Dr. Axel Göhler is the third-generation president of this traditional German malting company now called Best Malz. His grandfather Max Göhler started the company 120 years ago, his father turned it into a leading German malting company, and in the year 2014, Axel took over the management of the family business from his older brother.
Göhler earned a doctorate degree in international business from St. Gall University in Switzerland. He wrote and defended his doctoral thesis on “The Success of German Family Breweries.” For ten years, Göhler worked as a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Afterward, he managed his own consulting firm in Hamburg together with partners before returning to Heidelberg to take the helm of company leadership.
Outside of the maltings, Dr. Göhler enjoys nature, hunting, German shorthair dogs, Arabian horses, travel, and of course, beers brewed with Best Malz.
EPISODE 3: BEER, THE GERMAN WAY
TOBY TUCKER – SENIOR DIVISION MANAGER, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
DR. AXEL GÖHLER – PRESIDENT, BESTMALZ
LUTHER PAUL – HEAD BREWER, LAKEFRONT BREWING
SOME OF THE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Axel speaks about the history of BestMalz and how it came to be the malting company it is today.
- Axel talks about barley seed selection and the effects.
- Discussion about BestMalz Heidleberg Wheat and Heidleberg Pilsen Malts.
- Some interesting facts about Oktoberfest and “Fest beer.”
- Luther Paul talks about the history of Lakefront Brewing and how it was formed.
Transcript - Beer the German Way
EPISODE S.1, E.3
[BEER THE GERMAN WAY]
Toby Tucker: (00:19)
Welcome to another episode of The BrewDeck. I’m your host, Toby Tucker. The miracle of the cellular phone has allowed me on several occasions to connect with folks “across the pond,” and I have yet another exciting opportunity today to do the same. So joining me up here on the deck today is my friend Axel Göehler, CEO of BESTMALZ in Germany. Hey Axel.
Axel Göehler: (00:41)
Toby Tucker: (00:42)
How are you doing today?
Axel Göehler: (00:44)
We’re fine. It’s very hot. We’re waiting for the crop to come in. So it’s looking good so far.
Toby Tucker: (00:49)
I really appreciate you joining us. I know there’s a bit of a time difference, and we’ve had a lot of listeners in anticipation for this particular episode because it’s not every day that we get to bring in a vendor partner of ours, especially from Germany. So excited, very excited to have you.
Toby Tucker: (01:05)
I mentioned the miracle of the cell phone, and I was thinking prior to the call, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, this would have been difficult to do. I don’t know if you remember pre-cell phone days. Did you guys have the pagers or the beepers where you just you call-
Axel Göehler: (01:20)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes, we did have them. We did have them.
Toby Tucker: (01:22)
Axel Göehler: (01:24)
Toby Tucker: (01:24)
I know, I was having a-
Axel Göehler: (01:25)
It’s like ages ago.
Toby Tucker: (01:26)
I know. I know. Is great, but I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine too. And we were talking about how much of a problem it would be for people to navigate around without the map function on their cell phone. We used to use this book called the Mapsco, where you look up the address in the very back of the book, and then it takes you to a page, and it’s like a grid where you find the street on this particular grid. That’s how we found our way around. But it’s amazing what the cell phone has done for us.
Axel Göehler: (01:57)
Yes, definitely. Definitely.
Toby Tucker: (01:58)
Well, we’ll get to-
Axel Göehler: (02:01)
I still have the car of my grandfather, which is an old Mercedes, very nice car where I’m still driving it. And it still has one of these maps that we’ve all been using all the time. It’s a map that in every car in Germany you would find this type of map. They all had the same map. It’s all coming from one petrol station in Germany, and they did this for ages and ages and ages. And now, when you see it, it’s like you have your favorite sweet that you got as a child. You see something that is there, and you always were used to it, but you never knew that it was so important to you. So I found this in the car just a couple of years ago in the back. And so no, the cell phone’s great.
Toby Tucker: (02:40)
Yeah. It’s interesting. Well, let’s get down to business. I’m excited to ask you some of these questions. I know our listeners are as well. So tell us a little bit about BESTMALZ, kind of the setting, history. I know it’s authentically German, but tell us a little bit of history about how your company came to be and how we are today as BESTMALZ.
Axel Göehler: (02:58)
Yeah. The company was started originally as a mill, which was the end of the 19th century. And then anyone a little bit familiar with European history knows that many ups and downs in the early 20th century. So starting in World War I and then World War II. And then we had a couple of very tough economic crises situations. And in one of these crisis situations, the former owners decided to sell the company, which then was already a malt house, which was in the late ’20s of the 20th century. So around 1925, ’26, ’27. And my family, we had, I think, eight or ten generations of brewers. And they’ve always been brewers. And my grandfather, for some reason, he said, “I want to do something else. I don’t want to do brewing. I want to do malting.” And so when the company was for sale, he bought it. At that time, the name was very different. I won’t bother you with the name because it’s a weird old German name, but this is how my family got started with the malting.
Axel Göehler: (04:01)
Then, of course, there was World War II, and then through World War II we had a couple of fires in the malt house afterwards. It was going up and down, but overall the company was more and more growing, growing, growing. We bought a second malt house in 1987, which was my father’s. So then we had two, which was important for reaching out to the north of Germany and internationally, because from that malt house, we could export much better.
Axel Göehler: (04:29)
And actually, the name BESTMALZ is not so old because BESTMALZ was started as a cooperation in the beginning of the 21st century, meaning 2001, almost 20 years ago. And the idea was that we focused more on export, and therefore we needed a brand which is not having this weird old German name, but something which is easy to speak and easy to remember. And at that time, it was, “Well, BESTMALZ sounds great. And so why don’t we do that?” And this is how BESTMALZ came along. But really the company is 120 years old.
Toby Tucker: (05:06)
Well, it is a great name, Axel. BESTMALZ is very consistent with the brand. It’s a fantastic product. I’ve had the privilege to visit you guys in Germany, albeit a short trip, but visiting brewers out there, I’ve noticed that a lot of … You mentioned export, but a lot of German breweries use your product as well. Is it okay to mention some of those that currently use your product?
Axel Göehler: (05:29)
Yeah. Yes, of course, which is true. We still have around 40% of the business goes to large breweries, like ERDINGER, which is, of course, Weissbier, what we call Weissbier, which is world-famous. Then Augustiner is another German Munich brand, very old, 18th-century brewery in Munich. Dinkelacker is another one. Paulaner, you may have heard, Boat House, Bittburger. So we have around 200, 250 customers, active customers in Germany. So there are quite a few of them.
