Session #42: A Special Place, A Special Beer

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Our 42nd Session is hosted by Derrick Peterman, from Ramblings of a Beer Runner. He’s chosen “A Special Place, A Special Beer” as his topic, which Derrick describes geographically, as follows:

The Session provides a unique opportunity to explore this connection between the beer in our glasses and the place it comes from with perspectives from all over the world.

So I ask for this 42nd Session that you write about a special place in your life, and a beer or brewery that connects you to that place. It can be the beer from your childhood home, a place you once lived, your current hometown, a memorable vacation you once took, or a place you’ve always wanted to go to but never had the chance. Please take a few moments to think about the how the beer connects you to this place, and share this with us. Of course, the definition of “place” is rather open ended, and in some cases, highly debatable, so it will be interesting to see the responses on what constitutes a place.

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This was actually a simpler question than I expected, once I stopped to think about it. For me, I believe the most special place to have a beer, any beer, is at the source. The place where it was created — the brewery — I always find is my favorite place to try their beer, especially for the first time. Plus, in certain places the brewery has beers available that can’t be found anywhere else.

A number of years ago, for example, I visited the Radeberger Brauerei just outside Dresden, Germany. Their pilsner is one of the best in the world, at least in my opinion. But even better is the unfiltered zwickel version that they have only at the brewery. To be fair, they also used to sell it at one bar in downtown Dresden but last I heard a flood had closed it.

I love drinking beer at home, at the bar, at the restaurant — okay, anywhere — but not quite as much as in the brewery itself. That’s hallowed ground, in a sense. I’m not really a “ticker,” so I have no idea how many breweries I’ve visited over the years but it’s certainly a fair number. And they’re almost always where I’ve had the most memorable experiences. I don’t know if it’s the setting — I do love the feeling of being in a brewery — or being with the brewer, or some other intangible, but I inevitably get the sense that that’s the beer’s home. And things just always taste better when they’re home.

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