In my February 12, 2014 posting you may have noticed a few pictures of a small brewing operation in Colombia so I thought it would be a great continuation for this series of posts on the Colombia craft beer scene.
In my travels I was recommended a fascinating little German nook in Cajica about an hour away from Bogota called: Edelweiss Cajica. The name Edelweiss (Edelweiß) relates to a flower which is a symbol for alpinism and which represents rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps and that literally translates to “noble-white”. As the legend goes, such a flower was offered to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage in Bavaria (southern Germany).
Given the symbolism attached to this flower and its ties with the Alps it became a well known symbol with hunters and lumberjacks who established traditions rooted in comradery and gatherings. Every sixth or seventh day they would begin their gatherings with a loud cheer “ein, zweis, gsuffa”
What an aptly named place!
The first few steps into the brew-restaurant reveals a gorgeous garden and beer patio with the restaurant’s name displayed in a big olive green sign. This was part of the restaurant was an expansion that had been done about 6 years ago since the restaurant used to be no more than a small farm house.
Our server immediately and cheerfully welcomed us into the restaurant in his traditional German lederhosen. The attention to detail to this little German nook impressed me a lot and we had not even entered the restaurant yet!
We asked for a small tour of the not-so-small restaurant and brewery which was given by our server and the cook! They showed us a beer tank specifically designed for big events labelled with the restaurants name. In many of the beer festivals I have been I have never seen such a tank so this was surprise!
I had a chance to snap a brief picture of the brewery which I have already presented to you in my February 12, 2014 posting. But I was so mesmerized at the beauty of this room I forgot to snatch a few more pictures.
As soon as you come into the restaurant you stumble upon this curious little platypus-looking little monster encased in plexi glass. I have no idea what the deal is with this but I found it amusing! Its name is the Woibbadinga and its probably related to German folklore so any comments on what it means would be greatly appreciated (there’s websites out there that talk about it, but they are in German)
First pint of the afternoon, a Dunkelweizen style beer.
I used to envy all those people that have gone to Germany for beer tasting trips or for Oktoberfest in Germany because I have never had a chance to do that myself. But I have nothing to envy anymore! People always told me German beer was different somehow; smoother, mellow, yet full of character. I never understood until this beauty hit my lips!
The beer was a deep mahogany brown color with a long-lasting 2 finger eggshell brown head. Aroma had slightly sweet bready character mixed with some bananas. Hop aroma was flowery and extremely well balanced with the ever-so-light sweetness of the malt. The taste followed the nose with a refreshing medium to full mouthfeel. This beer fit in this style category perfectly!
Since this is Colombia we decided to pair this beer with Merengon dessert offered on the menu. Merengon is a common dessert in Colombia comprised of hardened merengue and cream. Edelweiss twist on this dessert option was the addition of beer ice cream, gooseberries, strawberries and papaya which complemented the beers sweetness quite nicely. Sometimes the sweetness of this dessert can be overwhelming but the beer carbonation really helped cut through it. The strawberries acidity worked wonderfully to contrast with the sweetness of the beer.
Next up on my beer list, a Vienna Lagger!
The beer was a deep golden colour with a large white head that remained throughout. Aroma had a gentle toasty quality with very subtle flowery hops. Taste was slightly more balanced towards the sweet malt base with no significant hop bitterness. The beer was crisp but not prickly remaining extremely refreshing throughout. I totally hit the jackpot that day!
By this pint our other dishes had arrived to the table. What better way to pair this beer than with a Kartoffelpuffen (potato croquettes with apple puré) and 2 kinds of German sausage prepared on-site: Thuringer (pork sausage with herbs) and Weisswurst (calf). You can just imagine the amazing contrast between the croquettes and apple sauce with the beer!
The wonderful food and drink was pleasantly accompanied by a musician who played German classics as well as adaptations of Colombian classics. The atmosphere here was full of warmth, good vibrations and conversation!
The restaurant is wonderfully decorated in a traditional German style with 2 floors and plenty of light.
And no Colombo-German restaurant would go without shining its colours (both German and Colombian)
Strangely enough the owners decided they never wanted to commercialize their beers by bottling and selling outside the restaurant. Their goal was to bring a piece of Germany to Colombia and they have pulled this off wonderfully!
I have absolutely no doubt their beers are brewed under the purity law of 1516 (a.k.a. Reinheitsgebot) and you immediately get a sense of the craftmanship and quality that went into designing their beers.
Thank you Werner, Francina y Álvaro Wagner for this piece of German heaven in Colombia!