Food & Drink
EVENT PREVIEW: Loreley’s German Winter Beer Tasting – January 29, 2014 [NYC]
by Casey Feehan
What are you doing this Wednesday evening? If your night doesn’t include going to Loreley’s Winter Beer Tasting, then we think you should reconsider your plans! On January 29th, to help celebrate the arrival of their seasonal winter brews, your favorite LES beer hall is offering a night filled with tastings of 7 different German beers, 3 delicious courses, and the sparkling personality of beer expert Rudi Eilers, who is on hand to host the event.
For just $35, you’ll sample classic German brew styles including kölsch, helles, and dopplebock, and feast on sausages, kraut, and black forest cake, all prepared by the Loreley kitchen. Treat yourself or grab a bunch of friends and come as a group: everything (except tip) is included in the ticket price, so head on over to the website to snag a spot for what promises to be a fantastic night!
We were lucky enough to catch up with Rudi and Loreley’s General Manager, Doug Jacobson, in two separate interviews. Doug has been with Loreley for 5 years, starting as assistant manager and working his way up to GM, learning everything he could about German beers along the way. His passion for the brews and desire for everyone to share in the joy of a good pint is apparent everywhere, from the care he puts into selecting the restaurant’s drafts, to training his staff, and in creating these tasting events.
Rudi and Loreley’s owner, Michael Momm, met years ago, bonding over their shared heritage (Rudi is from Bonn, Germany, located next to Cologne, where Mr. Momm grew up), and love of beer halls. After working as Beverage Manager in Loreley’s earlier days, Rudi saw an opportunity to use these tastings as a way to grow the public’s interest in German food and drink. Also a wine expert – he’s an instructor at The Sommelier’s Society of America – it’s clear that Rudi and Doug just want to make us all a little more knowledgeable about what we’re drinking, and to be sure we’re having a good time doing it. Here’s what they have to say on what we can expect from Wednesday’s tasting:
Rudi, how did you get involved with these tastings at Loreley?
Rudi: Michael had done one of these beer tastings before I came onboard, and when he wanted to do it again, (I thought) we could do things differently: we could actually explain something about beer. We could tell people what beer is, how it’s made, why are there different styles, what are the different styles… And one of the fun things about German beer is you have a great variety; you have all the regional and seasonal beers, and you can explain all that stuff and really make an evening with tastings. We can do 7 completely different beers and people will really learn something. But I got into it because talking about beers isn’t that much different from talking about wines. The idea of what you’re tasting, and why they’re different, and explaining that is very much the same. That’s how it all started, and they’ve all been wonderful evenings. The nice thing about doing this with beer is that you don’t spit beer like you do wine tastings, so it can get a little rowdy and you know, people have a lot of fun.
Doug: As far as I know Rudi’s done all of them: every single one for 10 years. I think there was one – one time where we needed somebody else because Rudi was unavailable – and let’s just say we’ll probably never do that again (laughs).
We don’t talk about that? Strike it from the record! So, what’s it like collaborating on these events with Rudi?
Doug: We pick the beers together – he lets me think that I have a say – but we always like to start with the Gaffel. Gaffel is a kölsch-style beer from Cologne, Germany (that’s the kind of bar we are, a Cologne-style bar). We also want people to taste different kinds and find what they like, because everybody likes something different. When you come to Loreley, it’s important to us to ask what styles of beer do you like – light, dark, wheat – and we try and find one that you’ll enjoy. It’s the same process in picking the beers (for these tastings). We try and find a variety – so we have a kölsch, a pilsner, a wheat beer, and because of the seasonal beers that we have now, we have a couple of seasonal beers that we’re offering.
What do you want the guests who are attending to take away from these tastings?
Rudi: First, we want to make sure that they are having fun. Second, that (the guests) have an appreciation for the beers that they taste and that they like them. The thing is, I don’t think anybody will like all 7, and that’s not the idea. There will be certain beers, where you know, if you like 1 and 2, then you might not like number 6, because it’s completely different. But the differences are interesting, and what I want them to take away is this: the next time they go to a German restaurant, that they have an idea of the styles. That they know, if it says Kölsch, or Helles, or a wheat beer, that they know: this is what that’s going to taste like. It’s fantastic if you know that. It’s the same in the wine world. They go into a wine store and they’re intimidated. You can take that away with knowledge, of course! That’s what I hope that people take away from it. Other than that it should also be fun. And I love it when people take notes: I see it and I think, “Now it’s fun for me.”
Doug: Most importantly, we want them to have a good time. It doesn’t hurt if they learn a little bit about German beer, of course! We want them to know about our products, what we carry, and also, like I was saying, to find one that they like – or five, or six that they like. One of the things I like to see is people trying something they didn’t know or weren’t expecting to like, and they walk away loving it. One beer in particular that I would point out is the Köstritzer – it’s a dark lager, and what’s really interesting about that beer is, typically anyone that would say they don’t like dark beer, I would try and convince them to give that one a shot. You get the brewing style of a lager, but the beer itself is just a little bit lighter. It has those chocolaty, dark coffee flavors, but it’s also a light beer and easy to drink. So I like to sneak that one in on people.
What have past events been like? Any stories?
Rudi: There’s one German guy who’s been to all of them, I think. It’s fantastic. One table, right here, while I was in the middle of talking they all started singing a drinking song. The whole table. People have a great reaction to these events. They really get into the spirit of things.
We’re really looking forward to spending an evening knocking back a few brews with these guys, so don’t miss out and get your tickets today!