Question Tag

question tag

Dialog- a concept where two or more persons converse over topics that are of interest. It does not necessarily have to do with trying to find solutions to conflicts that are bothersome to both parties. It does not have to do with cheering or booing teams. It has more to do with having a discussion to find and expand interests, views and other personal traits that the parties have in common with a goal of establishing friendships (or in some cases, relationships) and exchanging ideas for the good.  Hans Küng stressed using a dialog as a tool for finding common values among religions when he initiated the Global Ethics project in the 1990s, much to the dismay of priests of his own Catholic Faith. Samuel P. Huntington in his last book Who We Are, argues for compromise through dialog in order for the United States to come to terms with the influx of immigrants, especially from the south. Francis Fukuyama claimed in his thesis The End of History that the new era offers a chance for mankind to develop a universal form of civilization which includes the quest of similar values and compromise via dialog.

But dialogs do not necessarily have to concentrate on politics, religion and personal views alone. It has more to do with breaking down barriers that confines us and keeps us from reaching out. This can include language barriers, cultural and religious differences, and even personal differences, all of which are avoidable if we have the will to find a medium ground to start off with. :-)

And this is where this activity comes to mind. It’s called Question Tag. Useful in not only foreign language classes, but also in general classes in school as well as in other education institutions, Question Tag (short, QT) offers students and/or parties an opportunity to break the ice right away and start a conversation by asking the other person a question of interest before eventually spreading it around. The main goal of this game is threefold, speaking from experience:

  1. For foreign language education, QT offers the students an opportunity to show their language skills, including vocabulary and skills involving asking questions, while at the same time, acquire additional vocabulary and other skills by listening and involving themselves in the conversation.
  2. For other topics, QT can enable a thought-provoking discussion to find out the views of others, while generating other questions and thoughts that may be useful and fruitful for the discussion. This includes specific topics, like the refugee crisis, or the US Presidential Elections, but also general topics, such as involvement in clubs and associations, interest in technology and even sports.
  3. Students can benefit from QT by getting to know the other one and his/her interests. This is especially useful if one or two members in the group are exceptionally shy and not forthcoming in the conversation. And as dumb as it may be, it is useful for group projects that involve people of different backgrounds and personalities, regardless of whether the project is related to work or the university.

The object of the game is simple: Each participant receives five index cards (Karteikarten in German), regardless of size, and a pen. The participant must then write down five questions that he/she has, then turn them over so that no one else can see. It’s like a poker game but more discreet. 😉

Please note that the questions must not be too personal and not too biased. So questions involving sex life and dating, as well as views on xenophobia (as examples) should be refrained altogether. But questions involving hobbies, childhood memories, first crush on a person, favorite pet are ok, if formulated appropriately.

Once the questions are written down, place them in the center of the table face down and mix them up. Then, one person chooses a card and the target person, and asks the question. After the target person answers the question, others can join to share their answers and views based on the question.

Nothing to it. :-)

The game is open as a one-to-one but you can include as many people as you see fit. The beauty of this game is that anyone can play and it can be played in various languages. That means even people seeking refuge in Europe can play this to learn a new language, as well as those hosting them, who are interested in learning their language, like Persian and Arabic. :-)

Question Tag serves as a starter to breaking down barriers that keep two people or parties apart. The worst a person can do is either strengthen the barrier or try breaking through to impose ideas and rules onto the other. This is where conflicts have prevailed regardless of which level. It is even more painful, if the conflict deals with language differences or even differences in culture and the way of life. Conflicts can be avoided if a middle path is found and the parties can have a peaceful co-existence. That is why dialogs are important and with that, asking about one’s interest and the way of handling people. Sometimes a question is free and can get a person somewhere- to establishing a good working relationship or even friendship. Blocking someone out is not the answer, a dialog is. And this game is one that can get a dialog going. And eventually, with a dialog, barriers can fall and a middle ground can be found and the misunderstandings can be eliminated. If you have a problem with a person or group, perhaps you can try this someday. After all, all conflicts have a solution that involves a dialog instead of a blockade, right?

