Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Beer, Glorious Beer!

We were in Munich a couple of weekends ago for another visit. G had to go for work, which he does on occasion. It just happened that this occasion was also during Oktoberfest. Last year was the first year time I missed it after 14 years in a row. Last year I didn't mind, but this year I really was pining for it. Oktoberfest is not for the faint-hearted, or is it for a quiet tete-a-tete with a friend. But neither is it only about the beer. Sure, that's the image most people have of it, but it's also a fun fest where families can have fun on some rides. I will be honest though, and admit that it wasn't the fun fest carnival rides that I was pining for. So when G said he was going to be there for the Munich Hash House Harriers Oktoberfest weekend bash, I decided I should go along too.

Munich always has a great atmosphere during the 2 weeks of Oktoberfest. There seems to be a sense of anticipation in the air, people are walking around wearing traditional Bavarian clothing of Dirndls for the women and Lederhosen for the men. There are lots of tourists and they are pretty excited. Well, when they aren't already drunk or nursing hangovers, haha. Actually, if you only do Oktoberfest, you have to work really hard to get a hangover, as they stop serving beer at 10:30pm and close the tents at 11pm. If you are sensible, you go home at that point, get a decent night's sleep and don't feel too bad the next day. Of course, not everyone is sensible.

Anyways, we had a great time at Oktoberfest, seeing the Hashers and seeing our friends Dee and Martin, who kindly put us up despite jet lag from their own very recent trip. I took Lena on Friday morning to the Fest, meeting up with some other new moms I know. It was funny being there as a parent, you certainly see the thing through different eyes. Lena was very keen to go on the rides, which I indulged her in, as it's not like we will be there every year.

Speaking of beer, I just baked Beer Bread tonight. A very simple recipe actually. 3 cups of self-raising flour, 340ml of beer and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Mix enough to wet everything, whack it in a loaf tin and bake at 190°C for close on an hour. This recipe will obvious vary in taste depending on which beer you use. I used Carlsberg because that's what we have (reasons given below) and found it okay, but in need of tweaking. With this mild beer, the 3 tbsps of sugar made it a bit too sweet. It's a nice quick bread, but to me it didn't really taste or feel like yeasted bread, which was what I was craving. But again, as a quick bread, it was okay. If you make this, I'd like to hear how it turned out and which beer you used.

The reason I used Carlsberg is we *still* have several cartons of it after having 2 big events back in May and June this year. The last one was G's 30th birthday party. The problem we have is that we keep estimating alcohol amounts based on the parties we had in Munich. Now, that doesn't mean all our friends in Munich were lushes who drank like fish. Okay, they are, but that's not why we overestimated here (just kidding folks, you aren't really lushes. Well, not ALL of you). Living out in the countryside, at least half the people came by car to the party, which cuts out a drinker. A lot of the people we invited were also from our NCT group, so with a little toddler to look after, no one is going to drink as much as they might otherwise, simply from lack of time and opportunity to get a new beer! Plus I think that women in the UK drink more wine than beer than the women in Germany (I noticed the same in Australia too), so yet even fewer beers drunk. With so much beer left over, G has being doing his best to finish it off and I've been helping him on occasion too. But there's enough to try out any other lager-based recipes I might come across or any recipes someone reading this blog might care to share.