On April 26th, 2016 I came to Germany, specifically to Bayern. Here I live with a German family and I work as Au pair. I take care of two children (3 and 6 years old). I learn the language, the German culture, and I’m always trying to teach them some English and Spanish.
Au pair? And Where is the beer? What happened here?
Well, being Au pair was an idea that came up in a call with friends they live here in Germany. When I decided that I wanted to be a Brewmaster, I found many Masters Degree around the world and all of them were so expensive, more than 15.000 Euros. However there was a choice, it was the most difficult but the cheapest one: taking the test daf – german certificate- level C1 and get into the University of Munich, at the University of Berlin or in Doemens Academy. It’s not free but less expensive than 15.000 euros and you can afford it with a part-time job in parallel with the studies. The first time I heard the word Au Pair, I just had no idea what it was, my friends told me it was the best way to learn a language, immerse yourself in the culture and also save money to pay the master. At first, the idea seemed a little bit crazy but then I was enjoying it, so I checked into this website:
It is a completely free site. I created a profile and started to search for the right family
The day I arrived in, was amazing, the last snowfall of the year was my welcome, my German family is really great. I do my tasks as Au pair at the same time I learn a lot of German and improve my English and I write my blog about beer. Why? because I need to get a place in the University the next year. I need to have a perfect level of both languages. Therefore, I decided to create this blog, first of all, because it was one of my biggest dreams. In addition, to keep in touch with the brewing process, to get to know other ways of making beer in the world and to practice both languages – like everything that is worthy, it is not easy. It involves few hours of daily sleep (between 4 to 5 hours) but everything you want to achieve it you can do it. You only need to have a lot of discipline and the desire. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to visit many German breweries as I would like -although it seems illogical I have visited more in Italy than in Germany-, but in the coming months, some German’s Prost will come.
Germany is undoubtedly a wonderful Country, all green, organized and with a culture completely different than mine. I must confess, the first few months were quite difficult to adapt myself to all the changes, especially the language has been one of the biggest barriers I had to overcome. The first months I didn’t understand a word of it – it doesn’t mean that now I’m an expert but I can understand a little bit more everyday -. Every day here is a challenge I have been fortunate to find a host family that makes me feel welcome. Therefore, I will always be grateful to them.
I believe that the most difficult thing about this radical change has been the fact I used to work in a brewery with a lot of noise, daily beer stress, a lot of freedom, my time, a super active work, and a lot of friends; to a completely different way of life that involves: play with the kids, try to answering the questions they make -with my scarce German- and make an attempt to cook Venezuelan and German recipes sometimes – something which I’ve never done in my life besides I have no great skills, for sure, but the mother of the kids has taught me a lot. Germany is a Country that has a very interesting culture, with many things to discover. It is a quiet and friendly culture, a country where you don’t need to have a “B Plan” because the “A Plan” always works at best – this has been hard for me because I’m used to having many plans A, B, and C – it is not easy to explain here-. But at the end, for me, Germany is a Country with many rules but at the same time, you feel free here.
And everything absolutely everything is completely new for me.
Well now, to what we came for. The first week I arrived here, we made a Reinheitsgebot craft beer, my first beer in Germany and my first one with neither control rooms nor super-sophisticated equipment, an amazing experience that ultimately was not so good because of too much foam was formed.
But what does a 100% craft beer really mean? And what does
Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law. It is a law that was proclaimed on April 23rd, 1516 in the Provincial States Congress in Ingolstadt by William IV and Louis X they declared the only ingredients allowed to brew a beer must be: water, barley, and hops, the yeast was added later to the list – when Pasteur discovered it in 1880 as part of the fermentation process-. “Before knowing the mechanism of fermentation, brewers used to take the sediment from a previous fermentation and they added to a new one. If they could not get it, they would usually put a number of vowels and in the process, the yeast would appear on its own”.
The intent of this law was to provide the consumer with enough beer at a fair price and keep other cereals for breadmaking, therefore, it is also considered as the first consumer protection law. “It is also believed that the main motivation of this law was that William IV of Bavaria had the monopoly on barley; thus, unable to buy from anyone else a basic ingredient for the production not only increased sales but also the price as it had no other cereal competitors.”
With the time, and before the German reunification (the first one, not the Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall) the Reinheitsgebot was implemented as a good practice of quality by brewers in other regions of Germany, being this purity law part of the German law until 1986 when it was abolished and replaced by regulations of the European Union, as currently, most brewers use external sugars in the natural process to generate beer carbonation. However, there are many breweries which presume they produce beer with a 100% Reinheitsgebot. Currently, with the rise of craft beers, the beer market has evolved even here in Germany, one of the most reluctant Countries to produce beers out of the Reinheitsgebot, has opened its market to different flavors of beer and new technologies.
And now, What I mean with 100% craft beers?
There are two ways of brewing: industrial and craft. The differences are endless and here we will not discuss which one the best is – as this is a never ending topic, what I love the most about beer is the subjectivity and all the different tastes-. Meanwhile, one of the main differences is, the microbreweries do not use any enzymes, clarifiers and usually the equipment are less sophisticated than in the industrial breweries as well as many craft breweries still perform manual labor and some of them don‘t have control rooms with computers where the whole process is regulated. Furthermore, craft beer is produced in small quantities and industrial beer is produced in millions of liters. Craft beers have large variations in taste between a beer and another because it is very difficult to control the whole process. Meanwhile in industrial beers are all the same or at least is the ultimate aim as it is a standardized and controlled process.
AND HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
1. As a brewer, it is very important to know the equipment and the pipes around the plant.
2. Once the fermentation tank is full, is important to make the analysis of yeast concentration.
And to finish this PROST …
I want to say THANK YOU !!!
Creating this blog implies a great effort, both monetary and time. And here I have to say thanks to all the people who have opened the doors of their breweries, hop farm, and their houses whenever I travel. It has been a wonderful experience and I thank you every single day.