Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Tag: bottled beers

Bamberger Zwergla


There’s a lot more to Bamberg than just Rauchbier — the town is said to produce brews in some 50 different styles, including the buzz-worthy U, aka Ungespundetes, an “uncorked” or “unbunged” style of Kellerbier best-known in the versions from Mahr’s and Spezial, as well as very good wheats from places like Kaiserdom. If you’re tempted to take something home with you, the very last chance before you leave town is a small shop in the train station with bottles of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier as well as one of the local oddballs: Zwergla from Brauerei Fässla.

The Fässla pub was one of my favorites on my first trip to Bamberg, if only for the atmosphere, as I got caught up in conversations with the Stammgäste there. And while Zwergla’s “Lil’ Dwarf” moniker is fairly distinctive, I couldn’t remember ever trying it. Grabbing a bottle in the Bahnhof, I figured I’d check out what I missed and compare it to some beers from back home.

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Březňák Doppel-Doppel Bock


Otherwise known as Březňák, Pivovar Velké Březno has one of the strangest and most tragic histories in the Czech lands. Located in the Czech-German border region that was once called the Sudetenland, for most of its early existence the brewery had a pronouncedly German clientele. Now, returning to its roots, the brewery has launched an excellent new beer for the German market: the so-called Doppel-Doppel Bock.

Of course, it’s never quite that simple when the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Holocaust are concerned, and Březňák is so weirdly mixed up in the situation that as you hear the story it’s hard to remember which level of irony you’ve reached. For example, this brewery proudly supplied beer to Rommel’s Afrikakorps throughout the war. But the man who posed for the picture on the label, Victor Cibich, aka Zippich — the very image of a once-Nazi brewery — was actually a German-speaking Czech Jew. And yes, it gets even weirder from there.

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