The land along the mains is a wine-growing region, there is no doubt about it. The numerous breweries in the district show that good beer is also brewed here. And more and more people not only want to drink the beer, but also want to know how the barley juice is brewed: "people are interested in that", assures karl-heinz pritzl, managing director of kauzen-brau.
For this reason, the brewery in ochsenfurt planted a small hop garden seven years ago, directly in the city, not far from its plant. Small but only in the sense of a few plants. For they are tall, the hop plants that can live to be 60 years old. They rise up to seven meters into the air. The same long they can also reach in the other direction, namely with their roots.
Duty becomes pleasure
normally the kauzen-brau gets its hops ready from the well known growing areas like the hallertau or from spalt. In ochsenfurt, it has to be harvested itself. But the obligation becomes more of a pleasure than a duty. Every year there are many volunteers who help out in exchange for the bread that each volunteer receives. "This has almost become a traditional event", karl-heinz pritzl is delighted that so many people turned up again this year. Men and women, old and young, private people and associations, they all came. Sophia, the sugar fairy from ochsenfurt, is also fully committed to the project.
First, the plants are pulled out of the garden. It sounds easier than it actually is. Elmar troll and his colleagues need a lot of momentum and strength to pull down the plants. From there, the hops are brought to the tables, where the hard-working helpers are already waiting to finally get started. Supplied with material, everyone immediately sets about plucking out the hop cones. The cones are the actual carriers of the substances valuable for brewing beer. "The bitter substance lupulin, which is used for beer, is found in the female umbel", explains pritzl.
Once the cones are picked from the long hop bines, they are packed in bags and sent to the hallertau to dry, since the hops cannot be processed in ochsenfurt. From there it comes back again, where the brewers make it into a special variety of beer. At the beginning of november, there will be kauzen beer with real ochsenfurt hops. Wages of mooing become a "more intense hop flavor his, as karl-heinz pritzl revealed. Although the weather was first too wet and then too hot, the brewery is still hoping for a yield of around 500 hectoliters.
A crown for the hop king
to spur the hard-working helpers on a little more, a plucking competition was held again. The aim was to loosen as many umbels as possible within ten minutes and to tip them into a bucket. After the weighing, the person with the largest amount was awarded a barrel of beer. In addition, he was endowed with a crown of hops and appointed king. An incentive that surely spurred the helpers on to high performance.