Couple of weeks ago I flew over to Germany to attend an Organic food and beverage trade fair in Nuremberg called Biofach, it was like most German shows on a grand scale with 8 halls packed wall to wall with products from around the world. A retailers paradise it was and I was quite impressed by the amount of UK companies on show promoting products that would look good in any store in the world, I say that because a lot of the German,French and Scandinavian brands had names Bio this and Bio that. I thought come on guys we know your goods are organic but you could have worked on a better name!
I have been coming to this fair now for 3 years and I am yet to see 60% of these brands make it in to the UK as they would do really well over here, im sure they have tried maybe we also like our product branding as much as the contents. Was disappointed that none of the UK breweries were on show, Fullers, Brodies, and Stroud Breweries organic beers would have really cleaned up yet there were a few German and Belgian breweries busy filling order books. There are so many incentives offered by the UKTI right now such as discounted stands at trade fairs and even money toward flights and hotels, they are really backing UK firms to export.
The last few trips I never got a chance to see the city so this time I stayed over an extra day to catch the sites of Nuremberg, the Old Town is quite beautiful the majestic Nuremberg Castle and medieval churches and romantic cobbled streets and half-timbered houses are surrounded by a 15ft six km long historic city wall from the dating back from the 16th century. In the centre of the town is a market square called Hauptmarkt and I'm told hosts one of the worlds best Christmas markets but what got my eye was C&A, I still remember my dad taking me to the store that was in East Ham to get my school uniform. They are still going strong in Europe wonder why they closed in the UK!
In the north-eastern part of the old town I discovered Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, this brewery has been around since 1386 and sit on a maze of tunnels and cellars no prizes what they were used for. Beer is still brewed here and operations are now run by current owner Reinhard Engel, you can take a tour down in the cellars which was a bit creepy but the site of 1 ltr bottles of beer stacked up if they were wine soon cheered me up. Upstairs there is a brewery shop selling the range of six beers plus a Schnaps and even Mustard they produce.
I sampled the goods on tap in the brew pub the 'Helles' was very nice, lightly hopped unfiltered hazy yellow colour. Fruity with a pleasant malt profile. Very refreshing and quaffable. But the 'Schwarzbier' was my favourite a dark brown blackish colour with a nice cream head. Strong notes of coffee right from the start through to a some fruity sweetness. Sure it was blackcurrant! finishing with a dark roasted malt and hoppy flavour. Really good stuff.
I decided to buy one of each of them, they only sold them only in 1ltr bottles which I don't think was an issue these beers will go down a treat this summer with a BBQ. Now we've all heard the story about tourist getting ripped off well what happened to me was really taking the biscuit. I went up to the counter with both bottles the cashier spoke no English and pointed her finger to the till displaying the amount I should pay, I had to look twice she wanted €38 yep €38 European quids!! In my broken German English I tried to explain to her the amount is not correct as the shelf tag states €4.40 each! At that time I was the only one in the shop and she wouldn't have none of it 'no no no' and started speaking German at 100km per hour.
She knew what she was doing and I really felt like saying to her to stick the bottles where the sun don't shine but no I wasn't havin none of this and I walked out in to the court-yard and asked the English-speaking pub staff to follow me to the shop. I explained to him that she wanted €38 and that it was an incorrect amount, the young lad looked at me and said that's too much! Now for the next 5 mins I witnessed some heavy strong German exchanges between the two, I wish I could have spoken German as I'm sure he was saying to her 'why you over-charging this guy'. The lad turned around and said she is stupid come with me and I will sell you the beers from the pub for €8.80 for the pair, I really was not impressed but this had nothing to do with brewery and this product but a chancer of a till girl.
Look these are really good beers and the brewery has so much history and tradition which is awesome and I recommend you try these beers on your trip to Nuremberg but beware of the till girl I think her name was Ingrid.
Nürnberger Altstadthof is at Bergstraße 19-21, 90403 Nürnberg or check out the website www.hausbrauerei-altstadthof.de for more info.