News from the Mash Tun #23: Stone Berlin, Denmark Deposit System & No Beer for Nazis

News from the Mash Tun #23: Stone Berlin, Denmark Deposit System & No Beer for Nazis

C’mon Germany, you didn’t come this far to only come this far! We said ‘Kein Bier für Nazis’ so let’s stick to it! And while our Pfand system doesn’t extend to juices and other assorted beverages, the Nordic countries are killing it with their superior deposit systems, creative beers and new bars. But no one comes close to the Bavarians when it comes to getting wild with giant beers, sausages and beer festivals!

Expand the Pfand!

Germany’s conscientious approach to recycling glass and plastic bottles (the ‘Pfand system’) has served as a model for similar systems worldwide since 2003. Through reuse, a fate of waste incineration or burying as landfill is avoided and the environment benefits. Yes, sometimes it is complicated, but all in all, it’s a no-brainer.

Not only does the environment benefit through recycling, but rubbish on the streets is also diminished due to the plethora of ‘Pfand’ collectors who wipe the streets of their recyclable rubbish for a small cash incentive, and apart from the normal peppering of societal jack asses who put their cigarette butts in beer bottles (thereby rendering their reuse tricky or impossible), everybody is on board.

So it begs the question — Why on earth are many beverages such as juice, wine and champagne exempt from this deposit system?

It seems that Denmark may have asked the same question. With plans to extend their deposit system to include juice and nectar bottles from 2020, Denmark will overtake Germany significantly in terms of sustainability.

Although theoretically we now have the technical capability to follow suit here in Germany (apparently some of these PET juice bottles contain an additional polyamide barrier to protect the product which makes their reuse a little more complicated), we’ve yet to enforce recycling these other beverage containers under the same compulsory umbrella as those that we currently recycle.

“Whether with respect to air pollution, clean water or a [Pfand] deposit – Germany is becoming increasingly dependent on environmental protection in Europe. About half of the juices and nectars consumed in Germany are packed in disposable plastic bottles without a deposit, “says deputy DUH federal manager Barbara Metz, urging for a rapid implementation of recycling extensions to the various exemptions.

Hopefully now that Denmark has committed to expanding their recycling repertoire, it’s only a matter of time until we jump on the recycling bandwagon here in Germany!

The Nordic Beer Scientist Environmental Warriors

Speaking of those savvy Danes, a few Mash Tun’s ago we talked about Carlsberg’s ongoing commitment to scientific advancement. The fourth-largest brewing company in the world, which happens to have their headquarters situated in Copenhagen, Denmark, is already experimenting with using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their beer. Now, lo and behold, they are planning on using their clever technologies to reduce their environmental impact even further through experimentation with the production of paper bottles.

For the last three years, Carlsberg has been developing a beer bottle made out of waste paper. The “Green Fiber Bottle”, as it’s been dubbed, is scheduled to hit the market next year.

How will such a design work? Will it get soggy? Will it hold pressure? What about cans? Are stovepipes a future possibility? What does this mean for beer? Can we compost our beer bottles, cans, or stovepipes after use? Indeed, there are these questions and many more, but only time (and the clever, environmental warriors of Carlsberg) will tell how that initiative pans out!

First the Danes Then came the Finns

It’s not just on issues to do with sustainable practices that the Nordic countries have us trumped at the moment!

With the ever increasing distribution networks for German beer suppliers, not to mention certain Scandinavian beer bars popping up over the country, the demand for beer from Scandinavia and the Nordic countries is on the up and more and more options from the north are spreading their beer-laced tentacles across the country.

The recent opening of the Finnish beer bar in Prenzlauer Berg, Bryggeri Helsinki in Berlin, is further evidence of just how much we’re lapping indie-beer from the north. With their menu designation of ‘Scandinavian Cuisine’, the opening has also sparked an interesting debate how we define something being ‘Scandinavian’.

Tis the season…for Bavarian Beer Festivals!