Axel Göehler: (06:02)
And then, what is fascinating to us, and I live in one of our malt houses most of the time, so it’s particularly fascinating because we buy from the farmers. And so, at this time, the year, a little bit earlier actually, late July, the farmers bring in their barley. You get the barley from the fields. You have the farmers standing outside your house. They bring the barley right from the field, and we check the barley, and we talk to them. We give them a beer. We discuss the crop and how it was and how it’s going to be next year, and just the usual stuff. And then, on the same day, you may see a container going to the United States or to Canada or to Korea or to Japan. And it’s going out of the same malt house just right here.
Axel Göehler: (06:44)
So it’s really fascinating that you get something from the field, which is just something authentically German, very tough, very restricted on controls, quality controls, extremely tightly controlled. And we get it here. We work on it, and then we send it out to our customers worldwide. So it’s a very fascinating business, both the national and the international business.
Toby Tucker: (07:05)
Yeah, absolutely. And I know I have firsthand experience here on the sales team, at Country Malt Group, that we have a lot of dedicated followers of your product here stateside. Some very, very large breweries and all the way down to the three-barrel kind of micro. It’s a fantastic product. And obviously attributed to the job you and your family operation’s doing there over in Germany, Axel. So good to have you.
Toby Tucker: (07:29)
Going back to Dr. Gullah, I want to touch on that just a little bit. I read that you published your Ph.D. thesis in Switzerland on the topic of German family breweries. And then later established a boutique private equity consulting firm. Very interesting. You eventually came back to the family business, as discussed. Is it difficult to maintain that balance between kind of family heritage, like old school, what you guys have always done, and then kind of the need for innovation using what you learned in your schooling, in your teachings?
Axel Göehler: (08:00)
No, I don’t think it’s very difficult because the tradition and especially in an industry which is so traditional like the malting industry, tradition gives a lot of guidance and family tradition, even more. Just to give an example. If you have grain, grain is grain. So if we promise our customers that our grain is only coming from Germany, which is true, we don’t work with even French grains, we don’t use. No UK grains, nothing. We only use barley and wheat from Germany.
Axel Göehler: (08:30)
And the simple reason is that we know precisely what German farmers can do and what they cannot do. And this is how we establish our whole analytics, our controls, our internal mechanisms. And we feel extremely comfortable with the German. But, coming back to your question, especially when we talk about malt, it’s very hard to see. You need, really you need, genetically you almost need to analyze the kernels whether it’s true that they’re coming from Germany or not. You can’t see it. I mean, kernels look like kernels, and you can’t tell where they’re coming from unless you really dig deep into it.
Axel Göehler: (09:06)
So not very many customers have the capabilities to do that. So for us, it’s a lot about trust, and trust has a lot to do with tradition and reputation. And I think it makes a difference whether you stand there with your name as a family, say, listen, if I tell you in the name of my family, that this product is coming from Germany, chances are you will not tell something which is not true. Maybe you don’t even know who made the promise 10, 15 years ago. In our company, you always know who made the promise because it was always a member of the family.
Axel Göehler: (09:38)
So I think in a traditional family business, you tend to be very careful with the promises that you make. And actually, one of my professors in the US, I did study in the US for a while. And he always said, “You don’t want to ruin your reputation because it takes so long to build.” And this is very true for family businesses. And since you mentioned my Ph.D. work, one of the reasons what I checked, and I also worked for Boston Consulting Group for 10 years. So I did have a little bit of experience and exposure to strategic management consulting. And one of the things that we found was that family businesses seem to be much more consistent in their decision-making.
Axel Göehler: (10:20)
One of the reasons why in Germany the family breweries were very successful in the ’80s and ’90s was because they were extremely consistent in their strategy. They didn’t change their game plan just because sales would drop in one year. They wouldn’t change their price structure. They would stick to what they believed in. And this gives a lot of continuity to the consumer and to the market, because the market is knows, “Hey, I know what I’m buying. I know what I get, and I know where they stand. I may not always like it, but I know what they promise, and I know what they stand for.” And this tends to be more persistent, more constant in family businesses. And this was clearly one of the reasons for tremendous success in the ’80s when many of the large industrial breweries in Germany went out of business because of all the changes, and every new management would make a new recipe, a new beer portfolio, and the consumers were just confused.
Axel Göehler: (11:16)
I think the same is true for us a little bit. So I like to think I’m a big fan of innovation. I love digitalization. I think it’s really important. If you want to know what’s going on in your business, you need to have electronic processes, and you need to use what is available in the market in terms of warehouse management systems and customer relationship management systems and all these good things. And that’s fantastic. But this does not contradict tradition and continuity; for instance, in our production, which is in many ways, our production is still like it was 100 years ago. We don’t use any chemicals. There’s no industrial malting in that sense. It’s all still very traditional. And this goes very well with the modern systems that we have in our warehouse, for instance, or in our logistics.
Toby Tucker: (12:06)
Absolutely. I know you guys have done some tremendous things since you came on board back into the family business, as far as quality controlling, and we’ll talk about some of the innovations, kind of some of the stuff you guys are working on later on during our conversation. So it’s fantastic to hear that, Axel.
Toby Tucker: (12:22)
We’ve got at least over here in the States, there’s a lot of talk about, I use German pils, or I use North American pils and Czech pils. There’s a lot of different pilsners out there. How are they most notably different? And it obviously [inaudible 00:12:36] barley varietals malt houses, but for the kind of the untrained brewer looking for a pilsner, what are some differences there?
Axel Göehler: (12:43)
I guess the answer to the question is like, with most of the things, the closer you get, the more differences you see. So from our point of view, it’s a little difficult to say, “Oh, this is the German pils or the German pils malt,” because there are so many differences in the structure of the different malts, in the origins of the barley that they’re using. And even though it may look from the outside as the German pils, but there is really no such thing as a German pils because there are so many differences.
Axel Göehler: (13:13)
Even in Germany, even though you have to stick to the rules of the Reinheitsgebot, of course, and all of the maltster and all of the brewers have to stick if they want to call a beer a beer on the bottle in Germany, they have to stick to the purity law, which is quite restrictive in what you can use and what you can do and what you cannot do. So that is certainly an element in all of the German beers and the malts, of course. So this is a combining element.
Axel Göehler: (13:40)
I think at least in the companies that are in our ballgame, most of them put a large emphasis on very natural processes, meaning that we try to copy nature in a certain way. So we try to give barley or the wheat as much time as it needs in order to develop, in order to germinate. So there are certain steps now in production that may be similar to some of the German maltster. So, in the end, this may be the reason why we call it German pils. But in reality, I think there’s a lot of differences.
