To celebrate my wife’s retirement from her primary
employment she expressed a desire to take a European
river cruise. Unlike my usual aversion to globetrotting,
this trip looked promising for several reasons. One is
because she’s still working her secondary job at United
Airlines, so the transportation to Europe would cost
nothing. Second is that due to the expertise of “Captain
Mike”, another airline employee who doubles as a travel
agent, we had to do nothing to book the cruise. He
handled it all, especially making the recommendation
that we use Ama Waterways as the cruise line.

Although this was our first experience with a river cruise
I doubt very much if anything could equal the staff,
service or  amenities aboard the Amadante. Third, of
course is that most of the cruise and ports of call would
be in Germany, making for a great beer experience,
since the Germans regard beer as an essential part of
life, as do I!

The beery aspect of the trip began on a high note as I
discovered Demented Brewing Scarlet Knight on tap in
the airport. United serves Goose Island brews on it’s
flights, so after boarding, some Goose IPAs and 4 Star
Pils were downed to make the seven hour flight more

We arrived in Frankfurt in the morning and bought
railroad tickets to Luxembourg City from whence we
could connect to the ship. Walking around Old Town
and seeing the sights and hundreds of outdoor cafes
made us a little thirsty, so we stopped for drinks at
Duke’s Pub and added Bofferding Pils( LOVE that name),
Battin Extra and Battin Gambrinus to my beer log.

The next morning we took a train to Wasserbillig ,
where the ship was docked on the Mosel River. We
arrived a little early for checking in, but the staff offered
a light lunch which included the first of many Bitburgers
to be downed in the week ahead. We took advantage of
the free bicycles and rode around Wasserbillig, which I
soon found out is NOT the place to be if you’re thirsty.
Stopping at an outdoor pub, we waited for fifteen
minutes watching a waitress hustling amongst the
tables and completely ignoring us. My wife gave up and
went back to the ship and I biked to another outdoor
pub where the waitress was more attentive but with a
definite attitude. I ordered a Die Kiercher draught and
she returned with a Coca-Cola. When I pointed out that
I wanted  a beer, she threw up her hands in
exasperation and left to get the brew, which she
slammed down in front of me. Since there seemed to be
an aura of slamming in the air, I slammed down the Die
Kiercher and got the hell out of there.

Back on the ship I discovered that European river
cruises don’t differ too much from typical ocean liner
cruises when it comes to food. I wonder why they don’t
just puree all the chow and force it into you with a
bellows. One day we were offered fruhstock (breakfast)
which in Germany means cold cuts and weissbier along
with traditional American fare, then at 11:30 fruschoffen
(sausage, pretzels and more beer). Believe it or not,
after that came LUNCH, followed by a culinary tour which
included stops at a bakery, a candy shop, a cafe noted
for it’s curry sausage and half liters of Lowenbrau
Buttenheim, from a small microbrewery owned by a
friend of the owner.

The best stop of the day was the Schenkerla Brewery,
where all tour goers, even those who don’t like beer,
were given gratis half liters of Schenkerla Rauchbier. My
reputation as a beer geek caused several of the
unwanted steins to be placed in front of me, and
although I made a heroic attempt to prevent waste,
even I couldn’t finish all the suds. To top off the day,
dinner was served immediately upon our return to the

Touring the cities of Trier, Bernkastle, Cochen, Koblenz,
Rudesheim, Mainz, Wertheim, Bamburg and Wurzburg
included wine tastings at three different venues so my
wife’s boredom with the beery aspects of the trip was
somewhat alleviated. The visiting of Cathedrals,
museums, and other places of interest was pleasantly
interspersed with stops at outdoor pubs and cafes
which allowed me to add thirty eight new brews to my
log. Such wonderful Teutonic names as Kapuziner
Kellerbier, Wurzburger Hofbrau, Zischke Dunkel
Kellerbier, Kausen Weissbier Hell, and Distelhauser
Helles made their way onto the list.

Sailing to Wertheim included a glass blowing
demonstration by a man who could have been the
German counterpart of Donald Trump. His artistic
creations were accompanied by frequent and lengthy
dissertations on the evils of governmental regulations
with special emphasis on the incompetence of Angel
Merkel. Since most of us were from the US, he
admonished the audience for having elected Barack
Obama TWICE!.

We arrived at Wertheim without having any politically
correct police making any arrests and after walking
around town for a bit we went back to the ship where
Judy took a nap while I opted for a bike tour. I was up
for a nap as well, but the bike tour promised a stop at
an authentic German biergarten. The guy leading the
tour must have been a former six day bicyclist. We took
off at a healthy pace, increasing steadily and slowing
only to go up the many hills. Mercifully, the biergarten
appeared just as I was about to drop. And what a
garden! It seemed like about an acre of long tables on a
floor of gravel with many trees providing shade and six
or seven tap handles to fill your choice of mass(full liter)
or half. I cheerfully selected a liter of Augustines Helles
and sat down with fellow bikers from the trip to happily
discover that two of the female bikers had been too
enthusiastic in their selection of liters. After taking a sip
or two they realized their thirst was not quite so bad as
they thought and their almost full steins were slid over
to yours truly.

Absolutely the best part of the trip was the Saturday
afternoon spent on the upper deck and seeing scores of
castles on the Rhine. Due to the low bridges on some
parts of the cruise the upper observation deck was
often closed to passengers, lest they get decapitated
while enjoying the sights. But the Rhine segment of the
cruise encountered no low bridges, so we lunched and
downed more than a few Erdinger Weissbiers, local
Reislings and Rudesheim coffees while enjoying the
beauty of the home of the Lorelei.

One interesting edifice we passed was the Kloster-
Schenke Church/pub. The narrator pointed out that this
was a church whose only entry and egress was through
the attached pub. Sounds like a great way to summon
up religious zeal for lapsed Catholics. Have a mass after

Sadly, we reached the end of our portion of the cruise in
Nuremberg at 6:00am, and thanks to the efficiency of
German railroads and transatlantic jets, we were back in
Newark at 3:40pm. But a beer lover not only pairs beer
with food. He also pairs it with pleasant experiences , so
it was off to the liquor store to pick up some Bitburger
to remind me of the wonderful time aboard the



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