Next week the biggest fair in the world kicks off down South for the 208th Oktoberfest. Every autumn, for just over two weeks, the ‘Wiesn’ attracts around six million visitors from around the world to indulge in drinking giant beers in giant tents.

This year the Wiesn takes place from 22.09.2018 to 07.10.2018 and the cost of a Maß (errhm, that’s one liter of beer) has climbed to somewhere between a staggering 10,70 Euro and 11,50 Euro. If attendance logistics are a little too tricky (Munich accommodation can also be expensive), don’t despair!

It is not only Oktoberfest that sees many people dressed in funny attire drinking vast amounts of the Bavarian nectar of the gods – you can also find many more similar (albeit  smaller) folk festivals scattered throughout Bavaria from July to October, all of which also include marquees, fairy floss, roasted almonds, brezeln, wurst and (obviously) lecker, Bavarian beer!

Doch, Braun Bier für Nazis in Charlottenburg?

In a bone rattling turn of events, the Brauhaus Lemke am Schloss Charlottenburg has been the (we hope and believe, unwitting) host of the Tuesday night neo-Nazi Hans-Ulrich Pieper (NPD) talk series.

A reservation for the booking, made under an alias name (well, kinda, “Pieper GmbH”), was not detected for it’s sinister nature and the Brauhaus purportedly only became aware of the NPD meeting after a crowd 50-strong of anti-fascist protestors lobbed up out front.

Their rallying and chants continued alongside the meeting, which took place mere meters away. Regardless of the brewery staff seeming ‘surprised’ by the situation that ensued, the booking and meeting was not immediately cancelled upon the realisation of its menacing ilk, the reasons for which remain unclear. As yet, no public statement from the brewery has been made.

Update Sept 17th, 2018: Upon request Lemke brewery’s Anika Stockman got back to us last Friday and said that indeed “the group had made the booking as a travel group and concealed the true background – namely to hold a “political event”” and that “admittedly, the whole situation hit us unprepared and made us very agitated”. She said that when Oliver Lemke had heard about the situation on site by telephone, he had gone to the location immediately, dissolved the event, and expelled the group from the house. Oliver Lemke’s offical statement: “We clearly distance ourselves from groups that exclude individual sections of society or question our basic democratic values. We do not support such groups and do not want to see them as guests in our brewhouses! In order to recognize such a thing in advance and above all to prevent it to happen, we’re now geting ourselves expert advice from the mobile consultation against right-wing extremism Berlin and will also train our co-workers accordingly. We can only recommend to each gastronome to get information on topic beforehand and to seek advice.” – HA

Stone Berlin all grown up!

Can you believe Berlin’s been getting free water in restaurants for two years already? Yes, that’s right. It’s been two years since a little slice of America’s beer scene trundled across the oceans and made their new home in Germany’s Hauptstadt, Stone Berlin, where the water is not only free, but it’s spritzig!

It’s been a tough couple of years for Stone Brewing in their new location in Berlin. From initial feather ruffling antics like dropping giant rocks (wait, was that a stone?) on some of Germany’s beloved industrial beers to their continued acts of generosity (did you know you can generally find one of the Stone people in Mauerpark on a Saturday giving out free beers?), they’ve tackled stale stigmas and confronted a new European market head-on.

Although they can be ‘American-brash’ in their approach sometimes (pffft, coming from an Aussie here!), they set about to change a rigid mind-set and their achievements have been admirable. It’s their birthday!

This weekend Stone Berlin will celebrate their second birthday in Mariendorf where the wild high jinks will range from special tastings, tours, games, live music, a barber truck with on-site beard trimming and over one hundred beers on tap. Make of them what you will, but they’ve undoubtedly been a great addition to the beer landscape of Germany. Happy birthday, Stone! Prost!

That’s all for now, folks! Get outdoors and enjoy the extended summer! Cheers, prost, şerefe, ciao, à votre santé…until next time!