Our fiends H&G were keen to know what we’d like to do during our visit. One thing that sprang to my mind, that I thought may feature j=high in the German psyche, was a visit to a Biergarten. I think that got a little misinterpreted and we ended up booked onto a tour of a Brauerei [brewery]. Noto so bad though, eh?
Hmm, well, we our tour would apparently not start until 17:00. H&G kindly collected us from our Pahna campsite and drove us the 45 minutes or so to Bad Köstritz, where the Köstritzer brewery was located. H parked in the visitors area just after 15:00 and we sauntered through the baking heat to register. We were somewhat flabbergasted to learn that the tour and tasting would last about 2½ hrs. Strewth! Somewhat daunted, we walked out of the beer factory – it didn’t really look like a brewery in the traditional sense – to the local park where, mercifully, there was some light relief. We came a cross a pond with some odonata life, one of which was our rarely seem Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) again.
- Calopeteryx splendens (Banded Demoiselle)
- Ischnura elegans (Common Bluetail)
- Coenagrion puella (Azure Bluet)
- Platycnemis pennipes (Blue Featherleg)
- Anax imperator (Blue Emperor)
- Somatochlora metallica (Brilliant Emerald)
- Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)
We returned to the brewery to face our punishment. With about 8 others, we were treated to something like a 30+ minute introduction, including a video, all in rapid, complex German. Finally being asked to done a white coverall and, if footwear was deemed inappropriate [open-toed sandals], blue plastic shoe covers, we were ushered out into the baking sun to sweat for a little more historical introduction, staring at the old factory building. We looked more like a CSI team than visitors on a brewery tour.
The threat of a coverall and overshoes, together with the joy of being subjected to 2½ hrs of rapid German was enough to put Francine off; she opted out and stayed behind to have a natter with G, who kept her company. The organisers weren’t happy though, concerned apparently about health and safety. Nonetheless they got away with it.
The stalwart remainder moved on lamentably slowly, slowed even further by one over-interested body that kept asking questions. I was about to ask H to tell him to stop asking questions when H asked one of his own. We did find the master brewer, an array of computer terminals, mercifully not resembling Windows 10 [“please restart to install beer into bottles”; “the fermentation has failed, OK?” NO, not OK!]. There wasn’t a warm body in sight, other than our own overheated bodies.
Finally, oh please finally, we were into the bottling plant which is where the plastic CSI overshoes were required. This was actually quite interesting; we were shown the biggest dishwasher I’ve ever seen, all the time containing 40,000 bottles. Clean, sterilised bottles issued forth to begin their journey through an automated check for cracks, finally to be filled and labelled at breakneck speed.
At last we could return to the tasting room for a drink. My ears certainly needed a drink. 50% of this brewery’s production was a dark bear, essentially a dark mild. Other offerings included a pils, as might be expected and an “English style“ pale ale, which might not be expected but which certainly tasted the part. Actually, at 7% ABV it tasted more than the part since I don’t know of any English pale ale brews getting anywhere close to that.
We bought a sampler pack since tour attendees got a discount and retired hoping that our ears would recover during what was left of the evening.