Being a huge fan of the Schneider Brewery in Kelheim and the Weisses Brauhaus in Munich, I knew that I had to get to Schneider's events recently on the East Coast. Susie Hecht from the Marketing Department at the brewery in Kelheim and Josef Nagler, the head chef at Munich's Weisses Brauhaus came to New York City and Philadelphia for a series of Events. We caught up to the Schneider gang at Brauhaus Schmitz in downtown Philadelphia where they hosted a sit down dinner. Chef Nagler's cuisine was paired with the various Schneider Beers.
The first dish was a catfish appetizer and small salad paired with Schneider's Hopfenweisse. The Hopfenweisse is a relatively new style that Schneider developed in conjunction with the Brooklyn Brewery. Coming in at a hefty 8.2%, this a wheat beer with a hoppy character - no other brewery is doing anything like it. The soup course featured a Sauerkraut cream soup with crispy potato pancakes. Though it hit the table a little less than piping hot, I thoroughly enjoyed this soup - maybe it was the fact that it included a healthy dose of Schneider Weisse Original in it! The main course was a braised tri-tip (beef) done in Eisbock. Paired with Schneider's famed Weizen Bock, Aventinus, this was also a delight. The dinner wrapped up with an Aventinus beer cake served with an Eisbock. the cake was a heavy fruitcake like dessert which was a bit on the dry side. The Eisbock is a very strong beer at 12% though it doesn't have a strong alcohol taste like many stronger beers. After dinner we enjoyed the company of the Schneider folks and the owner of the Brauhaus, Doug. It was a great evening filled with great food and friendship: Jersey Bill, Kelly, Sam, Vonia and me had an unforgettable evening.
The second Schneider Event was hosted at Farmer's Cabinet also in downtown Philadelphia. Unlike Brauhaus Schmitz, Farmer's Cabinet had no German connection. It offers an enormous beer selection from all countries in a slightly upscale environment. Chef Nagler prepared several small snacks: Leberkäs Carpaccio, Bavarian Sausage Salad, White Radish, and also the cheese spread, Obatzda. I had the Sausage salad and it was superb. Chef Nagler told me that the sausage was actually from a local source in Philly who called it "Regensburger." I also had the Obatzda which came with three small pieces of rye bread. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough bread to use up the spread, so I asked for a pretzel. The locals had procured the preztels and they were close to unedible. There wasn't too many people partaking in the event, and the Schneider people had to get up to Brooklyn right away, so we headed out for some authentic Philly Cheesesteak.
On Saturday morning, we continued the Schneider road tour and drove up to Brooklyn. The event was sold out though the venue was a small one at the Beer Table. There is a small but efficient kitchen there and a handful of world class beers are avalable. From the Schneider line-up, only the original Tap 7 was available. While we enjoyed the Schneider Weißbier, Chef Nagler taught us the recipe for the Bavarian Speciality, Weisswurst. It's two parts veal to 3 parts pork. Plus there's a fair amount of ground stomach lining, chopped onion, salt, white pepper, coriander, nutmeg, and ground lemon peel. That's all ground up and chilled for a while. While that happened, we maxes the pretzels. That's pretty much a normal bread dough, but you have to let it rise about 40% before going to stage 2. Then, you cut out 1 ounce portions and roll them into long strips so that you can tie them in the traditional pretzel shape. The petrels were then laid upside down on a sprayed pan and put in the freezer for a spell. When the came out, the were dipped in a lye solution which gives the brown color and chewiness to the pretzel. The preztels are them cooked about 15 minutes to a golden brown color at 350 F.
Back to the Weisswurst, the chilled mixute was mixed with crushed ice to offset the heat in the grinding process. The Sauage maker hopper is loaded with the mixture and the sausage tube is with intestine and then the whole process happens quite quickly. A long tube of Weisswurst is produced and then twists at certain intervals to produces the invidual sausages. the reshape sausages were then dumped in to 190 F water to cook them. Any hotter, he warned, would cause the casing to pop open and ruin the sausage.
After everyting came out, we enjoyed Schneider's sweet mustard made with a dollop of Aventinus. With a hot pretzel and fresh Weißbier, it was a great experience. The event lasted about 3 hours and then with a little afterglow, we headed out into the city for a fun evening. Too bad for the Schneider gang that they didn't have anyextra time to enjoy "Amiland" a bit more!
When we weren't drinking beer, our "Jersey Bill" was a great host and showed us some great sites in New Jersey and Philadelphia - Thanks Bill!