Five years ago today: “2014 Euro Reunion Tour, Day 6: Sightseeing and Schlenkerla.”

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The 2014 Euro Reunion Tour began on September 10 and lasted through the 23rd. Friends joined us on an itinerary from Berlin through Bavaria to Belgium, and the trip was a lifesaver as well as a life-changer.

Recalling that Bank Street Brewhouse launched in 2009, the trials and tribulations of NABC’s ill-fated expansion kept us from traveling abroad in 2010, 2011 and 2012. To be succinct, it was demoralizing.

By 2013 the indie biz trench warfare had stabilized sufficiently that we made it to England, then in 2014 came the long-awaited return to the continent, one glorious day of which is described here.

The kitchen at BSB had closed in May of 2014, and an effort was underway to shift operations to a taproom model amid mounting disagreement between owners, but in retrospect it seems certain that more than any other single factor the Euro Reunion Tour finally convinced me to begin the transition away from NABC. The business divorce began in earnest at the beginning of 2015

Duke Ellington’s famous assessment: “Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.” For me it’s Europe, not music. Many readers would have guessed beer, but this wasn’t ever the case. It’s deeper than just one aspect.

The brewery expansion project required me to be an American, and I gave it my best, and yet ultimately my heart was lodged elsewhere. We must be who and what we’re intended to be, and I’m a European mistakenly dropped by a drunken stork in flyover America near Louisville.

It’s an existential dilemma, one I’ve been grappling to make sensible since the early 1980s, and the process is okay by me for so long as I’m not compelled to pretend otherwise.

And now, five years ago today … in Bamberg, Germany — probably my favorite city in all of Europe.

The Gillenwaters and the Baylors began the day by hiking to the elevated square where the Dom (main cathedral) rests, facing both “new” and “old” residences of the archbishopric.

Shortly thereafter, Jeff and I discussed matters in the post-confessional rose garden.

Foreshadowing?

Various jaunts on a general theme of sightseeing subsequently occurred. Here’s the monastery on Michaelsberg hill.

Little Venice along the Regnitz.

The much-reproduced old town hall building is astride the narrow river, which flows on both sides of the structure.

And, a bit of clever detail work, visible to the left in the above photo.

At 6 p.m., we met new arrivals Joe and Kris for dinner and smoky treats at the Schlenkerla tavern (to the right, below).

There we met delectable steak tartare with capers, onions, eggs and anchovies (and later, pork shoulder) washed down with the world’s finest smoked lager beer.

More importantly, we met Julius Trum. For an explanation, skip over to my Potable Curmudgeon blog: Schlenkerla’s next generation gets an early start.

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