Erl Hell |Geiselhoring Germany
It was a miserable evening. It had not rained all day. We spent the day cleaning the house and finishing the last of the Christmas decorating. Mrs. Dan asked what “what are you making for dinner.” I then asked Mr. Ben what he was making for dinner as I was in the mood to delegate responsibility. He said chicken and noodles but served separately. Not really willing to delegate all of the responsibility as there might be grilling involved I got out some chicken thighs and fired up the grill. He manned the pot of boiling water and started reading the box instructions like it was a 10th grade science experiment. I used some Gunpowder Finishing Salt (a delicious seasoning I bought at Farmview Market in Madison) on the chicken and headed to the grill.
It is a law of sorts that if you are outside grilling there must be beer available and preferably in your hand. That is until there is the crash of thunder and rain coming down so hard that we couldn’t keep the garage door open because the gutter was overflowing and right next to the grill. I had a choice, hold an umbrella or hold a beer. The umbrella won. I had one of those headband flashlights on so I could see when to flip the chicken. I kept counting the seconds between the lightning flashes and the thunder to see how far away I was from the worst part of the storm. I was convinced the chicken was cooked and headed inside. After taking off my wet shoes we sat down to eat. Mrs. Dan cut open the largest piece of chicken to find some pink. Two minutes in the microwave and we were finally read to eat.
I am a wannabe/neverbe cook. I relish succeeding in the kitchen and love it when a meal comes together and everyone is happy (which is seldom). But when something goes wrong I pout and get surly and mutter to myself that I’m “Bad Luck Dan” and can’t have more than 2 things come out at the same time and be warm enough to enjoy. I hate all of those Marly Spoon and related prepped meals. If it says “prep time 20 minutes, cook time 20 minutes” or “prep time 15 minutes, cook time 10 minutes” then in my world it means “1 hour 30 minutes.” Doesn’t matter when I start, how carefully I follow the instructions it takes me 90 minutes and two-thirds of the meal will be cold plus I get blamed for not setting the table.
Last night I was surly. At least Mr. Ben’s noodles were good. Bringing any undercooked meat off a grill is a slap in the face. I risk losing my man card. Even when tasked with grilling in the dark, with water pouring down from the heavens and dodging lightning bolts a man must deliver a perfectly cooked piece of meat.
It was the beer. If only I had put the umbrella down and held the beer in my free hand and let the heavens soak me to the bone. It would have provided balance to the Space Time Grilling Continuum (I think it was Einstein who came up with that while enjoying a German beer).
So what the heck does this have to do with my Advent Calendar Brew of the evening? I poured it in my glass and drank it. No notes, did take a photo, but beyond that I tempered my pouting with a Hell. Yes another Hell and another from the Man Bag. It tasted good, I know that. How was it different from the other Hells that has been consumed over the last 18 days? I have no clue and at the moment didn’t care. I know Germans love their clear beer but this Advent Calendar boasts about being Craft Beer. That term could mean anything when comparing American craft brewers and German craft brewers. Like the term “reserve” in the wine industry. It means whatever the vintner wants it to mean because it helps market their wine. I digress.
I searched for their website and found out the Erl family brewing lineage dates back to 1583. They got history.
“Our original SchmankERL in a handy 0.33l bottle ERL [I obviously have their canned version made specifically for Kalea]. A Bavarian light, tasty and harmonious! The quick light for in between. The rider’s drawing and the lettering were taken from the oldest Erl-Bräu sign above the regulars’ table of the brewery inn. Artisan brewed with 100% Hallertau natural hops and fresh in taste, as it is neither briefly heated nor pasteurized. 5.0% vol. Alcohol content.” I assume “rider’s drawing” is alluding to the horse and rider on their logo which is not on the can, just the old German lettering of “Erl.”
There is where I think craft brew has different meaning in German and the US. With so many breweries with 500 years of experience craft brewing probably is the same as “Artisan brewed.” Their brewing is craft. I remember watching case after case of Keystone Light zipping down the production line during the brewery tour at Coors in Golden, CO. That wasn’t craft brewing, that was industrial mining. I’m sure I could find a similar production line in Germany but I doubt they would have it on tour. I appreciate the level of craftsmanship that German brewers achieve. I know there are brewers in Germany who are pushing the same limits American brewers are but I suspect the fruits of their labors never make it past the taps in their pubs and out into the rest of the world. But judging from some of their websites they are craft brewers in the American sense because of their tattoos.
I do remember that this was a balanced brew. Not too malty not too hoppy or bitter. Just the right thing to calm down a frustrated wannabe cook.
I’ve already peaked at what’s up for Day 20. It’s got a label I can’t read but it looks like this one will be different. It was not part of the Man Bag.