Axel Göehler: (14:16)
Just another example, some of our German customers, our German breweries, they even ask us to bring in only barley from certain regions. I said before that we’re only buying barley from Germany, but they not only want the guarantee that this is German barley, but they also want the guarantee that it’s German barley from certain states. For instance, some of our regions, they have a little more gravel in the ground. And therefore, the barley tends to have more stones. Again, this depends on the year and on the crop because this can also have an impact on humidity of the kernels, the structure of the soil. So the closer you get and the more you dig into it, the more differences you see.
Axel Göehler: (14:58)
And then, in the end, if you ask a German maltster, “What is the typical features of the German malt?” he will say, “There is no such thing as the German malt. There are hundreds of German malts, and there are very good malts, and there are very bad malts. It all depends.” So the answer is a little bit difficult.
Toby Tucker: (15:13)
I figured it would be a tough one to answer. That’s why I threw it out. It makes a lot of sense. And it really comes down, as you mentioned before, briefly, is consistency for the breweries. I mean, you can get barley crop that obviously is dependent a lot upon weather, and it really comes down to the job that the maltster’s doing in the plant to make sure that product the end of the day is almost the same every time it ends up in the hands of the brewer. That’s something that BESTMALZ has prided themselves on, when they, at least in North America, that whenever a brewer gets a bag of your product, they’re going to know it’s consistent, and there’s not a whole lot of changes to have to worry about in the process of brewing.
Axel Göehler: (15:50)
It’s good that you mentioned because this is very true. Some of the large, all of the large breweries in Germany that I mentioned before, they are crazy about analysis. So they really analyze all aspects of the malt all the time. We constantly get feedback from them. What is the protein level? What is the humidity? What is the kernel structure? And hundreds of parameters that they consistently check in their processes.
Axel Göehler: (16:19)
This is, of course, tough because when, when there’s … It mustn’t even be a problem which you can taste or that any customer, in the end, would even detect, but it can be something which is reducing the yield in their beer production. And if that is the case and your malt is responsible for it, they will let you know. So German breweries are extremely tough in terms of quality, which is a great challenge, because if you are up to this, then you’re also up to most of the international competition really, because there are customers and, of course, large international brewing groups have very strong and very strict specifications that we have to fulfill. But on average, I would say the knowledge, the technical knowledge that even smaller German breweries have is enormous.
Axel Göehler: (17:10)
And so there are always good people to talk to if there’s something that they don’t like. And like you mentioned, we can’t do anything about it that we have changes in the crops from year to year. Of course, the barley changes when it’s in the silos over time. So germination power is different at different times after crop season. And the brewers always want what they want. They always want their specifications to be fulfilled because their processes are extremely fine-tuned. And one of the reasons why they like to stick to one supplier, if they’re happy with the supplier, is because they hate to change the processes because it’s so complex, and it’s particularly complex in Germany because there’s not so much you can do with chemicals. Processes cannot be, to a very large extent, cannot be impacted by chemicals because of the purity law.
Axel Göehler: (18:02)
So they are relying on the suppliers that they offer them a product, which is consistently giving the same output in their brewhouse. And this is exactly what they need. And that’s what they pay us for. And they can get a little bit upset if that’s not the case. And since we can’t control the crop, we can’t control the rain levels, unfortunately, we just have to take what God’s bringing us. Therefore, it’s really our task to convert a natural product into a product that can be used in professional brewing processes. And that’s a challenge.
Toby Tucker: (18:37)
Yep. Hats off and cheers to the maltsters out there. They do a tremendous job in taking what they have to work with, as you mentioned. Spring barley, you guys use a spring barley for pilsners, for your pilsners. Why 100% spring barley for that particular product?
Axel Göehler: (18:53)
Still, many breweries exclude what we call winter barley because the spring barley usually gives a better yield in the brewhouse because, of course, in spring or in summertime, early summertime, the temperatures are warmer. So the kernels tend to be larger. And so the yields from malt can be a little bit better. However, with the changes in temperatures and climate change, I believe there’s a change in the sense that many breweries now say, okay, we can accept up to 20% winter barley, up to 10% winter barley, which they define in their specifications because also the winter barley has advantages. Not only that, the output is more consistent because when it’s sowed out and when it’s harvested, the temperatures tend to be more predictable. Whereas in the summertime today, it’s very hard, or in the springtime, early spring, June, July, you can have very heavy rainfalls, or you can have complete dryness.
Axel Göehler: (19:49)
So for the farmer’s spring barley is a challenge and unpredictable to a certain degree. Since humidity levels are typically better in January, February, and March, the winter barley is more predictable in the outcome. And also, it has some advantages that brewers start to like when it comes to gushing; for instance, winter barley is typically much less prone to gushing. Gushing is not common with winter barley at all. And this is one of the reasons why we have a change in the attitude towards other forms of barley, most important in winter barley.
Axel Göehler: (20:23)
The next consequence is that the seed developers, they focus heavily on high yield spring barley seeds but also on high yield winter barley seeds. And there are now some seeds in the market, which are almost comparable with spring barley. Very interesting, very interesting. They have the advantage of being sowed out a little earlier, so less risky in terms of dryness and heat, but similar in yield potentially. So it’s extremely interesting. But you’re right. We still with, I think, 90% of our customers, we still work with spring barley only, two-rows spring barley, by the way.
Toby Tucker: (21:05)
Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned it too. I mean, obviously, as you well know, Axel, dealing with brewers all the time, they’ve got to make money. It’s their business as well. So if they can’t utilize a crop that is going to grow and produce some revenue for them, they’ll move on to another crop. You mentioned a lot of work and trials going on with high-yield varietals. It’s something that I think a lot of people in our industry overlook, especially brewers. They’re looking for obviously something put in the ground, and be assured that it is going to yield a decent amount of product and then also prevent issues with vomitoxins and all that stuff too. So good to know.
Toby Tucker: (21:45)
Talking about barley varietals, is there a specific varietals of barley that BESTMALZ prefer to use?
Axel Göehler: (21:52)
Yes. In Germany, we have an institution which is called the Berlin Program, and Berlin is, of course, our capital city. And the Berlin Program is an annual program in which the seed growers, farmers, the brewers, and the maltsers sit together, and they decide what is the best varieties that we should use for this year. It’s a recommendation going all the way back to the farmers. If you grow this particular seed, then the brewers and the maltsers will buy it from you. So it’s a very good agreement between these different parties, and it stabilizes the market to a certain extent.
