The historic Riverkasematten is to officially reopen on June 8, 2017 as “ÜberQuell” and become a mix of microbrewery, pub and pizzeria on Hamburg’s Fischmarkt. Hamburg News has already glimpsed the local where new beer taps have been installed.
The publican Axel Ohm noted: “They are really good and will keep for a long time.” Quality is the cornerstone of “ÜberQuell” which is set to breathe new life into the historic Riverkasematten. Built in 1865, the building once housed a warehouse, served as an air-raid shelter and became famous as a jazz haunt. The chequered history of the St. Pauli building can be rediscovered in a small museum as part of the new concept. Master brewer Tobias Hess, formerly of Weihenstephan brewery, and head chef Yasmin Ambo Masse are backing Ohm and his fellow manager Patrick Rüther, who led the Altes Mädchen brewery in Schanzenhöfen to success.
Microbrewery, pub and pizzeria to be combined with art and history
The name, ÜberQuell, is not the only new aspect. A microbrewery, pub, pizzeria, a small museum about beer and the history of the location and plenty of art have been added to the concept. “We are an outpost of the Millerntor Gallery,” said Ohm. Artist friends have designed the menu and decorated the walls. Yet other friends will be responsible for diverse stage events and “naturally our friends will be tapping the beer,” Ohm stressed. Five types of beer will be served fresh and straight from the tank. “We will also be serving different beers in every month and season which are suitable for beginners and more advanced drinkers,“ Ohm promised. Even though craft beers will still be produced there, “Überquell” will not be catering solely to beer geeks and will instead “be a place for experiencing the diversity of beer.”
Unusual craft beers – role of women in brewing history
Craft beer breweries generally emphasise quality, flavor and regional brewing techniques – unlike industrially brewed beer. The artisanal beers have distinct tastes and range from fruity to chocolate and spices and even lobster and oyster.
Women enjoy trying out different beer tastes and “have so far been ignored as a target group in the beer business,” said Ohm. Yet women have always played a major role in beer production. Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer. (Sumeria was a historical region of southern Mesopotamia in modern-day southern Iraq.) Hops are dioecious and can have separate male and female plants. In that era, only female hops were used to brew beer for which women were traditionally responsible as well as supplying bread to the household. But mistakes could have disastrous and fatal outcomes. In 1591, the last beer witch was burnt at the stake. “Beer is a sensitive product and some attempts at brewing went awry in the Middle Ages.”
People in Hamburg are among the earliest brewers of tasty, lasting beers. “They went all over the world and earned premium prices. Beer from Hamburg was world class,” said Ohm who is bent on rekindling this tradition. All going well, he would eventually like to export beer to Italy, France, the Netherlands, China and the United States and all other beer-loving countries.
Learning to brew beer – passing on brewing skills
And as the duo is also keen to pass on this tradition, Ohm and Rüther have set up a meeting room in the brewery to train their own staff. Companies in all kinds of sectors are invited to come and watch them at work. Rooms can also be rented for meetings. Ohm and Rüther are also part of the German Leaders Club – a network of caterers who like trying out new ideas with the aim of “putting the future on the table today and making it easier for newcomers to access this wonderful, but not quite simple sector,” said Ohm.
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