Year of the Beer Day 15: Astra Arschkalt Beer


Author’s Note: This was written in connection with the beer tasting experiment, which was done on 15 January 2016- the fiftteenth day. 🙂

Day 15 starts off with a nice quote that fits nicely to the winter weather in January. Snow plus beer equals- Arschkalt (icy cold in the tail)! 😉 Astra beer, originating from Hamburg’s suburb of St. Pauli, has its origin from its days known as Bavaria-St. Pauli, when it was established in 1647. Since 1909, the brewery has carried the name Astra, and its slogan “Was dagegen?” (Anything against that), plus its heart-shape logo has been running strong since 2008. Astra is well-known for the younger generation, especially among college students in Germany. One will find them on sale at restaurants, cafés and even small eateries that accompany mainly college students and others ages 30 and younger. More information on its history can be found here.

Like the Lammsbräu, the Astra has gone radical in terms of creative beer flavors, including this one, the Winterfestbeer. Found among the store shelves, I found it at the most perfect time, as it was a couple days before the snowstorm and subsequentially, cold spell which is giving the German fits. How? We had a tropical Christmas and a spring-like New Year’s- so Old Man Winter is no longer invited. He invited himself and we’re freezing our pos off! :-/

Anyway, the Arschkalt is similar to the Glühbier, a mulled flavor beer with spices, only that it is wise to drink it cold to warm up. At least, that was my impression. When drinking the dull, copper-colored beer with a persistent head, one can tell that the aroma and flavor are both super strong, resembling an ale flavor with flavors of grain, toast and nut malts as well as floral and herbal hops and corn flavor. The alcohol content is 5.9% which makes the beer taste not too bitter but herbal. The beer leaves an astringent and somewhat prickly taste when drinking it, yet it is not bitter, like some other brands, leading to the conclusion that the ale product is definitely worth drinking, especially in the winter time.

Grade: 2,0/ B: A solid beer with good craftsmanship, the Astra Arschkalt is not just a winter beer, as seen with some other examples. It has an ale taste that makes the beer part herbal and part bitter. For those with a sweet tooth, this beer is not recommended unless you want a shock to the system to warm up. For those who fancy an ale, it’s perfect for the winter time. And for those who are Astra fans, you can give them the seal approval for a creative mix worth drinking. So without further ado, wasail to winter. Share one with your friends and warm up with some chats and entertainment. Prost! 🙂


FLFI 500 beer


New Ulm, Minnesota


What constitutes a German town in the United States? What architectural features should it have, in order for the town to be “German”? How much of the German language should the town possess? Does the town have to be settled by German immigrants in order for it to be typically German, or does it take one or more persons from a non-German country to take a German name and adopt it? How does heritage play a role in creating a community- what German festivals exists or used to exist in a community? And can a German town survive the changes occuring inside American society by keeping its identity or must the town shed its culture in order to integrate into the melting pot that is predominantly British, Irish, Italian and eastern European (at least in the regions of the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River)?

In my visit to the German villages in Minnesota, I learned that despite the establishments of villages named after German towns, like the usual likes of Hamburg, Cologne, New Munich and Fulda, there is not much German heritage left, for they even disappeared before 1920 because of either the campaign to eliminate German-American culture thanks to American involvement in World War I, the poor logistical locations- many of them didn’t even have a railroad line or had one that had existed for only a short period- or there were either a few German settlers who left for better job possibilities, only for the village to be taken over by settlers of other origins. One can see this with the typical American street and architectural settings, especially in the business district, as seen with New Germany for example:

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While most towns are built on street grids, what is expected from a German community in America is architecture and artistry created by local people either originating from Germany or whose first generation were immigrants. They should have cultural events that are typical of their German heritage, and lastly, there should be traces of German language and literature in schools, at public events and even at home. Even having German classes in school classifies as an example of efforts being undertaken to keep the German heritage in the community. 🙂

And this is why we are looking at the city of New Ulm in the southern part of Minnesota. A little history to go along with the city of 13,300 inhabitants that also is the county seat of Brown County (County is the same as Landkreis, which makes county seat the Kreisstadt in German):

In 1851, a treaty at Traverse des Sioux was signed between the Sioux Indians and the white settlers, allowing the lands south and west of the Minnesota River to be given to the white settlers, and the native Americans were given plots of land north of the Minnesota to live. Three years later, a group of scouts from the Chicago Land Society explored and claimed the region where the Minnesota and Cottonwood Rivers met, and considered the area home. These were German settlers, consisting of Alois Palmer, Frank Massopust, Frederick Beinhorn, Athanesius Henle and Christian Ludwig Meyer. On October 7th, 1854, the name New Ulm was given to the land. The name was decided upon because many settlers who (later) followed the scouts to the region were from the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm in Baden Wurttemberg and Bavaria, respectively. Among the numbers of settlers coming to New Ulm were members of the liberal political group, the Turner Society, who were banished from Europe after the Revolution of 1848. By 1860, over 600 people had settled in New Ulm- almost all of them along the area north of the Cottonwood River and west of the Minnesota River.



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Author’s note: The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles released two articles on the bridges of New Ulm and Ulm. Click on the names and have a look at their history. Both of them are candidates of the 2015 Ammann Awards, which are being voted on now.