By: Ed Valenta, HDC Operations Manager Published:
This is an awesome time of year, especially for a group of lucky Harpooners. Around this time each year, Harpoon takes its hard-working employees who are celebrating their 5th anniversary (and for some their 8th, 12th, and 17th…) to Europe for an annual “beer culture” trip. The trip is all about learning the history and unique ways each culture celebrates their favorite local styles of beer. And drinking said beer. This year the group is in Germany, immersing themselves in all the beer culture Cologne, Dusseldorf, Munster and Oelde have to offer. So what does this mean for you? These trips inspire our annual “Beer Trip” beer, which means you can expect to enjoy a German inspired 100 Barrel Series offering in 2016! Ed Valenta, Operations Manager for the Harpoon Distributing Company who is on the trip, just checked in to give us all the details on their trip so far. Here’s the latest from Germany according to Ed…
When in Koln!
In Koln (German Spelling) they drink Kolsch. Period. Well mostly. The light golden ale is made by all the local breweries and at many bars it’s all they serve. Don’t even bother asking for an Alt, they drink that in Dusseldorf, they’ll probably joke about kicking you out. They are proud of their local beer here. The history of Kolsch is interesting. I don’t have room for all the details but if you have time I recommend taking a look at it. We found a corner pub on a small plaza and got started getting local with some curry wurst and fries with mayonnaise and a round of Kolsch. “When in Koln” would be our motto for the next two days. When drinking Kolsch you get small tall 0.2L glasses and the barman will mark your coaster to keep track of your beers. They keep coming until you say stop! The bar also had some nice Belgian beers and we tried some Kriek before heading off for our first brewery tour and dinner.
The weather was not kind to us on the walk over and we arrived soaking wet. All was well when we were quickly given a glass of Helios, their signature beer, an unfiltered light golden ale with a hoppy finish. They technically can’t call it Kolsch because it’s not filtered, it’s also a bit hoppier than a Kolsch, but the rest is the same. The brewpub makes some beers on premise but also has an offsite bottling operation for exports. They are one of the newer breweries in Koln and are taking a lot of cues from the American craft beer scene. They have a larger range of flavors than most in the area. Pitter, the Brewmaster, walked us through most of his beers and even opened a few rare bottles from their barrel program for us to try. Then we took a tour of his operation before we returned upstairs for dinner. Most of us took the brewer’s recommendation and ordered the schnitzel. If we measured the amount of pork we ate on this trip it would be quite a lot, and I really don’t want to know. Accompanied by fresh salads, rich breads, creamy butter, delicious cheeses, minced pork tartare (yep more pork) we left with full bellies ready to take in the rest of what the city had to offer.
Into the night…
It was a Sunday night and the rain was back so it was pretty quiet in the streets of Koln. However we still found a few places to practice our Kolsch culture and to try out the different variations of the style between different breweries. Our group dwindled slowly with each stop on the crawl but at least half of us made it through to last call, I mean we are professionals after all.
And how else to finish off a good night of beer research than with a cheap delicious Doner Kebab! You might call them Gyros or Schwarma where you are from but it’s about the best thing going to quell your appetite with a couple of Euros (it also gives you a short break from the onslaught of pork products the Germans rain down on you). Off to bed fueled up and ready for day 2!
By: Jordan McMillan, Digital Marketing Published:
UFO Big Squeeze Shandy is back! If you've had it before, you know it’s the perfect brunch-time beer. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re in luck! We’re hosting a special Harpoon Sunday brunch on May 3rd at a brunch spot near you!
Check ‘em out:
Avenue Gastrobar – Orlando, FL
Croton Reservoir Tavern – New York, NY
Krupa Grocery – Brooklyn, NY
Tavern on Broadway – Newport, RI
Thirsty Moose Dover - Dover, NH
The Elbow Room – West Hartford, CT
The Skinny Pancake – Burlington, VT
The Stirling Hotel - Stirling, NJ
Yellow Brick Pizza – Columbus, OH
Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden - Windsor, VT
Whether you’ve tried UFO Big Squeeze Shandy and fallen in love, or have been wanting to give it a try, we hope you’ll join us for brunch on Sunday, May 3rd!
Can’t make it? Find UFO Big Squeeze Shandy near you with our beer finder!