Axel Göehler: (22:32)
So we stick to the Berlin Program because this typically, or varieties in the Berlin Program, because these varieties are also the ones which are most controlled, the results are checked very frequently. Any diseases that can happen in the barley are very deeply analyzed and checked. So there’s a lot of security, which is one of the reasons what I said before. You only have that if you buy German barley. If you go out of Germany, there’s no such thing as the Berlin Program. So there’s a lot of uncertainty what you actually buy. Yes, for us, we buy, with very few exceptions; we buy only varieties from this program. And that changes from year to year.
Toby Tucker: (23:18)
Some of the brewers here in the States, in North America in general, have discovered one of the fastest-growing products that we have from BESTMALZ is the Heidelberg. They really enjoy it. Can you tell our listeners about the characteristic of BEST Heidelberg?
Axel Göehler: (23:34)
When we develop new products, we mostly follow requests from customers. So whenever a customer comes along and says, “Listen, have you ever tried this or that,” and we haven’t, then we go ahead and try it. And in this case, it was coming … actually in the beginning; it was more about the wheat beer. And some customers said, “Hey, I would like to have a very pale wheat beer. Can you increase the paleness of the wheat beer because our customers just love very light colors?”
Axel Göehler: (24:00)
And so we were working on it, and we had the best Heidelberg wheat, which is a very pale, very bright wheat beer with very good body still and very nice taste, but in the color, it comes out very light. And they loved that. And so when we had the BEST Heidelberg wheat, we said, “Why don’t we do this for the Pilsen?” So we developed the BEST Heidelberg Pilsen, which is basically a Pilsen but a little bit lighter in color. And that also changes the taste just a little bit. And as you said, the BEST Heidelberg has been a success not only in the US, also in Asia; we had among the top 10, that’s in the Asian beer awards last year. I think we had three or four who got very good results and awards. It was the Best Heidelberg. So yeah, that’s great to see.
Toby Tucker: (24:47)
Yeah, absolutely. I encourage brewers if they’re looking for a low color German base malt, Heidelberg is definitely one to look at. And folks from Country Malt Group do have some samples. So I encourage people to try that out.
Toby Tucker: (24:59)
Unfortunately, because of this thing, and they’re calling it COVID, Oktoberfest is canceled this year. And I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with you and your staff in years past. So it kind of sucks that it’s not happening this year, but that being said, with Oktoberfest right around the corner, and many American craft brewers looking to brew a fest beer, what do German brewers typically look for in their malt for brewing those types of beers around the holidays?
Axel Göehler: (25:25)
Yeah, it’s interesting to hear that you’re mentioning the fest beer, but you must not call it Oktoberfest beer, because if you call it Oktoberfest beer, you get in trouble with the lobby. Very, very, very, very strong and very well organized lobby from the Oktoberfest breweries.
Toby Tucker: (25:42)
You think they’re going to come get me, Axel? Going to find me at my address?
Axel Göehler: (25:46)
Probably not. If it’s not in writing, they will probably not. But if you use Oktoberfest in the product-
Toby Tucker: (25:53)
So it’s a brand-
Axel Göehler: (25:54)
Toby Tucker: (25:55)
Axel Göehler: (25:55)
Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Toby Tucker: (25:56)
Axel Göehler: (25:57)
It’s a branded, very strong, protected brand, Oktoberfest, and you cannot use it in any connection with any clothes or any product or anything. So we call it not Oktoberfest beer but fest beer. And the fest beer we were using as a recipe for our brew challenge, which happens once a year. So last year, we said, “Okay, everyone who wants to participate should create a fest beer, fest beer style.” And we were recommending a certain percentage of a certain malt, which was biscuit malt that should be used, and the rest was open for the participating breweries. But the fest beer should be full-bodied taste, brilliant color, consistency in the malt, which we say is important for making a tasty fest beer. Now, whether there is Oktoberfest or not, [inaudible 00:26:43] or not, the fest beer must be a good beer, full-body beer.
Toby Tucker: (26:48)
Definitely enjoyed many of those when I was visiting. Yeah. You mentioned a large chunk of your volume comes here to North America in export, for that matter. Have you noticed any changing trends in the malts you ship to US and Canada? Are there certain malts that are on the rise? We talked about Heidelberg. Any others?
Axel Göehler: (27:09)
Well, the best Pilsen malt has always been and is still the cornerstone, the key product that we’re selling to the US. So whether it’s in 25 kilos and big bags and totes, or even in bulk, customers just appreciate this. I would call it a very honest and very reliable product. They know 100% of what’s in it, no surprises, little changes like we mentioned before.
Axel Göehler: (27:36)
We have a couple of other products which were extremely well received in the US which is, for instance, the Red X. Red X became famous when Mitch Steele from Stone created the Red X Pataskala, the IPA for Stone, which even went nationwide in sales. He made a very hoppy beer on the Red X. Red X in Germany typically would not be very hoppy beer, but he said, “Why not make it real hoppy?” And he created this IPA, like I said before, and it’s still a great product, and people still like it a lot.
Axel Göehler: (28:11)
Also, something which is a little bit of trend is traditional seeds, which we have several products in German, which we call the best German tradition. And we have different best German tradition is always a product which uses old seed varieties in the barley. And sometimes, they are very hard to get like last year due to the dryness; there was very little yield for some of these rare seats. So it’s changed now-
Toby Tucker: (28:41)
Axel, that tradition is barka.
Axel Göehler: (28:44)
Exactly, the barka. And again, this year, unfortunately, it seems that there will be very little barka in the market. But the search for traditional old seeds or malt that is made with old barley seeds is also something which is a trend. But in our portfolio, I think we have now 60 products, organic by the way, is increasing, especially maybe with the pandemic at the moment, people not only in the US but also in Asia, they like to know that this is 100% organic. And again, this is a promise that’s coming not only from us, but also from German regulators. You can only use organic if it’s 100% organic, and they control this like crazy. So if you have a German product and it’s certified with a trusted organic brand, then you can bet this is organic. It’s a little bit higher price, but some people just really appreciate it.
Toby Tucker: (29:34)
Well, I will continue to twist your arm. And I know I have the past year or two, particularly about trying to get some of that German tradition or that Barka barley here to the States, and I’ll continue to reach out to you. I have kind of an idea that we might be able to make that happen. So for customers here in the States, hopefully, I can work with Axel post-Call here and see we can come up with something. Going back to innovation, you guys have some pretty unique, special equipment, particularly the roasting process, and why it’s unique compared to what other maltsters are doing. It’s a fluidized-bed roaster, correct?
