Monday, April 28, 2014

Beer art

I've been working on this for a bit, I've always been a fan of Augustiner so I thought I've redo the bottle cap logo from scratch and switch some colors around to fit with some of their labels. Let me know what you think.

(Click on image. See big big size.)
Is there another color you'd like to see? What's your favorite beer label/logo?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A post about mypole [sic] maypole!

Spring has finally arrived in Bavaria, the birds and the beers, love is in the air, flowers are blooming and soon will come the time to erect some poles. No joke!

I've been asking around about those tall blue and white poles all over town which seem to be associated to beer gardens and no one was really able to give me a proper explanation.


They're called maypoles or in Deutsch Maibaum, which literally translates to May tree. Which reminds me of a funny saying the Germans have: "Mal bist du der Hund, mal bist du der Baum." Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the tree.

Back to the poles! Erection date is usually May 1st and believed to come from Germanic pagan traditions, they're also thought to symbolize the return of summer and growth of vegetation. There's a mention on Wikipedia of phallic symbolism for those of you who thought I was immature. Which I am but erections are nothing to joke about.

(insert Viagra ad banner here)

The signs added to the pole represent the different trades represented in the region. This tradition is also practiced in the Scandinavian countries, the UK, Ireland, Italy and some parts of the States.

If you're interested in learning more about poles or if you have pole related articles you'd like to share first check out this neat Bavarian website.

Check out my blog regularly as I will be posting pictures of poles pre and post (no pun intended) May 1st.
If you want to help me collect poles, send me your local poles via @valleem on Twitter or @coasterbox on Instagram.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014... Let's call it "The Big Day"

Today is the Reinheitsgebot's 498th birthday, in 1516 the beer was only allowed to be produced using water, malt and hops and the purity law stands to this day. Today we celebrate the German National Beer Day. Here are a few interesting facts I managed to find about the Germans and the culture of beer.


When you raise your glass up high and exchange Prosts with your drinking partners always look them in the eyes, otherwise common belief in Germany is that you will have 7 years of bad sex.

The Nation's Favourite

The top five beers in Germany this year are "apparently":

1-Oettinger (discount beer similar to Coors Light, I was told only construction workers drink that one)
2-Krombacher (Official sponsor of the Bundesliga)
3-Bitburger (sold 3.86 million hectoliter, also distributed worldwide)
4-Warsteiner (If you have a beer on a Lufthansa flight that'll be a Warsteiner)
5-Veltins (Also known for the Veltins Arena home of FC Shalke 04)

Anyone else think that this shouldn't be called Nation's Favourite but perhaps Nation's Most Lucrative?

Warum Weisse?

The Weißbier is one of the most known beer type associated to Germany. They have mastered the crafting, the pour, the glass, the head and even the toast. You should always toast a weißbier with the bottom of the glass in oder to shake the sediments from the bottom of your glass toward the top and release the additional flavor into the beer.

A beer a day

It would take you 13 years to taste every German beer at a rate of 1 per day. Bavaria alone is said to have 4000 types of beers.

Was ist das?

Those are beer nails, produced by those ingenious German students, the beer nails were added to their school books to prevent them from directly lying on wet bar tables.

You'll find more interesting facts in this article from a great source of information for the expat in you and a mild source of humor for foreigners. 

But that's not all, FC Bayern Munchen... playing in the Champion's League tonight against Real Madrid, this makes National Beer Day even more exciting, could we ask for more? I don't think so!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I’m religious… again.

I was filling out my new employee form at work and noticed a mandatory “Religion” field. I’m far from being a regular when it comes to religion or religious practice but for the sake of the paycheck I wrote in Catholic. Moments after returning my form to human resources I was summoned in their office only to be told that if I didn't put any religion I wouldn't have to pay the “Religion Tax”.

They have such a thing

On an intern budget I thought the few Euros a month I would save would be great to I left the field blank. A few days later I received a letter from the city of Munich including a form which I had to fill out for my residency. Sure enough the “Religion” field had miraculously manifested itself on that form as well. This time I only had the choice between a bunch of abbreviations each representing a religion. I asked my girlfriend if any of the abbreviations stood for “NO RELIGION”. It was then explained to me that if I wanted to get married in a church (“I” being “WE” and “WE” being a common consensus where one has a veto) along with every other services churches might provide (baptism, confirmation, funeral, etc.) I would have to pay the tax.

Death and taxes

The two things in life one can’t avoid… and mail, if you live in Germany. This week I received a welcoming pamphlet, full-sized, colored pamphlet from my church. Now I know where my church taxes are going. I've heard from a few that this tax is sort of bogus and I don’t see how the church would refuse a “lump sum” or some sort of monetary agreement in order to get married in church. More on that in a post-marital blog entry.

St. Anna im Lehel, Munich

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


They found me! I got a letter in the mail today from the GEZ they want my money, my hard earned fun-sized Euro money. Lucky for me, the girlfriend is already contributing to the GEZ regime so I don't have to, but they still try to getcha!

The GEZ is sort of the television and radio police, it used to be if you owned a tv, computer or radio (including car radio) you would be subject to pay 17,03 Euros monthly. Since 2013 everyone pays, too many people pretended not to have a television and, well, it's 2014 c'mon!

The Germans pay 17,98 Euros for tv and radio stations which are deemed essential, sort of a tax for the right to information. First you buy a television, then most people won't get many channels unless your building offers cable in the price of your rent. The other option is to buy an antenna or some cheaper satellite receptor thing... yeah that! Even then when it's bad weather outside or to many wifis running around the house the reception is often terrible.

What's cool about the car radio is that every now and then you'll get traffic status and accident reports based on your location. It can get annoying if you're listening to a really good cd and just before the solo this guy with a thick German accent comes on just to tell you that the A9 is congested (stau).

I'll be working on an article about how much mail Germans get, this is getting ridiculous, stay tuned and if you meet someone today and have nothing to say to them, why not tell them about my blog and how I write funny anecdotes on my experiences in Germany, because sharing is caring!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

To work or not to work, that is a good question!

For all the curious souls who wonder when the next civic holiday is I present to you an interesting map of the civic holiday for Germany. Most holidays are related to religious events and some are specific to regions of the country, an extensive list can be found here.

If we do a little math... my accountant friends will likely request an edit of this article. Either way if we count an average of 12 civic holidays and take into consideration the fact that most stores, shops and offices are closed on Sundays, that most people have some sort of two day weekend during a week and that the average working German is given 30 days of vacation every year...

An average working German only works 219 days per year.