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Lüttje Lage, or “This beer isn’t getting me drunk and I need to fix that pronto.”

Two days after our sushi night in Köln, the Gastrognome and I found ourselves in the city of Göttingen, home to one of Germany’s most prestigious universities. But we weren’t there for the university, so when it all comes down to it, bringing that up was really quite irrelevant to this story. At any rate, while in Göttingen we met up with our good friend Jonathan, a true world-traveller, scholar and gentleman who is known through all the land for his keen wit, keener intellect and—keenest of all—skill at playing the banjo. Since he hails from the area around Hannover and we had previously only been acquainted with the southern and central portions of Germany, he became an invaluable resource for learning about the strange traditions, customs and practices of this new region in the north. For instance, we learned (among other things) that

Herbert is the sound a frog makes,
“interesting” is the little brother of “shit,” and
it is a common practice in northern Germany for the townsfolk to gather on Sundays and celebrate their day off by burning Catholics at the stake.

And although these and the many other insights we gleaned from Jonathan were of great importance in our quest for cultural understanding, nothing that we learned that day could compare to our introduction to the marvel that is the Lüttje Lage.

Lüttje Lage is a specialty from Hannover, a ritualized drink that I can only assume arose from local boozehounds’ anger over the puny kick provided by their brewskies. Traditionally it consists of a small glass of Schankbier (dark but low in alcohol) and a shot of Korn (a grain alcohol that tastes the way witch hazel smells). The beer glass is held between the thumb and index finger, while the shot glass is pinched between the index finger and the middle finger. Then, as you drink, the Korn pours into the beer before both pour down your throat.

Of course there’s a catch. Aside from the dexterity required to hold both glasses in the same hand and not drop them (most likely resulting in a shirt full of beer and a face full of Korn), you are forced to drink the thing with a certain quickness, lest you dribble all over yourself and become the butt of every joke for the rest of the night. Granted, as anyone who has ever experienced tequila night knows, pounding multiple shots of anything tends to result in dribbling all over yourself in one way or another regardless.

In spite of the potential dangers and pitfalls, we remained undaunted, and seeing as there was special cause for celebration on account of the events post-sushi in Köln, we decided to have at this Hannover specialty. Seeing as we weren’t in Hannover itself, we didn’t have access to the proper Schankbier, but we improvised with a more run-of-the-mill pilsner. How was it, you ask? See for yourself!

Photobucket(Anticipation)

Photobucket Photobucket(Consumption)

Photobucket(The prospect of having another)

Photobucket(The Gastrognome gives it a go!)

Photobucket(Joni takes us both to school)


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1 comment to Lüttje Lage, or “This beer isn’t getting me drunk and I need to fix that pronto.”

  • gastrognome

    Wow. I have much reason to be embarrassed at and appalled by my performance that night, and all the more so now that you’ve provided the ether with photo-documentation of my shame.

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