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Sunday, August 13, 2017

German Craft Beer Scene-Going Nuclear

Gundremmingen Nuclear Power Plant,
Approaching my one year anniversary overseas I have a better sense of German craft beer, and the influence of the American craft beer explosion on German beer culture. While Berlin is considered the epicenter of the German craft beer scene however craft beer seeds are sprouting in other parts of the country. Enter Camba Brewery. With three locations Seon, Truchtlaching, and Gundelfingen Camba is definitely an up and comer in the German beer scene. With temperatures plummeting and autumn just around the corner I could think of no better excuse than a day trip to the Camba Old Factory in Gundelfingen.

 Approximately 100 km east of Stuttgart is the town of Gundelfingen, home of Camba Old Factory. As I soon discovered Gundelfingen is also home to the Gundremmingen Nuclear Power Plant, a mere 5km’s from Camba. Fortunately I wasn’t there for the water. We arrived at the Old Factory moments before their 1600hr opening ensuring we were the first customers. With rain in the forecast we bypassed the robust outdoor beer garden opting for the climate controlled inside seating.  As we entered the building I was awe struck at the sheer size of the building. Like a kid in a candy store I scurried to the nearby brewing equipment in what I can only describe as one of the most amazing tap room/beer gardens I have ever visited.  In addition to the brewing equipment, a bottling line, barrel room, restaurant, and beer store fill the cavernous factory.  Approaching the bar my eyes fell upon nearly 40 taps, the most I have seen since leaving the states. So many beers, so little time. 

Not knowing where to begin, and knowing I would have to drive home, I opted for their “Tasters” selecting two of the Camba IPA’s and one New England IPA, winner of last year’s Camba homebrew (Hobby Brauer) competition.  All three beers rivaled many of the American IPA’s I have tried. With ABV’s ranging from 6-9% I couldn’t help feeling I had found my new beer home away from home. Over the next two hours I sampled two more Camba IPA’s, barely scratching the surface of Camba beer offerings. Of course, what would a German beer garden be without food. Fresh baked pretzels, curry wurst, pulled pork, and schnitzel just to name a few.

Unlike many stateside tap rooms Camba Old Factory has a robust international beer offering including beer from France, Belgium, and of course the U.S.  In September Camba Old Factory will host its annual homebrew competition, a three day event featuring nearly 80 homebrewers and 100 beers. I'm not only planning to attend the event but I'm also participating, entering my award winning IPA in what promises to be an epic event.

In conclusion if Camba Brewing is indicative of the German craft beer scene then the future is not only bright, dare I say its “Radiant”. In the coming months I will not only return to the Camba Old Factory but also visit their other two locations, with any luck, as the winner of their homebrew competition.

Until next time,

Bleib Schlau!

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