Exploring the German/American Beer Relationship

On February 26, Annie Mark-Westfall (Bosch XXXI) sponsored an alumni event focused on the transatlantic relationship with regard to beer.  Special thanks is owed to Michael Westfall (Berlin Craft Beer Experience) and Derer Import GmbH for making the event possible.

The event took place in Wedding, Berlin at Vagabund Brauerei—a community supported and oriented brewery founded in 2013 by three American expatriates.  The event featured a guided tasting by Joe Stange, Berlin-based author of Good Beer Guide Belgium and contributing editor of DRAFT Magazine.  Attendees from the U.S., Germany, Scotland, England, Romania, Russia, Norway, and beyond, as well as several members of the Bosch XXXI and XXXIII cohorts, enjoyed two kostenlos beers: Vagabund’s American Pale Ale and Schoenramer’s Pils.

Mr. Stange’s commentary then continued with the concepts of “decentralized diplomacy” and “beer diplomacy.”  In today’s globalized world, we all participate in diplomacy as individuals—particularly we expatriates; and making those connections, particularly in Germany, often happens over a beer.  He explained that beer—a product traditionally bound to place—is also seeing the effects of globalization.  Beer’s ingredients (water, malt, and hops as the only ingredients under the strict beer purity law, Rheinheitsgeboot) are now being shipped worldwide for the brewing process.  Mr. Stange closed with a question to participants—what comes next, after post-modernism?  Discussion was led with the hypothesis that consumers seek a connection to place and locality, and craft beer is a product that makes that possible.

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