Thursday, May 1, 2014


FRaVMotC Well Seasoned Fool (WSF) left a comment on my last post which sparked a scramble for information on my part. Specifically WSF mentioned that during his time in the army, back in the day, a popular beer in the Frankfurt-am-Main region of Germany was Henniger's.

A search for that brewery led to a lot of information on the various beers brewed by those folks. The following picture has the neatest looking bottle, so I went with that one. I'm not sure if WSF liked this one or one of the other products of that brewery.

Being a soldat, no doubt WSF would drink whatever he was able to get his hands on, that's what many of us airmen were prone to do. Back in the day. Or as my old colleague Martin (from Bavaria) would say, "My favorite beer is Freibier!" Which of course, as I had to explain to many a fellow Yank, simply means "free beer."

(I also had to explain to some of them that "Zimmerfrei" was not a hotel chain in Germany. It simply meant that someone had a room for rent.)

All that exhaustive research led me to the opening graphic. What Wikipedia calls "The Alcohol Belt". Of course, it's mostly Europe. There was a larger map of beer consumption covering the whole planet. But that wasn't as colorful. Didn't account for vodka and wine and didn't fit into my "May 1st, I remember Germany" theme.

Now one most interesting thing about that map above is that whiskey is unaccounted for. The British Isles and Ireland seem to be "all about the beer." With the notable exceptions of Cornwall and Devon where they seem not averse to having the occasional glass of wine (or three).

Another noteworthy fact on that map is that in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and Poland they will (apparently) drink beer, wine and vodka. I don't think that means "all at the same sitting" but it appears that these folks enjoy imbibing whatever is to hand.

In Poland -
"Chcesz piwo?" (Would you like a beer?)
"Chcesz kieliszek wina?"(Would you like a glass of wine?)
"Chcesz kieliszek wódki?" (Would you like a glass of vodka?)

"Tak, proszę!" (Yes, please!)

In Norway -
"Vil du ha en øl?" (Would you like a beer?)
"Vil du ha et glass vin?" (Would you like a glass of wine?)
"Vil du ha et glass vodka?(Would you like a glass of vodka?)

"Ja, takk!" (Yes, please!)

In Estonia -
"Tahate õlut?" (Would you like a beer?)
"Tahate klaasi veini?" (Would you like a glass of wine?)
"Tahate klaasi viina?" (Would you like a glass of vodka?)

"Jah, palun!" (Yes, please!)

I found the map interesting. A few observations I made while living in Europe -
  • the beer in France is terrible
  • the beer in Germany is incredible
  • the red wines in France and Italy are incredible
  • the white wines in those latter countries are "okay"
  • the red wine in Germany is nicht so gut
  • the white wine in Germany (along the Mosel River) is superb
  • the gelato in Italy is too die for

Huh, what, gelato? That just popped into my head. I love gelato. After my wee trip to Italy a couple of years ago, I have developed a life long craving for gelato. I know, I know, nothing to do with beer, or wine, or vodka. It's not even German!

But I need want a gelato. Right now!

Venite per il vino, per rimanere il gelato.*

* Come for the wine, stay for the gelato. The Old AF Sarge's Italian mantra.


  1. I'll agree with your assessment of German Whites, and French and Italian Reds. Will, on request, present my counter to your assessment of French and Italian Whites. (Assuming you are aware of the pronounced tendency of wine to taste better in the region where they are produced and even better when consumed in the establishment where produced).
    A Mosel White was the beginning of a adulthood passion for wine. (It involved a broken F-4)

    1. Betcha your F-4 was broken at either Bitburg or Spangdahlem. Not that far from the Mosel region.

      As to the French and Italian whites, I don't mind them, but, I have a deep abiding love for the Spätleses and Ausleses of that area.

      And wine most definitely tastes better near where it was born. Our outfit did a wine "tasting" tour to the Mosel every year. Tasted many a lovely wine.

      Best red I ever had was one brought back from northern Italy by one of our guys who was from there. He had gone home on vacation and one of his friends (who produced his own wine, not for sale) gave him a case of his red. I still remember the taste of that ambrosia and probably will until my dying day!

    2. Count is 0 and 2, but very close to both.

    3. So then, I'd say Hahn! (Which has been closed for a while as I recall.)

    4. Whew. The 0-2 count had me worried.

  2. Wow, I'm so old my old drink is now on Ebay.

    Most of the beer I drank came in flipper tops.

    1. It's tough when the stuff you enjoyed in your youth is now considered antique or vintage.

  3. My ancestors come from beer, wine and whiskey. Insofar as Italian gelato... Amen, Brother. I was 11 when I visited Rome with my folks. I had a gelato the first day and had AT LEAST one more every day thereafter. Magnificent stuff.

    1. I need to find a map with whiskey on it as well!

      Ditto on the gelato. Two things I had to have, every single day, in Italy was espresso and gelato. Missing an espresso was not cause for concern. Missing the gelato was an emergency. I was fortunate, I missed neither while I was there.

  4. Can't disagree with any of your post, but you left out the Ports and Sherrys from Spain... And LOTS of folks in Europe seem to keep a bottle of Vodka in the freezer... Re Italy, obviously you must not have tried the Grappa either... or if you did, you don't remember it because of the hangover.. :-)

    1. I have a lovely bottle of port stashed away for a special occasion.

      I didn't try the grappa. Silly me.

      Spanish sherry I have heard of, haven't tried it. Obviously a situation I need to rectify!

  5. I actually had a good beer made in France. As I recall (haven't seen it on the shelves for years) it was from Normandy and brewed with Heather flowers in the mash. Good stuff in my humble opinion (IMHO, for those of you keeping track on the first use of acronyms).

    1. Ah, so next time in Europe I need to get to Normandy anyway, so I'll check out the beer in that locale. (Though how could I not drink Calvados when in Normandy?)

      The beer we had in Paris was brewed in Strasbourg, you'd think that close to Germany they would have done a better job. Eh, c'est la vie!

    2. The French Gewurtztraminer I drank in Strasbourg was one of the French Wines I was thinking about. Loire Valley Chenin Blanc was the other. Both very nice.

    3. I will have to try those. (Note: Strasbourg, which is in Alsace, has been German a time or two over the past few centuries. So they're better at wine than they are at beer. As related in my comment above. The Gewurtztraminer grape has an interesting history, seems it's a mutation of a grape native to the Southern Tyrol region of Northern Italy, the Savagnin blanc. Just thought I throw that out there.)

    4. All this plane stuff and a Wine Common Sewer also! No end to your talents young man!

    5. Yup. I'm a real renaissance dude.

      (And I shall be chuckling about the Wine Common Sewer phrasing for quite a while. Steal that I might!)


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