It was a huge shock to wake up today and realize that our first week in Munich is already coming to an end. We have had so many great experiences in the week, it just flew by. It has been awesome to go to brewpubs after class and to speak to locals about beer. In all honesty, in the classroom we haven't learned as much as we did each day in Chicago, but we have learned a lot by talking to our German professors and colleagues.
Yesterday, we got to brew for the first time in Munich. It was my first time using a four vessel system (600 hectoliter brewhouse). The mash tun was heated with steam, so we got to do a step mash. I was talking to the Doemens brewer that was guiding us, and when I told him that in America craft breweries typically do single infusion mashing, he was shocked. He said that if you told a German brewer that they could brew great beer using a single infusion, they would call you crazy and tell you that it is not possible. While we were brewing, we also worked on cleaning the fermentation room, malt grist assortment analysis, forced fermentation tests, and we took turns as a group being in charge of the brewing.
After class yesterday, we went to this incredible beer patio (not a true Biergarten). I spent most of the night drinking Augustiner Pils. It was an eye opening experience for me. I always thought that I didn't like pilsner, but that beer was incredibly drinkable, crisp, and refreshing. I wish it was something that we could get fresh in America.
Today was a bit of an easier day. We started off with carbonation calculations for bottle conditioning, then we did brewhouse efficiency calculations, and we finished off the day with a tasting. This tasting was different from the others. We had to break into groups, try a beer, talk about it for 20 minutes, and then give a 10 minute presentation to the rest of the class about the beer. The idea was to describe the beer in a way that would make the class want to buy it.
Tonight, I'll be going to the English Gardens. If it is anywhere near as much fun as I had at Schneider Weisse, Augustiner, and White Fang, I just might have to run away from America and live in Munich the rest of my life. The people here have been very friendly. It seems that you can't go to a pub without a local teasing us Americans and then buying us drinks. I even met two brothers from Cologne that bought 4 rounds of drinks and invited me to a beer fest. Prost!