Hoepfner Burgfest 2014

Every year over the Pentecost weekend, one of Karlsruhe’s local breweries has its beer festival. There are live bands, tasty things to eat, face painting and activities for children and, of course beer. Those of you who speak German and were paying attention will probably have noticed that little word “Burg” in the title… meaning castle. There is no actual castle involved, but Hoepfner’s building is made to look like one, earning it the name “Hoepfner Burg” – Hoepfner Castle… so naturally the annual event had to be the Burgfest, or castle festival. The Burgfest has been going since 1983, which makes it as old as me! (Actually a few months older since I was born after Pentecost). It starts on the Friday evening and runs until 8 p.m. on Pfingstmontag (Whit Monday). During that time various bands perform live both in the tent in the top courtyard and on the big stage down in the bottom courtyard. A lot of the bands are the same every year, but there are usually a couple of new ones.

This year, we decided to skip Friday and Saturday (I don’t think I’ve ever been to Burgfest on a Friday). There was a band called “Acoustic Rock Night” performing on Sunday afternoon that sounded interesting, so Jan, K and I took ourselves along for that. A friend of ours who was away from Karlsruhe the weekend of the festival had two beer tokens which he gave to Jan and I, so my first drink was a beer. I chose the Hoepfner Schwarz-Gold (Black-Gold), which is a dark beer. After that I switched to Weißweinschorle (white wine spritzer) and then had two glasses of Erdbeerbowle (strawberry punch). The band was good, but sadly the sound in the tent wasn’t brilliant so most of the time you couldn’t even hear the backing singers! Here are some photos from Sunday afternoon:

It was about 36°C that day and there was no breeze whatsoever so we were all boiling! I bought bottle of water that I drank about half of, using the other half to wet my face, neck and wrists for some momentary relief from the relentless heat! (I had actually brought a bottle of tap water along with me but I had to down that at the entrance. No drinks at all were allowed in!). Towards evening we decided to eat something and I felt like I was going to pass out while queuing for my food with all the ovens and grills blasting at me from behind the stalls. I’ve no idea how the people working there coped! After Acoustic Rock Night, another band came on… I think they were called the Moonlighters? They were okay, but we decided to move down to the bottom courtyard anyway as by that time another friend had turned up who wanted to see the band performing down there. Me and the Heat. K decided to leave at that point as it was still way too hot and she had a headache. Jan and I stayed for a few Me and the Heat songs, but left after having one more drink each. I’m not a huge fan of Me and the Heat, really. Technically (musically) they’re very good, but I don’t like most of the songs they do and they seem very uninterested in the audience somehow.

The next day, Monday, we headed down to see the final act of the Burgfest. The Sean Treacy Band is well known in Karlsruhe… If there’s a festival of any sort, they will almost always appear on the program! And they always close the Hoepfner Burgfest. This time, there was a surprise special guest performing alongside them. Fish, formerly of the band Marillion, was performing in a charity concert with them the following day and had popped along for a quick trial run before the main event. It was a great performance and a nice end to the long weekend.

Life right now

Oh, heyy!
I’ve been kind of absent from the blog this week (by which I clearly mean entirely absent!), so here’s a quick rundown on what’s going on in my life right now…

