Before we day-trip to Potsdam, let us ground ourselves in one of their beers:
Braumanufaktur, Dunkel, Potsdam, Germany. Biodynamic. €1.09
Appearance: looks clear, medium intense amber brown. Aromas: smell clean and intensely of roasted/caramelized honey, mint, strawberry, and bread. Palate: feels dry, freshly tart, moderately bitter, mildly alcoholic (4.8%), leveled, and light in body , with a soft texture. Flavors: punch with medium plus intensity akin to honeyed, roasted pear, soft warm rye bread, mint, with a light chocolate icing. The length is medium plus.
If you couldn’t tell, I like it. Braumanufaktur makes a complex, lively yet dark dunkel that you could enjoy multiple pints with a variety of foods. Outstanding (5 of 5).
Ok. That was an organic grocery store win. But does the city it comes from, Potsdam, measure up?
I imagine St Petersburg looks like Potsdam: all orderly, pastel, neoclassical facades blanketed by stark snow.
And the reason for this? 18th century oligarch Frederick the Great. We hike through slush to his “summer” palace: Schloss Sanssouci, which, of course, has its own grain mill:
But fabulous Rococo extravagance defines Sanssouci. Unnecessary “follies” abound its grounds.
But freezing rain sucks. So we lock our ears onto audio guides and tour the palace. Cozy halls bleed into small rooms. Each glint with gold, mirrors, and hand-painted motifs.
Here, Mr. The Great would let go his concerns (e.g. war) to play recorder, write songs, read poetry, and have a tumultuous affair with Voltaire and Casanova.
Away from court and politics, Freddy designed Sanssouci as his “little vineyard house”. And wouldn’t ya know it Wayward Wine readers, the palace sits on top of an immaculate, terraced vineyard:
We slosh through slushy grounds, imagining lush, German summers here. And then we find a surreal orientalist pagoda, packed with confused, racist stereotypes about China…probably:
Our chilled world travels get stranger with the discovery of a Tuscan villa and Roman temple…in the frozen tundra of Northern Germany.
Freddy’s son lived away from pops here, and he even attempted mimicking pergola vine training of northern Italy:
By now the sun is setting and hunger catching up on us. We pass by gargantuan 19th century complexes that held the Potsdam conferences. Finally, we reach town, in full Christmas swing:
After swimming through Christmas markets, we end up at a Kurdish falafel joint and discuss our/their life in Turkey and Kurdish difficulties under the regime. Oddly, I feel that Frederick would approve.
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