wir sind die meister, mein freund


Weihenstephaner (literally ‘Holy Steve’) is one of my preferred Bavarian beers. About six years ago my wife and I visited Bavaria and drove around (well, my wife drove, while I spoke German and made old ladies giggle), and I loved all the local Bavarian beers. Every town we visited sold it own local beer, brewed locally, with very few big commercial beers available, for which I was very grateful. I remember I had one particularly nice beer in Schliersee, with one of the nicest roast duck meals I’ve ever had. One brewery we visited was on the outskirts of Munich, calling itself the oldest brewery in the world: Weihenstephaner. It’s at an abbey, and they have been brewing beer since the 8th century, though their brewery founding date is officially in the 11th century. On that day I tried a ‘Kristallweiss’ beer, and that’s what I had last night when I sketched this.

My reasons for wanting to visit the brewery back then were linguistic: I had recently written an essay for my Master’s (one of my courses was in Germanic Philology) based largely around the competing influence of both Anglo-Saxon and Gothic on Old High German, focusing on the words for holy, ‘heilig’ and ‘weih’, the latter being from the Gothic. If you’re interested, the Anglo-Saxon influence won the day for the most part (not surprising as the German patron saint, St.Boniface, was English), but I wanted to go somewhere which still used the Gothic word. I was a big Wulfila reader back then.

Anyway, a new shop opened in Davis recently, the ‘Davis Beer Shoppe’ (quite why it needs the ‘pe’ at the end of ‘shop’ is unclear) and I was pleased to see that they had my favourite Weihenstephaner beer. I still have some Hefe glasses from Bavaria (this one in fact was given to us by a talkative lady called Hildi, the now sadly passed friend of my wife’s German grandmother, in her home town of Ingolstadt. That day, I learnt a lot about the Bavarian language!).

While drinking this beer, I noticed something. The Hefe glass reminded me very much like the World Cup, which probably explains why Germans are so accustomed to lifting it. Interestingly enough, after a few of these, one tends to come over all Klinsmann and start falling over easily…