That’s what I thought. 😉

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Year of the Beer: Ur-Saalfelder Dark Beer


Day 35 of the German beer marathon, and I’ve decided to open this entry up for forum, especially with regards to this candidate, the Ur-saalfelder.  This beer is produced by the brewery located in the southern Thuringian city of Saalfeld, located 40 kilometers south of Jena along the Saale River. There is a unique history behind this brewery, but there is another beer produced by the same brewery that will be tasted later on, and I intend to play the mosquito and suck the information out of the people at the brewery about that and this beer! 😉

The Ur-saalfelder represents an example of a typical “Märzenbier” which if translated, means strong dark beer. This terminology is cloudy because it can be mistaken for a “Schwarzbier,” which also means dark beer, but with a black color and in most cases, with a strong alcohol content. So the translation and definition alone are rather confusing. In the case of the Ur-saalfelder, the beer is not as dark as it is described, for the beer has a copper-like color, a decent clearness, a persistent head, very lively carbonation and a thick full body. The alcohol content is between 5.7 and 6%, and when drinking it, it has a slickness to it, coating the mouth, and leaving an everlasting taste to it.

However, as far as aroma is concerned, despite its rather sweet smell thanks to bread malt and floral hops, the aroma levels are rather low, meaning one can hardly smell it when opening it up. The flavor on the other hand is a bit different. When tasting it, the Ur-saalfelder has at least four different malt flavors (grain, bread, sweet and toast) and is quite hoppy with herbal and floral dominating. The end result is a clash between sweet and bitter, creating a strong intensity where it is unknown what exactly is in there and what ingredients outdo the other. Nevertheless its excellent craftmanship combined with its balance between neutral and bitter has this beer becoming a tasting experience one should try, and one where a lot of questions are open and need to be answered, such as:

  1. What is the real difference between a Schwarzbier and a Märzenbier, when both mean dark beer?
  2. What are the exact ingredients in the beer? Are they what was sensed while drinking or are there different/additional ones ?
  3. Is having too many hops and malt flavors really that good for the beer?

To our German and/or beer experts, this one is for you to answer, even if it means trying the Märzenbier like the Ur-saalfelder to figure it out. So go for it and let the author know what you think. :-)

And as for the people at the Saalfelder Brewery, I’ll be back! 😉

Note: Click on the logo below to take you to the beers that author has tasted so far, so you can try and comment on them…..

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Lights Out for Hamburg Handball Team

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Hamburg SV leaves German Handball Bundesliga because of Concourse and License Revocation. Legal Action expected.

HAMBURG- There is an old saying that describes the mentality of the European sports leagues: “Money makes the world go round.” If there is no money to operate a team, the team folds. Teams go up and down the elevator model, where promotion to higher tiered leagues and demotion lower tiered leagues are not only based on the performance of the players, but also the financial health of the club. If one puts the American basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers in the equation, that team would have folded by now. The fortunate part is in case of hard times like the basketball team is going through, the league steps in to take ownership, reshape the club and look for a new owner to replace the one ousted for the inability to operate the team properly, especially in financial terms.

For the German professional handball team, Hamburger SV, the management is probably wishing that the American model was in place right now. The HSV has shut down operations this evening after receiving word on Wednesday that the team has lost its license to compete in the Premere League for the rest of the season. Furthermore, they will not be allowed to apply for the first or second tiers of the Bundesliga, thus putting them in the local league. The reason behind this was a snowball effect which has been in the making for well over a year. It started with a deficit, followed by the withdrawl of the main sponsor Andreas Rudolph, who had promised to invest 2.5 million Euros ($3.3 million) into the team, according to information from German public radio station NDR. The team was unable to come up with 2 million Euros at the end of the first half of the season. As a consequence, HSV filed for bankruptcy in December due to not enough liquidity to finance the remaining games of the season and the players. The German Handball Bundesliga revoked its license on Wednesday as a consequence, and the reaction was enormous. While almost all of the players have left the team, the revocation and as a result, the decision to shut down the Premere League team today will have negative repercussions on the league, as many teams hosting HSV in the second half of the season will have to recall the tickets, resulting in massive losses. Some of the teams, including Berlin, Minden and even Flensburg are considering legal actions against the now defunct team, demanding compensation for damages.

