview Liquors — Chicago, Illinois

Find a location, don't let the long lines get to you, and raise your glass with beer appreciators the world round. 


Why is a Little DMS Okay in Pilsners?

These are field notes from my Advanced Cicerone studies. (Yes, I passed!)

Why is DMS Acceptable in a Pilsner?

The mild corn-like aroma on a pilsner has nothing to do with corn in the beer (although some may contain corn to lighten the body and mouthfeel). Dimethyl sulfide, referred to as DMS can be formed on the hot side of the brewing process or as a result of an infection in fermented beer. DMS from an infection is never acceptable, not even in pilsner. Today, I’m focusing on the DMS that can be formed even when beer is brewed properly.

DMS is formed from a “precursor” compound SMM (S-methylmethionine). SMM is found in malt but it is burned-off almost completely during the kilning process. Since very light malt like pilsner is kilned for such a short amount of time, some SMM may remain in the malt after it’s kilned.

Since pilsners are made of - you guessed it - almost 100% pilsner malt they are very susceptible to DMS, even after careful brewing. The best way to eliminate DMS is to boil the wort for a long time and cool the wort extremely quickly after the boil. Since some traditional methods and technologies do not allow for this accelerated cooling, DMS is considered acceptable in pilsners especially the traditional German styles.

So if you’re hanging at the German bar for Oktoberfest this month and you catch a whiff of creamed-corn (the tell-tale sign of DMS formed in brewing) don’t cry “bad beer” right away! Take a few sips, let the beer warm and see if you can enjoy a corny tinge to a classic style.