  • I started the 30 Day Squat Challenge on Monday and I am so unbelievably glad that today is a rest day! My thighs hate me already. Back to it tomorrow with 70 squats. Hopefully by the end of it I’ll have lovely toned thights though…
  • I went to a local brewery’s beer festival at the weekend (more on that in a separate post) and it was HOT! According to a local news website, temperatures hit 37.6°C at one point over Pentecost – a record for this time of year apparantly. It’s now down to a “mere” 29°C, which is still too hot for me. Especially since it’s also horribly hot at night, meaning I can NOT sleep!
  • On Tuesday I was at a charity concert here in Karlsruhe (well, Durlach, which is a borough of Karlsruhe). It starred Fools Garden (remember Lemon Tree anyone?) who are from the area, Eva Croissant (who those in Germany might remember from The Voice of Germany), David Hanselmann (who I had never heard of but has apparantly performed with famous bands like Canned Heat and Colesseum II – obviously before my time) and the big special guest of the evening: Fish, of Marillion fame. If nothing else you will have heard of the song Kayleigh. All the artists were accompanied by The Seán Treacy band, who are kind of celebrities in the local area. If there’s a Fest going on in Karlsruhe you can practically guarantee that they’ll be playing. So that was a nice evening. The concert didn’t finish til nearly midnight though, and then we still had to get home! Combined with the heat keeping me awake most of the night before and I was a very tiiiired Bev at work yesterday!
  • We fiiiinally made it to the train station last night to buy our tickets to Vienna! Normally we buy train tickets online, but travelling to a different country with 2 different Bahncards makes things slightly complicated. My Bahncard 100 is valid until Salzburg, so I’ve ended up paying less than €100 for the return train ticket. Result!
  • I was so tired last night that I actually managed to sleep from 11:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. (when I woke up so thirsty my throat actually hurt!). I had some bizarre dreams, which I’m totally blaming on the heat! I don’t remember much, but it involved running away from someone or something in the middle of the desert! I definitely think this was my brain’s reaction to my body being so hot. Also, when I got up at 3 a.m. to fecth more water, I happened to glance out of the window and the moon looked amazing! Sadly, I did not think to take a photo (well it was three in the morning!).
  • I’m currently reading Peony in Love by Lisa See for the reading challenge, and so far I’m disappointed! I will still read the whole thing though. On the other hand, I started reading Captain Cook’s birography this morning as my “train book” and I found myself wishing my commute was longer so I could read more! That almost never happens with non-fiction books 🙂
  • Tomorrow I won’t be at the office, which means I’ve only had to work 3 days this week (Monday was a holiday). I’m not “off” work as such though… I’m spending tomorrow and Saturday(!) at a seminar for translators. It’s about banking terminology, so not sure how much fun it will be! But hopefully it will turn out to be useful anway.

That’s all folks! I need to eat my lunch and then get back to work. Normal blogging service will resume next week, I hope.

P.S WordPress informed me earlier that I registered my blog 6 years ago today… so happy birthday dear bloggy!

Bierbörse Karlsruhe

Bierbörse

On the weekend just gone, the Bierbörse came to Karlsruhe. Bier, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, means beer and Börse usually refers to the stock exchange but in this case means something more like market. Basically, it’s a beer festival… but you can erase all thoughts of Oktoberfest style happenings from your head now. There are no Mass glasses here, no tents and the beers are not served by well-endowed ladies in Dirndls. Instead, Bierbörse is more of a celebration of international beers, featuring more than 400 beers from around the world.

This stand was selling English beers
This stand was selling English beers

Some beers are only available in bottles, while others are on tap and can be purchased either in full size glasses or in a special trial-sized glass – the proBIERglas, as the signs proclaimed (probieren means to try, so a probierglas would be a trial or sample glass… and how could they possibly miss the opportunity for a play on words with Bier?). For the full-sized glasses, you pay a deposit (known as Pfand), which you get back when you return the glass. The small glasses are yours to keep (whether you want to or not!). This year, I was clever and remembered to bring some of the many sample glasses we’ve still got at home with me.

ProBIERglas
ProBIERglas

The Bierböse used to take place on a small patch of grass beside the castle, but it’s grown since then and is now held behind the castle in the Schlossgarten proper. Nice and central and in pretty surroundings. What more could you want?

The tower of the castle
The tower of the castle

A lot of the stands are literally just wooden structures with awnings over the top, but there are some more imaginative ones – like a windmill and a pirate ship (the ship photo is actually from the 2012 Bierbörse, but it was in the exact some position this year).

Bierbörse 4

Bierbörse 2012

This year, I tried a German cherry beer by a brewer that I no longer remember, a chocolate beer (Young’s Double Chocolate Stout), which was disappointing, a strawberry wheat beer by the Belgian brewery Floris (makers of Delirium Tremens for any beer experts out there!) and another Belgian beer, this time a raspberry one by Grimmbergen. And I tried a few sips of Jan’s beers as well, including an Austrian beer which he got so I could keep the glass (he remembered that I liked the glass when we had a beer by the same brewery in Berlin this year).

The Bierbörse has taken place in 14 cities so far this year, with one more to go (Osterode am Harz – if you’re in that area, get yourselves along) and will be back again next year, starting with a visit to Hückeswagen in Nordrhein-Westfalen (about 40 km from Cologne) from 2–4 May 2014.

And next weekend I’m off to a wine festival! You’ll be able to read all about that here in roughly a week’s time.