Axel Göehler: (30:11)
Yes. Something we never liked about the roasted malts is the bitterness. Some brewers say, “Well, it doesn’t make a problem for me because I only use it to a certain percent in my grain bill. So I can live with a little bit of this bitterness.” But when we check it and actually some of the US, our US friends, they do the same, when I remember that last beer festivals that I’ve been attending, the US people that just like to taste the malt, actually they eat it, they eat it up. So we always have to bring on when we go to the US trade shows. We always have to bring a lot of malt with us. And so when you actually try it and taste it, this bitterness is really awkward.
Axel Göehler: (30:50)
And so we said, “Why can’t we be thinking about a process that is avoiding this bitterness?” And the bitterness comes from the kernels when they touch the hot steel of the drum, which they are produced, they are roasted. So it’s like a coffee roaster where the drum, of course, turns around, and a certain number of kernels are always exposed to the hot steel. And so they burn up, and this is what creates this taste.
Axel Göehler: (31:16)
And we wanted to avoid this. So we developed together with a great company here in Germany, we went and developed a system, which is more like popcorn production. You blow it up in the air, and the kernels are really dancing in the air, and they never really touch any hot steel. This takes a little bit longer. The batches are much smaller. We only have batches of 100 kilos. And so if we have an order of 30, 40, 50 tons or more, it takes a lot of roasting in this roaster, but the result is really fantastic because it’s very smooth, it’s very different. We have three products, the chocolate, the best roasted, and then the best extra, which is having up to a 1400 CBC. So this is a very dark product. But even the darkest roasts are still fairly smooth in their taste. So we think it’s a great product.
Axel Göehler: (32:10)
And in the roasting, we don’t use green malt. We use a fully malted malt. So we malt pre-product for the roasting, we malt 100% up to the kiln, and we want to get a very specific structure off the malt in the pre-product. And then, we take this pre-product and send it to the roaster. So it’s really a two-step process. It’s very energy-intensive. So it takes a lot of energy. We really like the quality. And usually, if a customer has tried it, they stick to it because the taste is fantastic.
Toby Tucker: (32:45)
Yeah. I’ve had the opportunity on several occasions of doing the chew test on your roasted products versus pretty much every competitor that’s out there that offers something. And I can tell you, you are absolutely on point. That is very smooth, very subtle. And I personally don’t like licking the inside of a fireplace. So it’s a great change for most products that are on the market. And I will say that you and I have been discussing bringing those to market here in North America for some time. And we are diligently working with both of our teams to try to button up what we can do to get that product to your stateside. But I think it’s going to be a very good product for customers here in North America.
Toby Tucker: (33:24)
Switching gears a little bit. Many craft brewers in North America travel the world in search of new beers. I mean, particularly Bavaria is one of those places that you guys get a lot of brewery-appreciated tourism. What are the regions in Germany that excel in beer and spirit culture that you feel that tourists may overlook?
Axel Göehler: (33:42)
Well, Germany has, at this point, we have around 1300 to 1400 different beers all over Germany. I guess most people go to Munich, and they try the Bavarian beers, which is not only great for the beers, but it’s also fantastic. I personally really like it for the traditional, the little gasthof how we call them, the little restaurants, the Biergartens. So Bavaria is certainly a part where you have a lot of variety.
Axel Göehler: (34:10)
I would recommend once the travel season will restart and it’s possible to go to Germany and all the different regions, I think it’s great to go into a certain time of the year and then visit the different Oktoberfest because there’s only an Oktoberfest in Munich. There are many Oktoberfest all over. All over Germany, there are Oktoberfest. So if you come to a certain season, you can look up on your map, okay, which city is offering Oktoberfest, and you can travel. And you will be amazed.
Axel Göehler: (34:39)
I mean, you have Oktoberfest in Hamburg, and you have Oktoberfest in Berlin, and the differences in the beer is just amazing. Because Germany has a lot of our tradition has to do with beer because every little city used to have their own brewery. And so if you go for instance, in Cologne you have a certain beer which is the kölsch, and then in Dusseldorf, which is only 15 kilometers away, you have a totally different beer culture, which is the altbier. So comparing these two regions one evening in Dusseldorf, or maybe one week in Dusseldorf and one week in Cologne you can try a lot of fantastic, fantastic beers. But even the smaller cities, they have very unique beer styles. It takes a lot of time and a lot of energy to try out 1300 different beers.
Axel Göehler: (35:32)
But I would definitely go not only for what we call the TB beers, the large beers that you get, of course, in the [inaudible 00:35:38] it’s also very good beer. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are great beers. But of course, it’s nice if you go to the very small and medium-sized breweries. We have a lot of craft brewers, not as many as in the US, but there is a craft brewing grant in Germany. And some of them they have fantastic beers.
Axel Göehler: (35:55)
The two regions for craft brewers is Hamburg and Berlin. In Hamburg and in Berlin, we have very strong communities for craft brewing. In Hamburg, there’s a brewery Ratsherrn, for instance, which is, fortunately, using our malt, but this has been one of the strongholds of craft brewing in Germany. So there’s a lot to see, so much for one visit. You have to come twice, at least.
Toby Tucker: (36:21)
Yeah, I can’t wait until this COVID stuff goes away. I mean, for a lot of reasons, but getting out and be able to travel and spend some time, more than just the wants that I have in Germany, is definitely appealing.
Toby Tucker: (36:33)
Sticking kind of on the personal side, do you have a favorite beer style while at home in Germany? And is there something you tend to choose when visiting the States?
Axel Göehler: (36:41)
Yes, definitely. When I come to the States, first thing I do, if I come to the airport, curly fries, which we don’t have, but you do, curly fries and then a good IPA. That’s just-
Toby Tucker: (36:53)
I like the curly fries too.
Axel Göehler: (36:55)
Yeah. We don’t have that. We don’t have that. And it’s so American, and it feels like coming home. And I was amazed actually when I was back from, I studied at the University of Georgia, and I got my bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. And I was in Athens, not too long ago, 10, maybe five, six years ago, and visited Terrapin. And when I came back after my college days, maybe 15 years ago, I went to Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, and I went to get some curly fries. And I looked at the beer, and they had in the, one of the big hotels near the airport, they had 14 craft beers on tap. So five different IPAs. Of course, they had Terrapin and many others. So that was too fantastic.
Axel Göehler: (37:40)
Personally, in Germany, when the year gets a little bit quieter during fall, it gets cold, chilly here, the fireplace cozy atmosphere, and then have a nice chocolate porter, it’s just something I love. It’s the dark beer. It’s moves and taste. You shouldn’t drink like ten in one evening, maybe one or two is enough because it’s fairly strong, but it’s just fantastic because it’s something which just closes your day and makes you feel at home.
