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China Brewery Visit

Beijing, May 30, 2015

Bailliage of Beijing educational visit to the newly opened Hacker-Pschorr Brewery

Hopfen und Malz, Gott erhalts” (may God preserve hops and malt) was the theme of the Bailliage’s latest OMGD event.

Beer as we know it is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world and the third most consumed beverage after water and tea. Finally and long overdue we were able to pay respect to the golden tasty beverage.

The earliest known chemical evidence of barley beer dates back to about 3,500 BC from the site of Godin Tepe in western Iran. Back then the recipe was handed down by a prayer to Ninkasi (Goddess of Beer) also known as the “Hymn of Ninkasi”. Of course this beer has little to do with what we drink nowadays.

Who invented our modern beer opens a whole set of discussions and of course everybody wanted to have invented beer.  To cut it short our modern beer was basically invented by monks during fasting times. Not being allowed to eat, beer provided them with their nutrients - hence the name “liquid bread”. In 1516 Wilhelm IV, duke of Bavaria adopted the “Reinheitsgebot” (purity law) and amongst other regulations allowed only malt, water and hops to be used for the brewing process.

As a venue we chose the newly-opened Hacker-Pschorr Brewery and Restaurant in Beijing. Hacker-Pschorr is based in Munich, Bavaria, and is one of the few breweries which is allowed to serve their beer at the world famous Oktoberfest.

The brew master at Hacker-Pschorr, Stefan Frank, currently brews three beers in Beijing, all according to the still in force purity law of 1516. He makes a lager beer, a dark beer and a wheat beer. All of which are unfiltered. We started with a tasting of all three beers with pretzels and “obatzda”, a Bavarian cheese dip made of matured camembert, beer, caraway seeds and paprika powder.

Also a beer sommelier by trade Stefan Frank took us on a guided brewery tour during which he explained how modern-day beer is made from roasting the malt, boiling the wort, adding the hops and fermenting the liquid into beer.

After the tour Executive Chef Oliver Buentgen spoiled us with Bavarian delights. First was a “lager beer onion soup au gratin” followed by a “brew master platter” with sauerkraut, sausages, and roasted pork knuckle, all served with mashed and roasted potatoes. For dessert we had a “wheat beer tiramisu” and then lots of beer.

When we left that evening we all felt like we had made a quick trip to Munich having very much enjoyed the great hospitality, the food, the educational tour and of course the delicious beer.

Hofen und Malz, Gott erhalts!

Bernie Sperk
Chargé de Presse Provincial, Bailliage of North China