Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 24th Schneider Brothers Brewery Dinner - On Tap With Susi Hecht

Susi Hecht, Export Director for Schneider Brothers Brewery, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the brewery, beer and our upcoming authentic German dinner on May 24th.

Jimmy says that Schneider Brothers introduced him to great beer. What is it about a wheat beer that you love?

It is not wheat beer in general that I love. I came to like beer and good beer when I started to work for the Schneider family 13 years ago. I don’t like those thin (water -like) mainstream beers that are produced top lease that many people. I like beers that have a rich smell (I don’t drink from the bottle or a can), a full body where you can discover the aromas that need to be well balanced. Our Schneider Weisse Original or the Aventinus have just a slight bitterness in the finish. So, I like these when I am not in the mood for bitterness. The Wiesen Edel-Weisse is a little more crisp and bitter – thus more refreshing.

Germany is almost synonymous to us Yanks as "brats and beer." What is true or false about that perception?

Well, beer is part of daily life. We have a per capita consumption of a little more than 100 litres per person. However, as beer is such a normal part of daily life, people often don’t care too much about their beer. They drink a beer—like water—and that’s it. So, we don’t have a very rich variety of styles and hardly any imports. This is what I like so much about specialty beer markets like Italy and the US. Here, you can talk to people about beer styles, people want to experiment, experience great tastes and beer has a higher standing than in Germany. It is regarded as highly as wine.

Most Americans put fruit slices in their wheat beers. Complement or abomination?

Don’t do this. The lemon slice dominates the whole drink. Formerly, small breweries recommended this to hide their changing quality and to hide off-tastes.

What are you most looking forward to regarding the upcoming Schneider & Sons' beer dinner at Jimmy's No. 43?

I love presenting our beers and talking about the brewery, as we are a brewery with extraordinary beers, a wide variety of aromas and we still use hand-craft in brewing. And, we will present traditional Bavarian food from our Munich restaurant. I selected the dishes and the beer pairings together with Chef Nagel and my husband (who is also a beer sommelier). So, I am curious how people will react. And from other events in the US, I know that people know already a lot about Schneider and I hope I will be able to answer all their detailed questions.

Outside of Germany, is there a country serving up beer you love the (2nd) best?

There are many countries. I travel to about 25 countries for Schneider. Of course, I have to drink Schneider Weisse at the bars to check the quality (especially in hot countries), but I always taste beers from the country and the region. I like the refreshing Lambic Beers from Belgium, beers from Italy and the US where brewers experiment with new ingredients and go to extremes. It is always a question of when you drink, if you are thirsty or relaxing, what kind of food you have, etc.

If you could sit down with an oenologist, what would you tell him/her about the art of beer making?

I like good wine as well, and I appreciate the work of the wine people. To me for wine as well as for beer, you need to make sure you have good ingredients, and you need to work with passion in order to obtain a great product. Beer does not have to be a mass product and can be consumed with appreciation. It fits as well to the good cuisine as good wine does.

Final words…

I am proud and happy to work for Schneider. This is a brewery with tradition and great brewing knowledge. Within the Reinheitsgebot, we produce such a wide portfolio of beers that it is always fun to put together a beer dinner. You can always find a Schneider Weisse that goes perfectly with a dish.