Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maybe, eventually, they'll take David Hasselhoff AND IPAs

After Strasbourg we returned to Tübingen (where we lived in 2013) for a week of nostalgic excursions (at least that was my perspective; J had already been working with collaborators for several weeks). Sarah joined us too, leaving the three boys in Paris.

We had an amazing apartment with a great view of Tübingen's iconic hill (thank you Betty!).

Of course we made it back to Bebenhausen Monastery.

And of course one night we took a nostalgic trip to our old apartment and local pub, which still serves the best käsespätzle around. 

 Here's Ella at the pub two plus years ago.

And here she is last week, in a more subdued mood.

We had our favorite Calabrian wood-oven-fired pizza.

And, after deciding against a traffic-y trip to Böblingen in search of what seemed, online, to be a German-made American Pale Ale from the Schönbuch Brewery, we trekked up the hill to Schwärzlocher Hof, which was a little cold and rainier than 2013. But the peacocks were impressive.

The beer list was not impressive, however, a classic example of how frustrating German beer lists can be -- especially given the cold reality that Schwabenbräu isn't very good. I need to do some research into the question of whether the problem is not just taste buds (stay tuned below for that thesis), but, like in Mexico, a system in which breweries front money to bars and in return enjoy complete dominance. But I don't think Schwärzlocher Hof, which has been serving beer on the site since 1829, needed brewery capital to open ... and restaurants in Germany are usually dominated by the local brewery, not one of the global giants, as in Mexico.

Mike and I had the flavorless Schwarz (or dark), trying to trick our taste buds into thinking we were drinking, say, a red IPA. I think the Dinkelacker alkoholfrei, one of Joe's favorites, would have been better. The onion tart and the ice cream sundae were good though.

Next, we had a very fun lunch catching up with our language-course group. The cafeteria at MPI is as delicious as I remember .... man I love Schweinebraten.

On our last night, Joe and Betty hosted us to play video games, circa 1983, which Joe has on a reconfigured table top arcade counsel. Apparently the East German state stole some code from the West and made a couple of knock-off games, that they even made available in western-style arcades. The graphics must have been ten years behind, which I think provides a new hypothesis to work on concerning the end of the Cold War ... but then again I sort of enjoyed the ski racing game.

Joe's training Ella to become a computer scientist. Here he is yelling "bubble bubble" whenever she needed to fire.

Ella's perfect bilingualism makes her even cuter, if that's possible. We weren't sure if she ever realized we speak restaurant German at most ...

It took 8 months living in Tübingen in 2013, and a week this time around, but on the very last night, success! We found an honest-to-goodness made-in-Germany IPA: a Dolden Sud IPA, to be exact, brewed in the Bavarian town of Riedenburg. This was a pretty mild IPA by American standards, mind you -- clocking in at 55 IBUs -- ha ha, exactly the same count as Cedar's cherished Goose Island IPA by Budweiser -- but it tasted like a slice of heaven to Mike, who's been living in Germany for over a year.

The one image from this trip I wish I had captured but could not was Joe's expression upon tasting an IPA. Remember the 1990s Keystone Beer Bitter Beer Face campaign? It gives you the idea ...

And even better, Joe's father repeated this face when he tried it. The Revolution is probably going to be evolutionary ... Maybe the Avenues Proper can partner with David Hasselhoff to launch a German IPA.

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