I was stationed in West Germany (yes, I know that dates me, but I never claimed to be a spring chicken) for 2+ years and I got to drink some of the finest beers on the planet. It got to the point where I'd be served "yet another pilsner" (said in boredom). We'd take the train to go to Mainz, cross the square from the bahnfof and go to The Bier Tunnel. It was underground, had great food, and "imported" beers from Munich. Understand that each region or city had their own local brews and that's pretty much all that was available locally. No way was American beer available and it wouldn't have sold except maybe to a GI stuck on base.
Many of the "European" beers available here are actually made here and bear little resemblance to the real deal available in Europe. Our first night in Germany a sgt warned us away from the local Mainzer Aktien brew. He said it was 12% alcohol or whatever it was and to go easy on it. So naturally we had to test what he said. Yup, it certainly wasn't US beer. Within a year it would be "just another Pilsner". Many of the European produced beer is an export version specifically made for the US market. They know that here in the USA we drink our beer cold, which is a huge laugh for them; or it was. Our beer is drunk cold to hide the fact that it doesn't have any flavor. In Europe it's drunk cool at best because it has flavor and people actually want to taste their beer.
I wish I could drink beer today. I love beer, but I simply can't drink more than a few ounces unless I'm dehydrated. At one time I enjoyed making my own beers, and due to my experience in Germany I decided I much preferred the top fermented ales; porter, English amber, stout, and some specialty brews that no one outside of home beer production has ever heard of. They are beers that one actually doesn't want to drink chilled much beyond cool because they actually (IMO) have great taste. Many were the afternoons that I would fill my stein with a homebrew, or 2 or 3, and contemplate the inside of the container while sitting out on the deck and enjoying whatever came out of the Forest.
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