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CAW Wheat Beer Competition

On the 19th of June 1990, an opportunity to taste beer brewed at a beer competition was held to give students in Freising the chance to try out the results of small self-made brewhouses in the cellar or kitchen. For an expense allowance of five DM, the beers were tasted by Prof. Dr. Ludwig Narziß and the other participants, and evaluated according to the DLG scheme. With nine participants – including two student members of the CAW and our dear honorary member Georg Schneider VI – the competition was well received by Freising's brewing students. So well that the CAW president announced another competition for the following year – but for Pilsner.

The idea of changing the type of beer was discarded until the second competition, which henceforth bore the prefix "wheat beer". In 1991, nine teams competed once again in the art of wheat beer brewing. This year, special attention was paid to the phenomenon of gushing, which had already made it difficult to pour the beer from the bottles into the glasses in the first year.

In 1992, with eleven participating teams, the number of participants was in double figures for the first time. In 1993, the number rose further to 14. In addition, to standardise the judging, the participants were asked to brew wheat beers with light malt and an original wort of 12–14°. Also, with our dear alumni Carl John Skantze and Thomas Hoffmann, two CAW members were able to win the wheat beer competition for the first time. In 1994, for the fifth competition, it had become a definitive part of the Freising event year and was in great demand again, with 13 teams. In order to allow everyone to take part in the tasting, the quantity handed in was fixed at ten swing-top bottles.

In 1995, Prof. Dr. Werner Back took over the chairmanship of the jury and the evaluation of six submitted beers – five of them from the ranks of the CAW. With the first four places in the hands of the CAW, the sixth wheat beer competition was the most successful so far from the club's point of view. Perhaps that is why a report about it appeared in Brauwelt magazine that year. Possibly due to the media support, but above all due to active and early public relations work, the number of participants doubled to twelve teams in 1996. In 1997, there was another slump. Since only three teams were found – none from the ranks of the CAW – the tasting was even extended to include five trade beers. In 1998, the competition saw five participants, with one standing out in a special way. A certain Franz-Josef S. explained at length why Bavarian wheat beer should be much more bitter and brought along two unfermented samples of beer that did not enter the judging. For the tenth edition of the wheat beer competition in 1999, it was professionally advertised for the first time with notices and flyers, and the Freising student fraternities were invited. Nevertheless, this year in particular, the number of participants no longer found its way into the annual report. Only the (unintentional) creativity of the participants was praised. For example, Franz-Josef S., who was just mentioned, brought a wheat beer with the usual bitterness of the late 16th century, and an agricultural student brought a fine smoked beer, which on closer inspection, however, turned out to be a regular wheat beer boiled over a wood fire. With KHS, the wheat beer competition also found a sponsor for the first time during this year.

In the following years, there were no annual reports. Moreover, no documents could be found in the archives that shed light on the wheat beer competition around the turn of the millennium. It was not until the "CAW Newsletter" of 2003 that the "wheat beer competition" was mentioned, which turned out to be small, with two participants and four industrial beers. After that, the competition finally fell into a slumber. The once popular tradition slowly disappeared from the minds of the Freising brewing students, who from then on brewed their beer simply for drinking, but not for professional competition purposes.

The reanimation of the competition took place in 2015. In the course of the 75th anniversary of its foundation, the CAW had invested massively in the club with the support of the Altherrenschaft and expanded its programme of events. Tales told by our then newly admitted honorary member Georg Schneider VI of his first wheat beer brew at the first wheat beer competition gave incentive to resurrect this event. Already in the first year of the new edition, eleven teams brewed in competition. The craft beer movement, which had been conjuring up new flavour variations in beers for some time, at that time, meant that the minimalist requirement of at least 50% wheat malt was not enough. Besides classic wheat beers, there were strong, smoky ones, as well as fruity ones and ones brewed with spices. Just one year later, the competition was held in two categories: classic wheat beer and creative wheat beer. A total of seven teams delivered six classic and five creative wheat beers. Finally, in 2017, the tasting of an industrial wheat beer was introduced to prepare the jury and the guests for the competition tasting in terms of taste. The number of participants decreased to five teams with five classic and two creative wheat beers. This was followed in 2018 by the introduction of a separate theme to stimulate the creative category. Under the specification "Winter and Christmas wheat beer", the students were to brew particularly strong and festive beers. The math worked out. Ten teams delivered five classic and six creative wheat beers. In the anniversary year 2019 for the fifth wheat beer competition after its reintroduction, the theme was "Festweiße". As the beers had to be tasted in the middle of the examination period, of all times, in order to be ready in time for the 80th anniversary of the foundation, only four teams took part with three classic and three creative beers each, which, after the tasting, also delighted the CAW Alumni present during the 80th anniversary of the foundation.

During the Corona pandemic, the CAW wheat beer competition offered Freising students the opportunity to practice their brewing skills while the university was closed and events were only held digitally. In both 2020 and 2021, the competition was fully booked with six classic and six creative beers. In 2020, the beer tasting of the beers took place at the judges' homes. The 2021 tasting was postponed to spring 2022 in order to be able to hold an event in person once again. This was successful and was able to attract a juror from abroad to Freising for the first time, the Austrian Beer Pope Conrad Seidl.