Toby Tucker: (38:11)
Axel Göehler: (38:14)
A little bit depends on the year-end, but that’s one of the nice things about beer. In the Oktoberfest, you want to have light beer, you want to have the opportunity to drink a few more and shouldn’t be a strong, very strong chocolate porter, but in fall or winter time in front of the fireplace, the chocolate porter is just great.
Toby Tucker: (38:29)
Well, you mentioned curly fries. I am definitely a fan of the curly fries. But have you had the opportunity to try the waffle fries?
Axel Göehler: (38:37)
Toby Tucker: (38:38)
Oh wow. Okay. I’m going to have to send you a link to what waffle fries are. I tend to like waffle fries as well. It’s just the shape of them. A little thicker. Yeah. And then what about sweet potato fries?
Axel Göehler: (38:51)
Yeah, I had those. I had those somewhere in Georgia-
Toby Tucker: (38:54)
It’s tough to get crispy. Yeah, yeah.
Axel Göehler: (38:56)
Toby Tucker: (38:56)
But they’re different. A little sweeter.
Axel Göehler: (38:59)
Yeah. I can’t wait to travel back to the US. Usually, I go at least once or twice a year, mostly twice, but I was in February, actually. I was visiting you guys in February, so it’s not been so long.
Toby Tucker: (39:11)
We host a lot of different vendors from around the globe. And some of them come in. And one, in particular, he has to have Buffalo wings. That’s his thing. He got to get Buffalo wings. All right. Final question for you. Running a malting company obviously dominates most of your time, but I know a little bit about what you’d like to do in your free time, but what are some of the hobbies that you most enjoy when you have some downtime?
Axel Göehler: (39:37)
Personally, the things that I do in my free time, they are somehow connected to our business because, as I said, I live 50% of the time I’m in our headquarters in Heidelberg, but the other 50% I’m in one of our malt houses, which is in the countryside. Hunting is a great thing here in the countryside. So we do that a lot.
Axel Göehler: (39:58)
Then we have a couple of horses, which is fantastic, the best way to check on the barley, how it’s [inaudible 00:40:05] and to feel the heat and the temperatures changing and everything is great if you do it on horseback. So it sounds a little bit like a fairy tale, but I really love, especially now during the COVID-19, I took the horses because the stables were all closed, the professional stables closed. And so I decided to take the horses here on our grounds. So that was just fantastic, that you can really feel like a cowboy, because we’re in the middle of nowhere, pretty much in both malt houses.
Axel Göehler: (40:33)
And then finally we breed dogs. We have hunting dogs; we breed and we train them. And this is again something which needs a lot of room. So we have German shorthair. We have a lot of fans in North America for the German shorthair because it’s a very good hunting dog. And we try to breed them in black. Very elegant dogs, very loyal and very fierce. When they like you, if you’re not a wild boar or a deer, then they’re your best friends. But if you are, you better get going. Otherwise, they’ll be behind you.
Axel Göehler: (41:09)
So these are three of the hobbies that we do when we don’t work. But it’s, you work during the day, in the evening, we take the dogs and the horses, and you go out in the countryside, and you just enjoy what nature’s giving you. And very far away from the big cities, which I used to have when I was working with BCG or in my previous career, in the private equity, I spent a lot of time in Dubai and even in the US and some of the big places, but now I just love the family business and the nature and these good things.
Toby Tucker: (41:42)
Fantastic. A lot of our hobbies are the same Axel, minus the horse riding. Most people think, being in Texas, that I ride a horse every day. Not so true. I would quickly be calling 911 if I spend any time on a horse.
Axel Göehler: (41:55)
And do you have a quarter horse, of course, on the back. Quarter horses are …
Toby Tucker: (42:00)
I don’t ride much Axel. That’s why. Again, I would if I had the opportunity, but I’m smack dab in the middle of downtown. I think I would get arrested if I rode around on a horse out here, or they think I’m some kind of crazy man.
Axel Göehler: (42:13)
With the climate change, we have Arabian horses. So they feel the hotter it gets, the more they like it. So great, great horses. But that’s hobby, and it’s a lot of fun. It goes well with the malt business.
Toby Tucker: (42:27)
It absolutely does. Axel, I know it’s late your time. I very much appreciate the opportunity to get to chat with you again. And I very much, very much look forward to the next time we can actually have a beer in person. And I, along with the rest of the team and the Country Malt Group, we appreciate your support and your fantastic product. And for those listeners that want to learn a little bit more about the products we have and some more about BESTMALZ, reach out to us at countrymalt.com or one of the territory managers, and certainly get you some more information on the products and what we can do to get some in your hands. So, Axel, thanks again.
Axel Göehler: (42:59)
Thank you, Toby. And thank you for the efforts. Thanks for our great customers that we really love. And thanks for hanging in there in these a little bit tough times. But it’ll be different. Next year I hope we’ll be talking different.
Toby Tucker: (43:14)
Axel Göehler: (43:15)
Thanks so much, and all the very best to you and your team, and your customers. And thanks for supporting us so much.
Toby Tucker: (43:23)
Absolutely, Axel. Thanks again. Hey, we’re going to take a quick break, but another session of the Whirlpool is coming up real quick. So stick around. It’ll be an interesting listen as well. Thanks again, Axel. We’ll see you.
Axel Göehler: (43:34)
Thank you, Toby.
Speaker 3: (43:48)
BESTMALZ is located in Heidelberg, a picturesque river valley town in Southwest Germany. Best Heidelberg named for its source is a malt that is lighter in color than standard Pilsner malt. It can be used at 100% inclusion. Try it with noble hops for a fantastic traditional German Pilsner-style beer. Ask for Best Heidelberg from Country Malt Group. You’ll find the price point to be agreeable too. Pros.
Toby Tucker: (44:14)
Appreciate everybody sticking around for that fantastic interview with Axel Göehler from BESTMALZ. It’s always interesting to have him on and really a great experience having some time to chat with him. And it doesn’t happen very often. But this session is the Whirlpool. I’m your host again, Toby Tucker. And we have another very interesting guest, whom I’ve never met, by the way, but I’m super excited to talk to them. And I think it’s a good segue in talking about German malts and lagers, if you will.
Toby Tucker: (44:56)
We have the privilege of having Luther Paul of Lakefront Brewing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on with us. Luther, how are you doing today, buddy?
Luther Paul: (45:04)
Hey, I’m doing great. I’m glad to be here.
