Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Regensburg

The white-haired man in the corner studies several newspapers, which are spread before him on the table as if they are maps for his cultural campaigns. Phew, there’s room for a plate and a glass though. He studiously chews his food, sausages, slowly and deliberately, a pen in one hand, a fork in the other; books to read, music to listen to, TV shows to catch, perhaps. An assiduous ticker. 

He wipes his lips with an ivory white napkin, scratches his chin, clean shaven, dimpled, takes a last sip of his Eden-Pils (fresh, lemony, light and noble, I have the same in my glass) and then asks for another. It is after all only brewed at the back of the pub. 

In this long, dark wooden panelled space, there is no music, just the murmur of voices and the scape of cutlery on plate. There are antlers curled around the lamps that hang from the ceiling, the aroma of sausages and the sour-sweet wrench of sauerkraut piled on plates. The bells of the nearby Dom sound the hour, honest and uncomplicated, an ancient liturgy heard every night since the metal was cast. On this night, the old town of Regensburg is easy going, local, quiet, unhurried and calm and the beer at Kneitinger has an equal serenity about it. 

And on the next day, the old town breathes again, lets its hair down, engages with the hordes who crunch their way down the narrow streets, glance and pay heed to the  medieval streets and the emerging remains that the Romans left, while we, my son and I, who is 16 now and can buy me a beer, sit in the garden of Eden that is Brauerei Spital’s, across the Danube on the island of Stadtamhof, with the spires of the Dom in the distance, and toast our good fortune to be here with Spital Hell — full-bodied, a shadow of lemony hop in the mid palate, clean, refreshing minerally, gently carbonated and with a creamy mouthfeel. And afterwards we walk across the Danube, and look at its pliable surface, a snake’s skin, dark green, and a carp, reddish brown, lazily breaks the surface, while the river continues on its way to the Iron Gates and the oblivion of the Black Sea. 

14 comments:

  1. I like Regensburg. Lovely city. None of the beer's very good but the brewery taverns themselves are impressive.

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  2. Disagree re the beer, Spital Hell very enjoyable.

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  3. If you don't think the beer at Kneitinger and Spital is good the fault is with you not the beer. Bavaria is not the place for overhopped citrus bombs.

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    1. I suppose I'm just fonder of Franconian beer with which I have tons of experience, and the only two times I've been to Regensburg it's been part of a trip to Franconia. Drop me there for a weekend and I'd no doubt love the beer.

      I can't stop overhopped citrus bombs and avoid the fuckers like the plague

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    2. No over hopped citrus in R, just solid Hells and Pils and sausages and the relics of the Romans

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    3. In Regensburg it's not Rome that's important. It's one of those cities in which the Germans marked their importance in the world

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    4. It was a free city until the French along with the Bavarian army stormed it in the early part of the 19th century; in fact it was the only place that Napoleon ever got wounded on the field of battle; he was hit in the leg. Not far from where the Roman wall remains are prominent. Like all of Europe it’s a place where everyone has been.

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  4. I like both. Not sure what's more flowery though, the beer or Adrian waxing lyrical.

    OK. It's Adrian in his own inimical style. Lovely writer.

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  5. My son and I had a great time in Regensburg, back in 2008. The setting of Brauerei Spittal, on the banks of the Danube, is second to none, and I too really enjoyed the beer.

    A return visit is long overdue, methinks

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  6. Bloody pissed down when I was in Spital.

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    1. i know I saw the plaque: drunken Mancunian brought his own personalised weather with him.

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    2. Nur echt mit dem Bock, indeed. Regensburg is a lovely and generally overlooked city. I was drinking in die Knei until midnight and nearly got a PB in the half-marathon the next morning. I expected to be much slower so I view it a sign of the high quality of beer.

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