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September 2008

German-American Friendship month started with Gemütlichkeit

German-American Friendship Month kicked off last Friday with a colonial feast and beer tasting sponsored by the German/Bavarian brewery Hofbräu at New York's oldest Restaurant Fraunces Tavern.

Dr. Michael Möller, Lars HalterAt the restaurant where George Washington had bid farewell to his Continental generals, the guests of the sold-out event could experience a bit of the Munich Hofbräuhaus, the original location of the brewery Hofbräu and now one of the most famous restaurants in the world.

Professor, Dr. Jeffrey Gaab from Farmingdale University, is himself a fan and published writer of the world-renown Hofbräuhaus, and explained what makes it so special: "When you sit in the Hofbräuhaus and have a beer there, it does not matter who you are or where you're from, you and your neighbour are friends" explains Gaab, who spent a year pursuing his doctorate in Pavel PasquellMunich the year the Berlin Wall came down. "I saw American officers, people from East Germany and Russian soldiers sit with each other. There you really feel what is meant by the German term Gemütlichkeit - a general feeling of sharing with others in something fun!

Gaab is an expert in the history of beer and the sponsoring brewery of that night. Originally starting out with only a white and a brown beer, Hofbräu was the first brewery ever to offer the popular drink to the general public - not just to monks or royalty. The duke who found the brewery also was a marketing expert and established a monopoly on his favorite brews. Today, this is not the case any more. Hofbräu offers a variety of ten different brews. The guests at Friday's dinner were able to try five of them, light and dark, some surprisingly hoppy, starting with a wheat beer accompanying the salad, and ending with the slightly sweet Maibock served with a choice of Apple Pie or Bread Pudding.

Paul Toebelman, Joe Greeco, Eric HoffmanGerman beer, according to Gaab, is the best in the world because of the first and oldest food regulation in the world, the German purity law from 1516. Although it was replaced in 1987, most German breweries follow it to this day. Originally, it was installed to avoid sickness caused by dirty water. According to the new law, only fresh water directly from the Alps or a spring should be used for brewing.

Today, it's not only the purity law that makes German beer so special. Drinking beer with friends expresses the concept of Gemütlichkeit like nothing else.

This spirit could be experienced at Fraunces Tavern last Friday. The guests cheered, laughed and sang together. Some were in typical Bavarian attire, Lederhosen and Dirndl-dresses. Dr. Michael Möller, CEO of Hofbräu, who had flown in from Munich for this evening, did not miss the Hofbräuhaus, but many New Yorkers are determined now to once in their lives visit the famous restaurant at the Platzl in Munich.

The German-American Steuben Parade takes place on September 20th from 63rd Street to 86th Street on 5th Avenue. The Parade Committee also organizes various events throughout the month of September, which was declared German-American Friendship Month in the City of New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


German-American Steuben Parade Committee • P.O. Box 3386 • Church Street Station • New York, NY 10008 • Tel. 347-454-2269 • Email: