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Reporter David Wroe of The Age, reports from Berlin.

YOU CAN get it eating bratwurst. You can get it wearing lederhosen. But German beer lovers, it seems, didn’t quite get it at all.

What was this curious brew in a funny little bottle, overchilled and underdressed in a rudimentary green label, presuming to stand alongside the big boys from Germany and the Czech Republic at Berlin’s International Beer Festival?

“It’s too cold,” said a Bavarian bus driver, Hans Horst. “If it’s too cold it has no aroma. Beer should be 10 to 12 degrees Celsius, the same as sausage.”

The humble VB was one of the beers featured for the first time this weekend along the Berlin festival’s famous “beer mile”, on Karl Marx Avenue. Despite some misgivings, the world’s most discerning beer drinkers gave Victor Bravo a modest, if not effusive, thumbs up.

The bad news at the end of the first day, was that VB was being comprehensively outsold by New Zealand’s Steinlager at the international beer stalls.

The good news was, at least VB was outselling Castlemaine XXXX, which was struggling to get off the mark.




babylon.jpgPart 1 of an occasional series about the historic importance of beer

It was the accepted practice 4000 years ago in ancient Babylonia (modern Iraq) that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink.

Mead is a honey-based beer, and because the Babylonian calendar followed the moon, this period was called the honey month, which eventually became our word honeymoon.

All prospective fathers-in-law please take note — Shippies is standing by to keep your new son-in-law supplied.