An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Pub Men of Erlangen

A fact unknown to most beer communicators is the “The Tandleman” is not in a fact just a beer blog or communicator or a blogger but a title given to the first beer communicator that first wrote about the Inns of England in Roman times when they first sprang up along the Roman roads of England. Back then of course beer communication was done on parchment, not the internet and contained lots of “ye olde ale was ner sparkled and ye gods did thee not drinketh it with anythee joy, but necketh it I did”

Over the generations the title has been handed down from Tandleman to Tandleman in a ceremony shrouded in mystery and esoteric mystic practice among a group known as “The League of Tandlemen” that both appoint & anoint the next beer communicator. Think not so much like a new Pope being invested but if any of you are familiar with the Frank Herbert book “Dune” it is an unacknowledged fact of literature that the practice of appointing a new Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother written in this book was based on rumours he had heard of the League of Tandlemen and the mind-altering effects of extreme bitter consumption.

Pongy old man bitter has an effect if you truly pickle yourself in it so it becomes the very liquid that you sweat. When consumed to that degree it is said that you can transfer memories from one Tandleman to another so the line of memory and consciousness in regard to dumpy pubs and pongy bitter goes back to those first pints of substandard ale in that Roman Tavern that was too warm and cost too many groats. It is said that current Tandleman holds the memory as a real lived experience of that first pint of unsatisfactory murky unsparkled ale drank in the very first pub that ever existed.

I have been trying to join this esteemed body for many a year but unfortunately if you don’t go in pubs enough or drink enough old man bitter they don’t let you in. They let you knock about with them occasionally when you run into them at beer festivals and they are not a bad bunch but never will you get the desired accolade "Pub Man".

To make my case for entry into the esteemed League I thus met up with one of its American members, Erlangen Nick, who when he isn’t bullying people in a sexist manner over the internet goes in a lot of pubs, drinks a lot of ale, mucks about on twitter and lives a few miles up along a train track from where I am, in a town called Erlangen.

Meeting people you know from the internet & twitter can always be a bit of an unknown. What if they lure you into a sex dungeon and lock you up for years in a basement with no lager? I had met Nick a couple of times before in Manchester & the Tand had assured me he wasn’t as far as he was aware a serial killer so it was off to Erlangen for the day and to discover how membership of the League can be maintained via necking lager.

Lovely lager

So off we start on an afternoon of the lout. A nice one too this one but from the off I am informed of official League practice.

League members always measure the temperature of the lout and record it. Why? It’s just what they do. To join the league, you must too.

If in any doubt you can be assured it becomes habit. A natural thing to do when heading out to Pub Man it

Lovely Golden Lager

But how can you truly seep yourself in old man bitter, if you neck mainly lager? Here was a truth revealed. Not all lager is golden & fizzy. Some of it is brown and what not, and so long as you neck enough of the brown stuff it has the same mental effect on you as if you necked brown old man bitter. Hence you can be considered a pub man. 

Brown lager which ensures you maintain your League membership.

It really is all about drinking enough brown liquid in pubs wherever you are in the world. That is the key to entry into this mysterious league that meet in secret, practice weird esoteric pub based ritual & ultimately once in a generation select the Tandleman.

 How do you know when you finally attain League membership? When in the comments you are told "You are a proper pub man"

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Ain't no mountain high enough, to keep me from lager.

Having settled in, got the lie of the land & know enough to not get lost it was time to do some of the outer reaches of the book. I could say bollocks to the book and stick around Domanikaner straße (where all the decent gaffs are) as I was very far from bored with most of those. I had personally named the street in my mind as piss alley. Not because it was covered in piss but because of the high density of piss artists getting pissed. That and the fact that I hadn’t quite made it to the final destination last time made me think of a second stab but starting later so as to pace myself.

But bollocks to that. It’s the afternoon. I’m in foreign parts. What time is it? It’s get out there and get yourself a pint time, that’s what time.