Toby Tucker: (45:07)
Yeah. Yeah, thanks for coming on. I’m a bit hangry at this point, but I’ll get through it.
Luther Paul: (45:11)
It’s after lunch there, right? Is that right?
Toby Tucker: (45:15)
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll get through it. I’ll get through it. Again, appreciate you coming on. I want to get right to it. You and I have never met, but I’ve heard a lot of good things from folks on our team about you and what you got going on.
Toby Tucker: (45:26)
You’ve been to Germany 20, 25 times, but never to Oktoberfest and Munich?
Luther Paul: (45:32)
That’s correct. Yeah.
Toby Tucker: (45:33)
What brought you over to Germany so often?
Luther Paul: (45:37)
At least a group of people and one person in particular that I travel a lot with over there, but my first trip was for a brau which happens in Nuremberg every year, or it’s actually every three years and then the fourth year’s Drinktec in Munich, that’s sort of a fest. And so I never go to drinktec, which is in conjunction with the Oktoberfest. I always go to brau. And so it’s about a month after Oktoberfest happens. So that’s always kind of my fall trip to Germany. And also, Oktoberfest has kind of happened at the same time, hop selections going on, and GABF is going on. So it’s just kind of a tough time for me to get away. So I’ve been to plenty of other kind of beer festivals throughout the year, but never to Oktoberfest.
Toby Tucker: (46:20)
Yeah. It’s surprising you say there’s other beer fests out there, and nobody really has heard of them.
Luther Paul: (46:25)
Yeah. Yeah. There’s some good ones throughout the year, you know?
Toby Tucker: (46:28)
Yeah. It’s a great place to visit. Well, that’s cool. I’ve never met anyone outside of a resident there that’s been there that many times. Right. So Lakefront Brewery, correct me if I’m wrong, was established in ’87?
Luther Paul: (46:39)
Toby Tucker: (46:40)
And at that point, Milwaukee was already known for some of the big breweries, Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz. ’87 was kind of early on in the craft beer movement. How did Lakefront forge its way into that beer scene with all those big players?
Luther Paul: (46:55)
Yeah, around that time, a lot of the bigger breweries had closed in Milwaukee. Miller, of course, is still remaining, but I believe it was shortly after, I think the mid-90s, ’96, or something that Pabst closed. And that was kind of like the other last one around. Everything else was closed probably in the late ’70s or something. But in the ’80s, you had that time where new kind of craft breweries were opening up. You had Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams on the East Coast, and there’s a bunch of them on the West Coast that were opening. And then in the Midwest in town here, we had, Sprecher opened in ’85, and then two years later, Lakefront opened up here, here in the Riverwest neighborhood. And so there’s a big lager tradition of course in the city. And that’s kind of what both of these breweries were doing back in the ’80s, is the first beers were all lagers.
Toby Tucker: (47:48)
Is that kind of where Lakefront focuses primarily on, on lager, that style?
Luther Paul: (47:53)
Well, these days we kind of do everything which everyone’s looking for all different kinds of styles. And we kind of do that. We have, I’d say that we’re about 50% lagers and 50% ales right now.
Toby Tucker: (48:07)
Luther Paul: (48:08)
So we have a pretty big barrel program, too, that we do. But yeah, some of our biggest selling beers like Riverwest Stein is a lager, East Side Dark is a lager, Lakefront Lagers. And what I’m drinking right now, Oktoberfest.
Toby Tucker: (48:21)
Awesome. We’ll get into more of kind of what you guys are doing specifically regarding the lagers and what you’re brewing with, but I’ve got a note here that Russ and Jim Klisch started-
Luther Paul: (48:30)
Toby Tucker: (48:31)
Yeah, the brewery with a 55-gallon drum and some used dairy equipment. And then kind of-
Luther Paul: (48:35)
That is, that’s true-
Toby Tucker: (48:36)
… as they grew, they kind of cobbled together a bunch of equipment to the extent that somebody referred to them as a Frankenstein brewery.
Luther Paul: (48:43)
Toby Tucker: (48:44)
You guys are doing upwards of what, 50,000 barrels a year now?
Luther Paul: (48:48)
Yeah. We’re doing about high 40s to about 50,000 barrels a year. Yeah.
Toby Tucker: (48:52)
Toby Tucker: (48:53)
Well, how did you arrive on the scene there at Lakefront?
Luther Paul: (48:56)
Well, I’ve been here 16 years. I started in 2004, and I think we moved into this newer building here in ’98, if I’m correct. And when I got here in 2004, there was a lot of that used, not so much the dairy equipment. We actually had a pretty nice roux house that we got from Pennsylvania that has a German heritage to it. But we still were brewing into the three stooges for mentors, which were these horizontal kind of milk tanks that are now outside as a statue, but we were still brewing in those. And we had a lot of horizontal lager tanks going on at the time. And eventually, that stuff all got replaced with conical fermenters. And now we have 32 different conicals that are in place in our cellar.
Toby Tucker: (49:46)
Are you the type of individual that is really keen on using only German malts for that style beer, lager-style beers? I mean, there’s obviously some fantastic North American malts as well.
Luther Paul: (49:59)
I use domestic lager-type malt pilsner. Malts are like our Lakefront Lager; one thing is I like the little color I can get from a certain malt that I’m using. I do appreciate using German malts for very specific styles that are very German in style, like the Oktoberfest. I use all BESTMALZ for that. And I use a little bit in our Maibock, and then, of course, like East Side Dark, which is kind of like a Schwarz beer. It’s a very dark dunkel. So it doesn’t really fit in the dunkel category. And that has us and German malts in it too. It’s all over the board as far as like where I get my malts from.
Toby Tucker: (50:37)
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. There’s more and more options out there. It sounds like, obviously, a lot of brewers are looking, crafters specifically looking for German malts specific for that “authenticity.” There’s something very appropriate about matching the grain source with the beer style, beyond like Munich, Vienna, Pilsner, Dark Wheat, Smoke Malts, we’ve seen an uptick in spelt and chit malt sales specifically at Country Malt Group.
Luther Paul: (51:03)
Toby Tucker: (51:03)
Yeah, yeah. We’re feeling like more and more seed containers of the two coming from BESTMALZ in Germany. And it’s not just for lagers. Spelt in larger inclusions, like up to 60% in chit and smaller, have become kind of the secret ingredients for crappers, for some IPAs, saisons, and sours. Spelt is an heirloom variety, and I’m probably talking, somebody already knows this, but spelt is an heirloom variety of wheat that sure lends a nice grainy wheat flavor to the added benefit of high protein for head retention. And it’s kind of mostly known for its use in Belgian saisons and become popular in-
Luther Paul: (51:39)
Toby Tucker: (51:40)
Yeah. And then, the chit on the other side is made from barley and added for foam stability. Any beer style where staying neutral in flavor is usually like a carapills or carafoam. Chit aside-
Luther Paul: (51:53)
Right, I’ve seen that substituted for carafoam.
