"Are you going?" Mike asked. "Going where?" I had no clue what he was on about. "Wildeman. You really should get on their mailing list. There's Bayerische Anstich tonight. A Prael beer."
Mike's right. I ought to get myself on Wildeman's mailing list. I could easily have missed the Bayerische Anstich. Oh well. As long as he's on it, things work out pretty well.
For those of you who've never heard the phrase, Bayerische Anstich is just the German way of saying "gravity served". You know, where they whack a brass tap in with a dirty great mallet. (One of my favourite sounds.) You can see the full set to the right: barrel, hammer, brass tap.
We'd already seen the barrel. It had been parked in a corner of the former no-smoking room. I'd wondered if it was just a themed table or decoration. No, as it turned out. It was full of beer.
It's one of the things they do semi-regularly at Wildeman. Bayerische Anstich on a Friday evening. Usually it's something Bavarian. Often dead yummy. Like Schlenkerla Fastenbier. Or something from Beck. Life is good in Amsterdam.
The barrel was due to be tapped at six. Not wanting to miss out, I was there a quarter to. Fortunately, they had other beers to keep my thirst at bay until the tapping. Löwenbräu Oktoberfest, for example. Not quite as nice as the Hacker I had at the festival, but not bad. And true to style: a proper Oktberfest Helles Märzen.
Mike showed up at five to six. As the barrel hadn't been tapped, time for a second Oktberfest. We'd barely taken our seats when the delightful sound of wood on brass drifted in from the bar. Time for two-handed drinking.
De Prael Johnny was in the barrel. A Kölsch, supposedly. It was cloudy almost to the point of sludginess. Just the two counts it fails on for being officially a Kölsch then. I'd show you how sludgy it was. But I prefer the snap of Löwenbräu in a Beck Brau glass. Johnny tasted pretty decent, despite all the sludge.
De Prael should be opening their own taproom sometime in the next year. A thought has struck me: will it feature Bayerische Anstich? That could explain why they've gone to the expense of getting a wooden cask. I do hope so.
Grapes / Grapes of Prestwich, Bury New Road - Grapes of Prestwich, Bury New Road, Prestwich, 1990. (c)deltrems at flickr. The Grapes is traced back to 1877 in David Rowlinson's book, when it was lease...
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