Hamburg’s demise is not the first in German or even American sports. Its exit from the top league is the first in handball since 1990. Yet its fall from grace is the first in German sports since the soccer teams of Kickers Offenbach and Dynamo Dresden. Offenbach was delegated to the regional league from the 3rd tier of the Bundesliga after the 2013/14 season for insufficient funding to continue in the upcoming season. Yet the last fall from the top came in 1995, when the German Soccer Federation denied the request of Dynamo Dresden to play in the 1st and 2nd league, thus forcing the eastern Saxony team to play in the regional league. That team is currently in first place in the 3rd League and is knocking on the door to its return to the 2nd League for the first time since 2014. On the American front, most of the teams folding due to financial issues came in the women’s basketball league, WNBA. The last casualty was the Sacramento Monarchs in California, where despite winning the WNBA championship in 2005, the team disbanded in 2009.

However, like this team as well as the Cleveland Browns in American football (which went on hiatus from 1996-99), handball in Hamburg will eventually return to national stage. While the Premere League team, which won the Bundesliga championship in 2011 and the Champions League in 2013, is officially disbanded, despite its current 4th place finish, HSV’s junior team is making its way to the third tier in the handball food chain with its lead in the state league standings. Because the HSV sports organization will not be affected by the sudden destruction of the Premere League handball  team, the junior team will have a chance to fill in the footsteps of the fallen dinosaur. If successful and if management can build a fan base and good sponsorship from companies in the free city, chances are that handball will return to national stage before 2020. It is highly unlikely that despite the potential legal actions, HSV will disappear and not return, like it happened to Saxony Leipzig in 2012. It would be too cruel to the city of nearly 2 million that has a popular Bundesliga soccer team. It will just be a few years before handball returns to national stage, and with that, a bigger fan base that will stay loyal until the very end. Just ask the fans of the Cleveland Browns, let alone the people in Sacramento, who are working to bring back the Monarchs to women’s basketball. :-)


For more on the latest with HSV, please follow NDR whose link is here.


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Year of the Beer Day 17: Pilsner Urquelle

pilsner urquelle

Author’s Note: While the Urquelle was tasted on 17 January, 2016, the article is a bit late to allow the readers to complete the Guessing Quiz, which you can see here. This article will feature the answers to the history of the Pilsner.

The pilsner. While beer has been popular since 9500 BC, according to record, the pilsner beer is one of the youngest brands that has existed. First brewed in the mid-1800s, the pilsner was first crafted in response to the need for a beer that is filtered and has a clear color. Prior to that, the beer was top-fermented, creating a dark color but also poor quality. That changed in 1842, when the first batch was introduced. Since then, the pilsner has become one of the most popular beer brands in the world, where almost every brewery has crafted a pilsner. This includes those in Germany, some of which will be tasted in the series.

A week ago I introduced a Guessing Quiz on the origin of the pilsner, and in particular, this beer: The Pilsner Urquelle. I feel before introducing my taste-testing article on the beer that the answers should be given to provide the reader with a little history on it. So without further ado, let’s have a look at the answers and some facts:

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  1. Pilsner beer originated from the town of Pilsen. True or False?   ANS: TRUE. The town of Pilsen first introduced the pilsner to the public on 5 October, 1842.
  2. It was located in Germany in the state of Schlesia. True or False?  ANS:  FALSE.  Pilsen is located in the Czech Republic in what used to be called Bohemia. Prior to 1918, Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) Empire. The only time it was part of Germany was when Adolf Hitler completed the conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1938. Germany held that region until 1945.  Otherwise it has been under Czech Rule ever since, counting the Velvet Divorce in 1993.
  3. The beer that made the pilsner famous no longer exists. True or False?  ANS: FALSE. Since its introduction in 1842, the Urquelle has been brewing and selling beer to much of Europe. This despite the fact that it is now owned by SAB Miller.
  4. The inventor of the pilsner originated from Saxony. True or False?  ANS: FALSE.  Josef Groll, a Bavarian from Vilshofen, was commissioned to improve the quality of the beer in 1840. Little did he realized that he invented the pilsner two years later.
  5. Michelob beer in the USA has a pilsner brand.  True or False?  ANS: FALSE. Even though many American beers, like Coors, Pabst and Grain Belt craft pilsners (or similar), Michelob produces only lagers, ales and draft beers.
  6. ….and so does Radeberger in Germany.  True or False?  ANS: TRUE, and I have that on my beer to taste list- so, later…. 😉
  7. What is the most important ingredients of a pilsner?  ANS: the hops. When first produced in 1842, the Saaz hops was used for flavor and aromatic purposes. It is still used for the Urquelle today. As the water is hard, most German beers in the northern half use citrus-hops in larger quantities than those in the southern half, where the water is soft. Most hops are either herbal or citrus like, which creates a bitter taste.
  8. What constitutes an Ur-Pils? What is the difference between that and the original pilsner?  Ur means original, and while there is no information on the real difference between the Ur-Pils and the Pils, one can speculate that the Ur-Pils is brewed traditionally, which means top-fermentation and in open barrels, thus leaving it unpasturized and unfiltered, whereas pilsners are fermented in tanks and filtered, giving a clear appearance when pouring it.
  9. What is understood as an Öko-bier (organic beer)? ANS: An organic (or bio) beer is produced using grain and barley that are untreated and not sprayed with pesticides, and the beer is crafted using ingredients that are natural.

More information on the pilsner will come as the beers are being drunk and tasted.

But looking at the Pilsner Urquelle, one can see that the beer still has its charactristic pilsner taste and appearance. The Ur-quelle has its original appearance of it being unfiltered and unpasturized, presenting a cloudy, amber color. Its head is great, carbonization is lively and the body has a medium appearance. Part of it has to do with the soft water that is common and being used to this day for crafting purposes. Both the aroma and flavor have a strong intensity, whose balance is between good and sharp. The main ingredients are grain and nut malt as well as herbal and some citrus hops. The beer had a great freshness and upon drinking it, one can tell that the craftsmanship is great, thus receiving high ratings on the part of the author.

Grade: 1,3/ A: The Pilsner Urquelle still keeps brewing its pilsner, and it should do that, as the beer has set an example for other beers to follow, and sometimes experiment, What used to be unfiltered beer with poor quality that had to be dumped, the Pilsner Urquelle has remained the focal point and basis for a typical pilsner (or in this case, ur-pils) that a person should try while in Germany. While the Urquelle is difficult to find in stores in Germany, it is worth looking for while in Germany. And once you taste it, you have Josef Groll to thank! :-) <3

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In School in Germany: How to Live in Co-existence

The other day, as I was heading to lunch, I happened to find a rather interesting flyer on one of the tables in the cafeteria. Apart from the organization’s purpose of recruiting new people, the question was quite simple. Have a look:


In the time where many people from these groups are looked down upon because of their appearance, profession, socio-economic and cultural background, intelligence, psychological forthcomings, nationality and personality, we really need to ask ourselves how we are treating them: specifically, how our actions and words have hurt the other one, how we interact towards them, how much knowledge we have on the person and his/her background, how we can solve conflicts of interest and find compromises to bring ourselves to the middle,….

and lastly, how we can find a peaceful co-existence? What does the other one want and what do we want? How can we find the middle and get along, at least?

Therefore, I would like to ask you to think about the following questions and ask yourself:

  1. How do you usually interact with someone you have never met before?
  2. What efforts do you undertake to get to know the person?
  3. Would you learn about the person’s background and culture?
  4. Were you ever in a conflict with that person and how did you solve it?
  5. Did you ever break off ties with the person and if so why?  Do you regret it?
  6. Have you worked in organizations and/or with groups of people of similar features as the person you encountered?
  7. If the person or another person of a similar background would be in trouble, would you provide help or look away?

Even better is when you choose one group and an experience you had with a person(s) from that group and share that with your partner in class. This way you can exchangvarious be your thoughts and ideas, as well as come up with solutions to the probelems you experienced. Through this form of communication and exchange, you can sometimes find that your actions towards a person of a different culture may be be responded differently and cause potential misunderstanding. But when talking about it with someone or joining a club one will get a wider perspective and henceforth will eliminate some of the barriers that had existed before. In many cases, when interacting with a person from a different culture or with a different background, by offering your hand in help and peace in exchange with that of the other makes a big difference when it comes to clearing any misunderstandings that had occurred before.

