Coasting through Madrid

Posted in Travel at 8:15 by RjZ

I accidently learned a lot of Bayerisch while living in Munich. Bayerish or Bavarian is the local dialect of German and varies all over the large southern German province of which Munich is the capital. Like the Southern dialects in the United States, Bavarian carries with it an occasional connotation that the speaker is more rural than his industrial neighbors to the north and perhaps, a bit maybe, more, um, I mean…less educated.

That’s why colleagues in northern Germany would look at me so puzzled with some of my colloquial word choice. Except I didn’t have any idea that people don’t eat Semmel in Hamburg, they have Brötchen (bread rolls), or that don’t put ein Filzl under their beer, they use a Bierdeckel (coaster) instead. I imagine how comical it must have sounded to them. Here’s this guy, who clearly has an American English accent, but damn if he isn’t sounding a bit like some farmer from Garmisch-Partinkirchen. Think of a German speaking English with a Texas accent overlain on his obviously German speech. Maybe it’s not such a pretty picture.

But I really enjoyed living in Bavaria and eventhough I began to learn ‘real’ German I still prefer to ask for a Filzl from the server if my beer is flowing over. That’s why I was excited when I saw my first real beer felt here in Madrid! The name Filzl, or little felt, comes from bygone times when coasters were actually made of woolen felt to absorb the sloshed beer running down the sides of glasses and on to the bar.

Beer Filz in Madrid

Up until the 19th century most pubs were using felt squares when serving beer, but unfortunately, the thick wool patches, soaked with beer, would make great cultures for bacteria and the felts didn’t last long before they were effecting the delicious beer aroma.

My co-brewer and I have collected thousands of the modern paper beer coasters, and yet never seen a felt one. That’s why I was so excited when Santa Barbara Cervecería in Madrid served their Mahou beer on original style felts! Santa Barbara pubs have been open since 1815 according to the sign and this was a lovely one for sure. The beer was served well too, perfectly tapped beer with a creamy head. Looks pretty good on that old fashion felt, doesn’t it? Mmmmm, beer. I hope they won’t mind that I “borrowed” one for this story. You know they do get old pretty fast anyway, I guess.

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