What is the best brewery in Reno

YANKEE AND KRAUT: Servus and Yeahaw

American Wild West meets Bavarian tranquility: at the birthplace of the Reinheitsgebot, of all places, an unequal couple sets out to overturn beer conventions. And lo and behold: the people of Ingolstadt like what Yankee and Herb so brew for her

Strictly speaking, so very precisely and "by law", what Bryan France did when he was seventeen in his nursery in Reno, Nevada, was criminal. Drinking age 21 and so on, no beer for minors - no way! In all seriousness, the teenager had a self-made dispenser here. Six taps with legend and writing. A different, home-brewed beer on each tap.

"That alone describes the man's madness pretty well," says Max Senner, with whom the American later, much later and far away, in 2016 in Ingolstadt, founded Yankee and Kraut together. Nevertheless, Max tells the story of the virtuoso brewer's small beginnings as naturally as if he had been there in Bryan's nursery back then. Maybe that's because they've known each other for so long. So good friends have become.

Madness became a start-up: Yankee and Kraut. (Photo: StP)

It is obvious that two have found each other here. Two that go really well together. Even if the contrasts are great at first, not only because a good half meter and a few kilos lie between the two men: Bryan, the rampage pig, the extrovert, always on the go, but also very structured and straightforward. “Bryan is the full German! Actually a lot more German than me, ”says Max. On time, tidy and the work always well planned. On the other hand, Max. The cozier one. A bear that brings a calming element to the German-American beer friendship with its relaxed and reserved manner. An unequal and yet so equal couple. Because when it comes to beer, they agree. Bryan, the master brewer, develops the recipes and Max, the business IT specialist, lends a hand in everything. "I'm practically doing an apprenticeship at Bryan now," says Max. He comes from a restaurant family and knows how things go in Bavarian gastronomy. Bryan, on the other hand, is the "beer madman" who always has ideas for a new, unusual brew and just starts brewing. Everyone knows what the other can and cannot do.

Become a beer pro? Mom helps.

The two, Bryan and Max, owe their becoming a beer in a certain way to the relaxed upbringing style of Bryan's parents. They let it happen that the junior - in America, mind you! - already drinks his first English ale at the age of 14. "That's when I noticed for the first time that beer can be different from Budweiser and Coors and shit like that!" He recalls. Then he just tries it out properly. With the help of his mom. "Hey, I don't know that! And not that either ”. Bryan often said that to his mother back then. She goes out and keeps bringing him new varieties, so she basically takes care of her son's "beer production". Drinking age? Never at least. For years Bryan drinks his way through the most varied of beer tastes until he starts brewing his own beer with a friend. His parents see it as their minor's creative hobby. The son can just let off steam and never get stupid thoughts. However, the two of them have no inkling of the consequences of these youthful experiments and that they would eventually send their son away and to Germany.

Somehow the Bavarian grabbed Bryan. So he'll stay here. (Photo: StP)

But it will take a few years before it comes to that. And a momentous trip to Europe. Max ‘sports teacher once lived in Reno for a few years and recommended Bryan, should he ever travel to the Old World, that he should stop by her in Ingolstadt. And so, of all places, Ingolstadt - of all places - came into contact with Max more or less by chance on the American and Bryan's itinerary. How you do it in Ingolstadt: The two went for a beer together. One evening turned into several fun evenings. "A couple of people in Ingolstadt just kidnapped me and forced me to taste one beer after the other," says Bryan. Then he had to give in. And he came back every year. “Somehow Bavaria was just good for me”. He completed his biology studies in the United States, then set off for a new home: Bryan France moved to Germany.

IPA do them all. Yankee and Kraut starts with an IPL

The thing with the craft beer label comes to the two of them on a tour of a monastery brewery. “The idea came about when I was drunk,” recalls Bryan. Hissing a few beers with friends, spinning around and making plans. Being in a beer mood - that kind of thing is part of it. But that day they both mean business. Because Bryan receives his final residence permit - he had already worked as an English teacher in the language school for six years. “We just nailed it,” says Max. Bryan enrolls at the University of Weihenstephan for brewing and of course also takes part in the innovation competition. He wrote the recipe for his “competition beer” spontaneously in one afternoon - he simply no longer knew that it had to be ready that day. It will be her first IPL. An India Pale Lager. It should be something new for the German market. “There were already enough IPAs, but nobody knew what an IPL was,” says Bryan. His spontaneous recipe is well received by the jury. Pretty good, actually. The super-hoppy camp made it to 3rd place of the competition in the final.

The Hopulenz was a first litter - and a really good one straight away. (Photo: StP)

One more reason to go through with it now. After they founded Yankee and Kraut, they settled down as gypsy brewers in a small brewery in the Franconian town of Breitengüßbach. The IPL is christened "Hopulenz" and at the beginning of 2016 its first large, commercial brew. There are now four regular beers plus numerous collab brews. What sometimes comes out of it seems pretty daring for the proud Bavarian beer drinker. Your "Room 101", for example. Together with Freigeist Bierkultur and Pirate Brew Berlin, they simply brewed everything that doesn't really fit into the purity law: eucalyptus, peppermint, juniper berries, lemon juice and salt. But there are also enthusiastic buyers in tranquil Ingolstadt. "And that, although this is where the origin of the Reinheitsgebot lies!" Emphasizes Max a little proudly.

Mainly Bavarian.

"You can see the general trend towards more conscious nutrition and more conscious drinking everywhere". People just want to try higher quality and more interesting things - in Ingolstadt too, of course. Yankee and Kraut are happy, here too the topic of craft beer has been fully accepted - with a decisive home advantage for them: Because if it is craft beer for the local beer drinker, then it is all right. I mean: a Bavarian one. “With the thought that the classic, Bavarian Helle is no longer the best beer in the world, the craft beer drinker can just come to terms with it. But beer from outside Bavaria - that really doesn't work, ”says Max and grins with satisfaction.

Left the Yankee, right the herb: Bryan France and Max Senner. (Photo: StP)

At a glance

Yankee and Herb
Bryan France, Max Senner

Standard range (available all year round)

  • Hopulence - India Pale Lager (IPL)
  • Solar Eclipse - Black IPA
  • Eden Pale Ale

Hop hero tip: Hopulence - as a bright in cool.

Jakob Kube studied journalism and has been a craft beer disciple in Brisbane, Australia since his semester abroad. When he's not training for his next triathlon, he's always on the lookout for interesting people and their stories. Since Australia also very much on the topic of beer.