To close, there is one quote to keep in mind and that is this: How can we deal with people of various backgrounds?  We can be as ignorant as Donald Trump, who chooses to follow Adolf Hitler in his quest to cleanse the US of all Muslims, while getting the weak and ignorant to follow him. Or we can go our own way and be like Hans Küng, who believed that the best solution to all cultural conflict is dialog and openness. While politics is all about running a system dependent on money, this system is run by the people. And it is we  the people, who  have a say in how we run our lives and befriend those who want to befriend us.



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Genre of the Week: Do It Anyway by Robert Griffith III

Photo by Robert Klemko

This Genre of the Week starts off with two ironic comments: Respect is earned through hard word, however there are times when your efforts are fruitless, and the best solution to win happiness is to move to greener pastures. Sometimes when people commit errors, people disregard it, saying “Shit happens. You’ll do better next time.” While others, obsessed with perfection, discard the person for one small mistake because he/she is not perfect.

In the case of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffith III, he fell into the category of the latter on both counts. Once the darling of the football organization when drafted in 2012 due to his athleticism and speed (as seen in the video example below), he is now on his way out of the organization, heading to another one- or even a different future. After a severe knee injury at the end of the 2012 season, he struggled under pressure from the players, coaching staff and the fans, being scrutiinized for one small error after another, until he was benched for all of the 2015/16 season. After Washington’s playoff loss to Green Bay, RGIII packed up his belongings and headed out the door- for the last time. However, he left this note, a poem based on one written by Kent W. Keith entitled The Paradoxical Commandments, showing humbleness and encouragement to his teammates. It’s opposite of bitterness, which many people react to, and more like leaving a mark at an organization that no longer has no place for him. If this is a way of saying good-bye, it is one of class, and one for others to follow when they feel down and have the need to move on.

And for that, this is the Genre of the Week with one comment to RGIII: Good luck in your future endeavors. You’ll find a perfect home to prosper as a player and develop further as a man of morals. It can only go uphill from there……

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New Ulm, Minnesota


What constitutes a German town in the United States? What architectural features should it have, in order for the town to be “German”? How much of the German language should the town possess? Does the town have to be settled by German immigrants in order for it to be typically German, or does it take one or more persons from a non-German country to take a German name and adopt it? How does heritage play a role in creating a community- what German festivals exists or used to exist in a community? And can a German town survive the changes occuring inside American society by keeping its identity or must the town shed its culture in order to integrate into the melting pot that is predominantly British, Irish, Italian and eastern European (at least in the regions of the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River)?

In my visit to the German villages in Minnesota, I learned that despite the establishments of villages named after German towns, like the usual likes of Hamburg, Cologne, New Munich and Fulda, there is not much German heritage left, for they even disappeared before 1920 because of either the campaign to eliminate German-American culture thanks to American involvement in World War I, the poor logistical locations- many of them didn’t even have a railroad line or had one that had existed for only a short period- or there were either a few German settlers who left for better job possibilities, only for the village to be taken over by settlers of other origins. One can see this with the typical American street and architectural settings, especially in the business district, as seen with New Germany for example:

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While most towns are built on street grids, what is expected from a German community in America is architecture and artistry created by local people either originating from Germany or whose first generation were immigrants. They should have cultural events that are typical of their German heritage, and lastly, there should be traces of German language and literature in schools, at public events and even at home. Even having German classes in school classifies as an example of efforts being undertaken to keep the German heritage in the community. :-)

And this is why we are looking at the city of New Ulm in the southern part of Minnesota. A little history to go along with the city of 13,300 inhabitants that also is the county seat of Brown County (County is the same as Landkreis, which makes county seat the Kreisstadt in German):

