Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Beer shopping, German style.

Depite having been a regular visitor to Germany for the past nine years (basically all my holidays!), the occasional visit before then, and now living here for six months, I still get a kick from shopping for beer here. It's just the scale of it really. In Ireland I was used to going to a supermarket or off license and browsing the shelves for interesting sups, selecting a few bottles of each, then maybe doing the same a week or two later. The odd time I'd binge if I was up North and fill a trolly with ales up in Sainsbury's, but it was a bit dear to do do that (but how I miss Clotworthy Dobbin!).

Here it's different. Here is seems to be on an industrial scale. Even in my wife's home town, there's a trink markt close to her parents (a small one) where you go in and tend to buy by the crate. When you go to the supermarket, it's not those shelved fridge units, it's stacks of crates, for the likes of €13 a pop. One trink markt, called trink gut, near me in Münster is massive, and the crates tower above you. Not only is there quantity, but a hugh range too. A huge German range I should add, but it's only to be expected at this stage. There's one particular aisle that has all the Pinkus Müller beers and where they also seem to have a random selection of stuff in single crates, so I usually head there first and get a couple of each. Then I meander between the stacks and pluck a bottle or two from crates as I pass by. Drive by beer shopping. It's different.

The first time I went into the big one here I bought four crates of beer (and a 6-pack of Guinness Extra Stout for old times sake). It took me ages as I was drooling all over the place, so my wife said I could go alone next time. That time I came out with a crate of Hövels, a crate of Duckstein, a crate of assorted Pinkus Müller and a crate of assorted Hacker-Pschorr.

This time I only got two crates, as my Franken supplies are still in good stead, but I really randomised things. The guy at the checkout seemed amused that there were basically 40 random bottles. Well, 12 assorted Pinkus and an assortment that included the likes of Uerige Alt, Füchschen Alt, Bolten's Ur-Alt (I was searching this one out having tried the "regular" Bolten's Alt), more Doppelbocks than is good for me and some dodgy looking beer that I don't expect to like. Oh, and a six pack of Berliner Kindl Weisse (the raw one).

I only spotted one Belgian beer, and when I asked the checkout guy if they had any, he said just that one (Grimbergen Blonde and perhaps the Dubbel). They did have some of the usual suspects, like Guinness, Kilkenny, Newcastle Brown (which I quite like now and then), but also others like Zywiec Porter. I should have gotten that and the Grimbergen too!

The other kick I get out of all of this is the price. 46 bottles of beer €45.14. The most expensive beer was the Uerige Alt, at €1.59, and the cheapest was the dodgy looking Hansa Pils from DAB, at 45c. However, €9.21 of that total is refundable when I bring the crates and bottles back. I tend to hang onto them for the auld home brewing, although I just noticed that while the regular bottles have a Pfand of 8c, the likes of Uerige and Füchschen are 50c per bottle, as they're a bit special. I'll have to bring those ones back...


The Beer Nut said...

Do they have loads of forklifts chained together at the entrance that can be released with a €1 deposit?

That's an amazing picture of the crates.

Adeptus said...

Oh, that'd be fun! :D

That picture is only a fraction of it. It's the sight that greets you when you first walk in. There are about 5 more aisles behind that. Not stacked so high I should add, but it's just on a different scle to the likes of Superquinn or Redmonds.

I didn't want to look like a weirdo taking photos of all the aisles :D

Adeptus said...

I think that photo shows the best sellers on closer examiination :D

I should have chosen a more exciting aisle for the pic ;)

Boak said...

Oh, I love the Getrankmarkts. As you can imagine, the ones in Bamberg are pretty special...

If you're ever in Nuremberg, there's a great chain of pubs that stock beer from small Franconian breweries, called Landbierparadies, and they also have an enormous beer shop. We almost wept to see the range of beer that we would almost certainly never get to drink.

Adeptus said...

I'd love to pop into a Franken drink market. As it is I have to make do with online stores, which is a new one for me :D

Still, as long as there's a broad selection and new beers to try in my local ones, I'm content ;)