U.S. delegation in Mittenwald

What steps are needed in order to make a violin, and how does Germany’s highest-altitude private brewery brew its “summit beer” (Gipfelbier) A delegation from the U.S. Congress found out, together with U.S. ambassador John B. Emerson and U.S. consul general Bill Moeller, on a visit to Mittenwald.

Mittenwald thrills U.S. delegation

The sun shone brightly over the Gröblalm alpine pasture as the town’s mayor, Adolf Hornsteiner, greeted the guests. The group had a delicious lunch, enjoying both Bavarian cuisine and the marvelous panoramic view of the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountains. The members of Congress, who were from the Democratic Party, had already been to Germany several times, and some of them had even visited Bavaria, but none had ever experienced such spectacular mountain vistas, so they were suitably impressed.

Accompanying events in the market town included a brief guided tour of the town, on which the American guests learned about the importance of open-air painting in Mittenwald and prominent violinmaker Matthias Klotz. For a perfect touch, numerous Mittenwald residents were wearing dirndls and lederhosen as they walked around the pedestrian zone, making the scene look like something out of a picture book. Local guide Regine Ronge answered questions about customary local dress on the way to the newly renovated city hall.

Dr. Frederik Habel and Georg Neuner of the violin making school fielded many questions from the group, who showed great interest. On a tour of the workrooms, guests learned about the individual steps involved in making a violin and asked many questions about day-to-day operations at the school and the importance of violins made in Mittenwald. The delegation was on a tight schedule, so there was no time to enjoy the music made by the Mittenwald instruments, much to the dismay of the music-loving participants.

The last stop on the schedule was the Mittenwald brewery, which had drawn the Americans’ attention most especially for its “Gipfelbier,” or “summit beer.” Brewery head Marion Neuner and master brewer Markus Hirthammer guided the attentive group through the brewery with great professional skill. The American ambassador expressed great respect for the fact that the brewery has been brewing beer for 200 years without any interruptions. All of the delegates then had the opportunity to see the quality of the final results themselves as they sampled the beer.

After about three hours, the members of Congress, consul general, and ambassador bid farewell to Mittenwald, but not without first saying they wanted to come back – preferably in time for the Christkindlmarkt Christmas market, against a backdrop of what will then be snow-covered mountains.


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