Sunday, October 02, 2005

Italian "Untersetzer"

Apparently German beer is becoming more and more popular in Italy, because many bars, pubs, and restaurants have it on tap. We held a teachers' union TGIF at an Italian restaurant near school and they had Paulaner, one of Munich's "big six" beers on draft. Many of us enjoyed it with the excellent pizza we were served.

Even more enjoyable were the funny beer coasters they had. You have to understand that beer coasters (called untersetzer or "under-sitters" in German) are a sub-culture of their own in Germany, where beer is the national #1 drink and it's always served in a glass. Coasters are not just advertising, they are an art form, and many people collect them.

These Paulaner coasters, though, were in Italian AND they made fun of the Germans!

Coaster 1 translated: "Germans don't have a sense of humor. When their glass is empty, the fun is finished." The picture is of a German with an empty beer glass and a pained look on his face, raising his hand to get another beer.

Coaster 2: "Germans are assets. It must be so because Paulaner Weissen beer is drunk gladly." This picture is of a Bavarian beermaid carrying a tray with about eight large beers on it.

Coaster 3: "Germans are punctual. And when the appointment is with a Paulaner Weissen beer, no one arrives late." Here we see a man and woman laughing and drinking beer in a beergarden.

On the flip side of the coaster, is says "Paulaner . . . good, better Paulaner. Typically German. The Weissbeer of Munich with German quality."

Ok, so it loses something in the translation, but those of us who have lived in Germany think there's something funny about a German beer company making fun of itself for the Italians . . . because, really, the Germans don't have much sense of humor!


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