Toby Tucker: (51:56)
Yeah. Highly under-modified barley malt produced by sending malt from the germ bed to the malt house. And then to the killing early, before the malt has a chance to fully modify it. So it leaves behind much more proteins in the malt that can be utilized in beer recipes for head retention and lagers or at higher inclusion rates to create hazy beers. And if you’re wondering if I read that? Yes, I read most of that. It’s a script.
Luther Paul: (52:19)
Toby Tucker: (52:21)
No, it’s important that our team, we wanted to get that out there to the group listening, that there are some specialty time. Have you had any experience using spelt and or chit malt?
Luther Paul: (52:32)
I have never used spelt malt before, but I have used chit malt before. And it’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve substituted for, or not necessarily substituted, but I used it as a carafoam type malt, where I was just looking for a little bit more head retention, and I just thought I’d check it out. And it was actually in a specialty batch. So it’s nothing that we use on a regular basis at the moment.
Toby Tucker: (52:55)
It’s funny enough, spelt is not called spelt, and chit is not called chit in Germany. I just found that out today, when I was-
Luther Paul: (53:03)
Toby Tucker: (53:03)
Yeah, exactly. And I was going to ask you a little quiz. Yeah. So chit is spitzmalz and spelt malt is dinkel malt.
Luther Paul: (53:12)
Dinkel malts, yes.
Toby Tucker: (53:12)
Yeah, I heard that, and I started laughing. I’m like a child. Yeah.
Luther Paul: (53:16)
Well, I think it’s common, even the call around here; I think it’s kind of common to call it dinkel wheat for spelt, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I hang out with too many brewers; I don’t know.
Toby Tucker: (53:25)
Yeah. Along those lines and kind of getting off-topic, have you found spending time in Germany, have you come across any other crazy pronunciations of some word that you tend to remember in Germany that’s kind of off the beaten path, it’s a little bit different?
Luther Paul: (53:38)
Yeah. One of my favorites is in the Franconian region; it’s described keller beer. They call it Ungespundet, which is-
Toby Tucker: (53:45)
Luther Paul: (53:47)
Ungespundet, yeah, which a lot of times it’s in a stitch fast, which is similar to what a Firkin is in English, but it’s a gravity keg. A lot of times, that’s what they’ll be serving out of that a beer keller or in a beer room at a brewery. So yeah, Ungespundet. I think [inaudible 00:54:05] even calls it [urbier 00:54:06].
Toby Tucker: (54:08)
Can you imagine, like going to your bar manager or somebody behind the bar saying, “Hey, I’m brewing this beer, and here’s what it’s called, put it up on the board for sale.” Like how they would go about trying to spell that up on the wall.
Luther Paul: (54:19)
Yeah. It’s something that even I have a friend that makes it as Übier in his brewery at home. It’s hard for people to understand that too. So they’re like, “Ooh, beer,” you know? It’s kind of fun to say it, though.
Toby Tucker: (54:36)
Luther Paul: (54:36)
It’s just a big umlaut U, Ooh.
Toby Tucker: (54:39)
Yeah, that sounds good. So before we go, again, I could sit here and talk to you all day, but I want to know if there’s a specific beer, a beer style that you’re enjoying. You mentioned you’re a drinking one now, but is there something that specifically you enjoy as you head into the autumn and kind of what your favorite German sausage and sausage pairing for a beer?
Luther Paul: (54:57)
Well, going into fall, I mean, you have Oktoberfest to start off with. And of course not that I would know because I’d never been there, but Oktoberfest, they tend to serve fest beer, which is a little bit of a lighter version than a Märzen, which a lot of American breweries when they brew Oktoberfest, they’re brewing a Märzen, which has a little bit more Munich and Vienna malts in it and sometimes even a little bit of something darker to kind of give you that amber color or reddish amber color where fest beer is pretty light.
Luther Paul: (55:26)
But after Oktoberfest is over, beginning at the end of October and into November is when [Boxy’s 00:55:33] it is in Germany. This is all like single box. So Starkbier is in spring, which is all your Doppelbock type beer. And then in fall is Bockbier time. And so what they have is called the Bockbier Anstieg, and it’s basically the tap of a Bock, and there are big parties of big breweries that are really, really fun. Usually, there’s tons of food, tons of people. I don’t think they’re going to be doing it this year at all, but tons of beer, tons of food. And then usually some kind of crazy bands playing American music and everyone’s dancing on their tables. But yeah.
Toby Tucker: (56:11)
Nothing wrong with that.
Luther Paul: (56:11)
Yeah. Usually, some kind of bockbier, and then they’ll also have blonde bock is available in November too. Those are the two you’ll see.
Toby Tucker: (56:16)
Gosh. Again, it’s about quitting time for me; get me worked up with it, a nice thirstier. Obviously, the COVID stuff’s kind of got us all down and kind of hunkered down by traveling, but I certainly encourage everybody when this stuff passes over to go into Lakefront and take a trial some of their beers. And for you, Luther, next time you’re out in Germany, when the time comes, yeah, feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll set you up with Axel and his team. They’d love to have you out in Heidelberg and-
Luther Paul: (56:44)
Oh, for sure-
Toby Tucker: (56:44)
… come raise a liter or a moss of beer with them and …
Luther Paul: (56:47)
Yeah, It’s an area that I’ve been meaning to go to. I haven’t quite gotten down into that section of Germany, but it looks interesting. It’s a very nice part of the country too. And Heidelberg is down there, and there’s a couple other towns that are not super huge beer towns, but enough to have some interesting breweries and stuff going on. And it’s just always fun to check out new places, so.
Toby Tucker: (57:09)
Oh yeah, absolutely. So Luther Paul, Lakefront Brewery, appreciate you hanging out with us today, and very nice to meet you by way of the podcast here.
Luther Paul: (57:18)
Okay, great for being here. Thanks.
Toby Tucker: (57:20)
All right. Have a good one. And I appreciate everybody for listening in to this week’s Whirlpool and hanging with us. For the next one, I believe will be out in a couple of weeks for a new one. So we look forward to seeing everybody on the next Whirlpool session. Please join us. Again, I’m your host, Toby Tucker. Have a good one. Cheers.