In a welcomed bout of creativity, The Sheraton in Abu Dhabi occasionally hosts special events focused on a certain theme or culture. Last Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend the Bavarian Strong Brew Fest, which is essentially a German beer festival that also happens to have lots of great food. Yes, that's right...it is German food and, yes it is very good. The Strong Beer was traditionally brewed by monks in Germany whom vowed to stick to a liquid diet during the holy period. The heavy dark beer was sustaining and satisfying in the cold days of early spring. The Festival in Abu Dhabi takes place on The Sheraton's private beach with great views of the neighboring skyscrapers in the starry night. The entire beachfront is decorated in the Bavarian colors of blue and while, with a large stage taking the centerpiece to host an energetic German band. In the warm night air with the sand beneath your toes you really can't ask for much better.
I am already a fan of European craft beer, but was not so sure how I would feel about some of these traditional German ones... which is exactly why a festival like this is the perfect place. With a variety of German beers on tap, you can taste a wide range of styles and flavors. There was even one very special strong brew on tap, Affumicator, which the hotel purchased just for this festival! It was not your typical Light Lager or German Pils, but instead a very smoky dark beer with over 9% alcohol. In the warm evening those pints of beer (even the strong ale) went down a little too easily.
For those of us that need a little sustenance before filling our bellies with liters of beer, there was a really well created German BBQ buffet. There were grilled sausages and smokey ribs with all of the traditional favorites from crispy roasted potatoes to tangy sauerkraut, creamy mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage. The side salad section was hardly a side thought, with so many options.
Cucumber salad with a light yogurt sauce, crunchy pickles, spicy rocket and creamy egg salad with only a very light dressing so that it actually still tasted like eggs. One of my favorites was the cool crispy cabbage salad, tossed in only a bright tangy vinegar. The heirloom tomato salad was another that I know I had seconds of. But of course no German celebration would be complete without those carbohydrates. Yes that amazing German bread. Wheats, ryes, multigrains, pretzels and a variety of mustards to match, sweet, spicy, brown....Make a sandwich with some of the cold cuts and cheeses and you are set to bring on the beer.
The dessert selection was also very authentic with tiny slices of German chocolate cake, jelly Berlin style doughnuts, apples strudel, pancakes and a few other treats and yes...I tasted them all.
As the band played on the crowd became louder and friendlier with tables of strangers raising their steins together and hooking elbows to sing German songs, or at least try to sing. As the night wore on beer glasses were emptied, and then refilled over and over again. There were families and there were friends. There was great food and great beer. And for a moment it seemed that the world stopped, and only this jovial German night on the beach in Abu Dhabi was where everyone needed to be.
Bavarian Strongbrew Fest
Sheraton Abu Dhabi
+971 02 677 3333