In 1851, a treaty at Traverse des Sioux was signed between the Sioux Indians and the white settlers, allowing the lands south and west of the Minnesota River to be given to the white settlers, and the native Americans were given plots of land north of the Minnesota to live. Three years later, a group of scouts from the Chicago Land Society explored and claimed the region where the Minnesota and Cottonwood Rivers met, and considered the area home. These were German settlers, consisting of Alois Palmer, Frank Massopust, Frederick Beinhorn, Athanesius Henle and Christian Ludwig Meyer. On October 7th, 1854, the name New Ulm was given to the land. The name was decided upon because many settlers who (later) followed the scouts to the region were from the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm in Baden Wurttemberg and Bavaria, respectively. Among the numbers of settlers coming to New Ulm were members of the liberal political group, the Turner Society, who were banished from Europe after the Revolution of 1848. By 1860, over 600 people had settled in New Ulm- almost all of them along the area north of the Cottonwood River and west of the Minnesota River.



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Author’s note: The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles released two articles on the bridges of New Ulm and Ulm. Click on the names and have a look at their history. Both of them are candidates of the 2015 Ammann Awards, which are being voted on now. 

Year of the Beer 2016: Apoldaer Small Ale (Tafelbier)

This is a sample of the series I’m doing on German beers, as the country is celebrating its 500th birthday of the beer purity laws. To see the beers I’ve tried so far (and would recommend when visiting Germany), click here for the list so far. Don’t forget to vote on the Flensburg Top Five. You still have time but now would be a good time to look at the candidates and vote. Click here to vote.

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Day 13 of the beer marathon starts off with a quote, stating: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” This came from famous statesman, inventor and writer, Benjamin Franklin, who himself was an avid drinker of small beer.

Did I just say that word?

Small beer/ale, known in German as Tafelbier, is one of the oldest known types of beer on record, as historic sources points to the Medieval Ages as the era where many indulged in this unusual drink if compared to today’s standards. It is the most inexpensive of beers and one where creativity combined with alcohol can result in a rather “toxic” but tempting pleasure of draining the mug until being blacked out. 😉  George Washington once had a recipe for small ale with bran and molasses. Mr. Franklin himself had his for breakfast. Thomas Thetcher was claimed to have been killed while drinking it hot. In The Whole Art of Husbandry, there were two recipes of this unique potent.

However, inspite of its high alcohol content, small beer was one of the cheapest and sometimes lowest quality beers in comparison with the high end, purely brewed beverage that we are used to today. People toiling on the ships or at building sites would drink up to five pints of beer a day for two reasons: 1. Water was scarce and therefore had to be used sparingly, sometimes replaced with alcohol and other liquids, designed to quench the thirst and not get the person drunk. 2. Despite its murky color and porridge-like taste, the contents contained vital minerals to enable the people to work hard and not be weak.

Today, small beer is rarely found in stores because of the stiff competition from other beer brands and beer types. Still, it is not abnormal to find them in parts of North America as well as northern Europe, like the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, ….

…and even Germany!  Since Tafelbier is considered a sailor’s drink, surely one will find it in places along the Baltic and North Seas, right? :-)

Not unless it is located in Thuringia- in the small town of Apolda. Located between Weimar and Naumburg, 10 kilometers north of Jena, the Apoldaer Brewery is one of the youngest in the business in the eastern half of Germany but the oldest in the city of 27,000 inhabitants. Interesting though is the fact that the establishment of the brewery evolved around the tradition of crafting beer in the town, which dates back to 1440, according to town records and the brewery’s website.  Like many breweries in the region, the Apoldaer was nationalized by the East German Government during the Cold War, only to be reestablished as a private company after 1990. Today, the Apoldaer produces various kinds of pilsner, but they also produce Spezial Domi, Traditional, Schwarzer Esel (Black Ass) dark beer, and other types of wheat beer.  The Apoldaer had once produced the Tafelbier- the small beer- before recently pulling it off the shelves for unknown reasons. Was it because the small ale was a seasonal sale or something that was attempted only for the customers to reject it? When I first saw this, I was skeptical because when I think of Tafelbier, I think of a beer with a chalky taste only to be covered up by different herbal hops and bread malz. In other words, I would have had this beer at the bottom of the rating because of bad taste.  However, after trying this, this evening, I can understand why Ben Franklin and George Washington fancied this beer type.