I’d plotted my route to the brewery museum & the kellers, gartens (gaffs) around it. In the Michaelsberg area of my map. Now I know enough German to know that berg means mountain. I had congratulated myself earlier in the market for knowing bergkäse was mountain cheese. Cheese of the mountain. Not to be confused with Glockendkäse. Not ever. Under any circumstances. If ever offered the latter by a moustachioed gentleman in a beer garden, politely decline for if you check your watch you would discover it is not in fact brotzeit and never will be. Bergkäse, on the hand. Knock yourself out.

My Berg error was only a minor error, for Michaelsberg was hardly a mountain. More a steep hill. The type of hill that would have my dear old elderly mother wanting a cup of tea and a nice sit down at the top of it. Not Ranulph Fiennes complaining that he needed another toe amputating. My bottle of coke zero was still ice cold by the time I’d got there and a few swigs and a “blimey, by ‘eck, I’d of run up that 20 year ago, look at me now” I was as right as rain.

I did the brewery museum first. 4 euros and as long as you like to look at a fine collection of old brewery tat collected over many years and lovingly presented for your delectation. If you like looking at this sort of crap then it’s worth the crack but even if you don’t it’s worth popping in it to see if you can find the new addition I added to one exhibit. A printed off picture of the TAND with the caption. Why not visit and see if you can find it. I doubt they’ll remove it. They don’t look like they dust the gaff that often.

The Tandleman
Der Vater des modernen Bierschreibens und der Bierkommunikation im elektronischen Zeitalter.
The father of modern beer writing and beer communication in the electronic age.

The gaffs around the museum were worth a look as was the surrounding area. As you might expect when you climb a hill, you get a view of the lower down bits and the pick of the places to sit would be the Michaelsberg Café & Restaurant. Nice sunshine, nice ice-cold lout. Building work was occurring in an around the area so there wasn’t much to be seen.

That's German for Man Beer. A fact that had me quite literally shaking with rage.

Howay. I’d done in a couple of hours what I thought would take the afternoon.
So, I headed down the hill to go for a beer at Klosterbrau, a brewery. I chose the beer garden and blimey. A rough Wetherspoons beer garden had nowt on it. Tables of lairy drunk German blokes shouting whilst older couples were getting up leaving. I decided to stay and watch it in case it all kicked off. Usually they don’t tolerate this sort of stuff but apparently here they do and sadly for my entertainment all I got were some weary sighs from the waitresses and the opportunity to hear German “bantz”

Then on to another Berg, Stephansberg, to check out a few bier gartens. The Spezial Keller for the first and without spoiling it the better one. I had something to eat to go with a Spezial Rauchbier and even got into a conversation with a nice German family. A young university student taking his mum & dad out who were visiting and checking up on him and making sure he was eating properly and only dating nice girls and not knocking around with slappers. Beyond where you from, England? Etc they inevitably asked me about Brexit. There’s a conversation that stretches your language skills beyond where they are & has you dropping back out into English. I think they liked my explanation that beyond whatever your opinion of the EU you might have, in England there isn’t the European identity you notice in Germany. People would never describe themselves as European. Those that advocated remaining made a technical case that whilst the EU was shite, we had opts out from the worst of it whilst those that advocated leaving made the case that it wasn’t worth the money. Meanwhile most of the country, of whatever side, accepted it wasn’t a trading club but a US of E, with the remainers thinking it was a better if that was lied about or not mentioned rather than the merits advocated. Try saying all that in German. On your fourth Rauchbier. There were no fallings out though I think I might have altered their opinion that Brexit was not going to happen, an opinion common in the German media. Surprising to me what their opinion that they were quite sad about it & seemed to think of it as a family member leaving not just a cheque book. You live and learn when you talk to people & I appreciated hearing a different view to what you get in England.

The Wilde Rose Keller next and now it was dark. I’d stopped in the last gaff, talking Brexit. Here was self-service with a 3-euro deposit on the krugs. They must have known I was in town. I sunk one but couldn’t really taste it after all the Rauchbier but I’d least I’d got the tick whilst up the hill. That’s the main thing. Getting the tick.

Not a bad day’s work, tick wise. I had come to realise a truth. Ticking from a book gives order, structure & purpose to your piss artistry. Without it, it lacks structure and is just a random jaunt. Leave you with that thought to ponder.