Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stone Age Lost

For some beer lovers the title is metonymic with Paradise Lost. I am referring to the proposal of the European Union to ban beer stones. In their mania for regulations (Regulierungswut) Brussels' Eurocrats rarely do any good although many hail their regulation of the micro-USB plug as being the one and only for mobile phones as a successful Befreiungsschlag (act of liberation). According to one estimate the use of a single charger type for all mobile phones of various brands will avoid 51,000 tons of electronic waste per year in the EU. It will be interesting to see how Apple will solve the problem of the unique plug.

Coming back to the beer stones I initially thought that the Eurocrats' argument to ban them was based on their inherent lack of hygiene (the stones I mean). Due to the somewhat rough surface I always considered it more difficult to clean a stone than a glass mug. I had to accept that my idea was far from Brussels' argument: Customers shall be able to check the correct filling of their beer mugs.

They have a point. Red Baron remembers his days in Munich and his evenings at the Oktoberfest. Many visitors did not care about the filling level of their one-liter stones (Maß) but as students with no money to spare we wanted to get our fill. When Zenzi (the waitress, they are all called: Zenzi, schau, dass herkimmst) arrived at our table with those half-filled stones we took a few sips and then went back to the tap where strong men manipulating big barrels were filling them. In shouting and accusing: Schlecht eingeschenkt (badly filled) we always got our stones filled up for the conscience of those filling guys was as flexible as ours.

Admire the richness of beer receptacles in Germany (©Jörg Block Die Zeit)
The practice of schlecht eingeschenkt did not change when the Munich breweries changed their Maß from stones to glasses. Now you clearly see that occasionally there is more foam than beer in the glass. The only positive effect of the change is that glasses are less attractive than stones to souvenir hunters so that now the number of thefts has dramatically decreased at the Oktoberfest.

No comments:

Post a Comment