Appearance:  Unlike most small beers, the Tafelbier had a clear amber color with little carbonation and not so good head. Normally, when a beer has little or no head and a clear color, one can expect a bitter and watery taste to it. While the beer was somewhat watery while drinking it, the flavors and aroma added compensate for the loss of intensity.

Flavor and Aroma: The beer carries a bread malt and two hops flavors of herbal and earth, which can be recognized in the aroma and flavor. Because of the semi-watery taste combined with the herbal hops one can find in the flavor, the balance is towards the bitter when tasting the beer, but is equal between sweet and sharp for the aroma. The intensity is not as strong, but the impression I had with the beer is that it was somewhat stale but has a neutral taste when drinking it.

Grade:  3,0/ C: The Apoldaer Tafelbier represents a classic example of a small ale/beer that has been common in the Medieval times but is still popular today. The beer has a rather neutral taste, which is OK for those who would prefer a mild beer that has a high alcohol and water content. However, some more flavor that is similar to the ones experimented, like George Washington tried, would make it more appealing to the consumer. The beer has the potential for being in the market for a longer period of time, but some improvements are needed in order for it to happen.

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Flensburg’s Top Five

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Wrapping up the five-years of the German-American Online Column, the Files has some of the awards to give out. While many of you have read up on the articles written by the author, we’re looking at the Top Five, meaning the top five articles in three categories that you would like to see again. This includes:

The Top Five Christmas Markets visited by the Author: If you were to recommend five Christmas markets in Germany and the US, which ones would you recommend and why? You have five votes  for this category. The articles and photos of the markets you will find under Tourism Guide under the category Christmas Markets

The Top Five Genres: Reviewed by the author and other guest writers, which of the genres would you recommend a person to read and/or watch? This includes using them for the classroom. You will find the reviews under Literature Tips and Genres. The voting is unlimited here due to numerous entries, so you can vote as much as you can.

The Top Five Works by the Author: Based on a collection of selected works published in the Files since 2010, which one stands out the most and should be presented to the public in the future? The limit is five votes here and you will find them also in the Literature Tips and Genre but also in Foreign Languages with the title written by the author.


Between now and February 1, you have a chance to vote your top five in the three categories. Click onto the Poll Daddy ballots and start voting. The winners with the prized works will be announced February 2nd.  The Files wishes you best of luck with the voting process and feel free to contact the author in case of problems with the voting. :-)


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From the Classroom: A Tribute to the Unforgettable, Natalie Cole


Life is laden with the unforgettable. Unforgettable people who shaped our lives, through thick and thin and through passion and love as well as pain and sorrow. Unforgettable events where no matter what the outcome, we grow from them and learn about the lessons of life.  In the case of this exercise, looking at the song “Unforgettable,” one should take the time and listen to the song, pay attention to the lyrics and ask themselves the following questions:

  1. What was the most unforgettable moment in your life that you dealt with? What happened, when did it happen, and what was the result? And lastly, what lesson did you learn from it? It can stem from a love affair, to saving someone’s life, to averting a disaster- whatever comes to mind that helped shape your life?
  2. Who was (or maybe is) your unforgettable person(s) in your life? Who was/were the person(s) and why was that person special? What did you learn from the person?
  3. What was the singer’s theme in the song Unforgettable and why did she choose it?
  4. Was it an unforgettable person or event? Why?

Have a look at the video or listen to the clip before answering the questions:

The song was originally produced by Nat King Cole in 1951, and reproduced by her daughter Natalie Cole in 1991 as a tribute to her father, who died suddenly in 1965 when she was 15. His music and his passing inspired her to launch a career of her own as a singer. And while she had some Top 10 hits in the 1970s and 80s, including Pink Cadillac and Starting Over Again, the duet with her father as a tribute to the blues great was perhaps the crown of all songs she had produced in her career.  Unfortunately, Natalie Cole died on New Year’s Eve 2015 at the age of 65 due to health problems. To honor her career, the Files is dedicating this song and this English exercise for people wishing to learn more about blues music and the father-daughter team that surely left a mark in the music world. Many thanks for your many wonderful years of work. You will be missed but you will remain unforgettable in the eyes of many.


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