It’s 2020, and New Braunfels is celebrating its 175th anniversary.
City officials and leaders kicked off the celebration of the anniversary Saturday afternoon with a ceremonial toast at Guadalupe Brewing Co. Staff of the brewery tapped into a special locally-brewed German-style beer that was shared between New Braunfels and Braunfels, Germany to commemorate the city’s 175th.
A special simulcast toast deemed a “simultoast” allowed officials of both cities to host a dual-city program in which the mayors or “Bürgermeisters,” city officials and chamber officials from both cities marked the anniversary.
The program started in Braunfels with a live-streamed interview of Gerhard Adam, a Braunfels resident and a historian who’s traveled to Texas more than 20 times studying the friendship between the two cities. Past chamber chair Shane Wolf and chair elect Nathan Manlove conducted the interview.
“I love that New Braunfels has deemed itself the ‘City of a Prince’ in honor of Prince Carl (Solms),” Adam said, referencing New Braunfels’ founder, who took an expedition to Texas and established the city as a tribute to his homeland.
Following the interview and a short break for New Braunfels folks to refill their commemorative 175th beer glasses, Manlove and Wolf thanked Braunfels officials for their hospitality and presented Adam with the official 175th book and a medal.
After a practice-run of “Ein Prozit,” a traditional German toast led by Wurstfest 2019 president Jim Hill, 175th committee chairwoman Anne Miller restarted the program by thanking the sponsors of the anniversary celebrations.
“Thank you committee for your hard work over these past four years — and it’s hard to believe it’s been four years,” Miller said. “It really has flown.”
Acting as the emcee, Neil Linnartz, 2019 chair of the 4B Board, thanked Keith and Anna Kilker of Guadalupe Brewing Co. for brewing the special pilsner beer for the occasion.
The beer was brewed simultaneously by the Licher Brewery in Braunfels, and included German malt, German hops and yeast, and a touch of German honey.
“It took us eight weeks to make the brew,” said Guadalupe Brewing Co. brewers Devin Nisson and Andrew Serafindo. “Keith even went over to Germany to get the ingredients and then gave us the recipe to follow, so we executed that to the ‘T’.”
Wes Studdard, 2020 chair of the board for the chamber, thanked everyone in New Braunfels for coming out for the event and celebrating.
“It’s exciting to look at history and see where we are today,” Studdard said. “We both share a vision here in New Braunfels and in Braunfels of having bright, prosperous communities.”
Adriana Cruz, respresenting Gov. Gregg Abbott’s office, then read a proclamation from Gov. Abbott congratulating New Braunfels on its 175th anniversary.
After thanking Cruz and representatives from Rep. Chip Roy, state Sen. Donna Campbell and state Rep. Kyle Biedermann’s office for attending, Linnartz thanked Cruz and introduced New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel.
“We had the opportunity to visit Braunfels recently, and it’s something you all should do if you get the chance,” Casteel said.
Casteel then introduced Count Johannes Graf von Oppersdorff-Solms-Braunfels and his wife Countess Gabrielle Graefin von Oppersdorff-Solms-Braunfels — descendants of Prince Carl Solms.
The count and countess thanked New Braunfels for celebrating their ancestor before Wolf also presented them each with a book and medal.
“We are grateful you are honoring our ancestor, this is very special for us,” the count said. “We look forward to being there for the official anniversary in March.”
Donning a Texas cowboy hat to shrieks of approval from the New Braunfels crowd of about 100 attendees, Braunfels Bürgermeister Christian Breithecker gave a thanks to Braunfels attendees in German.
“I wish you all the best,” he closed in English, toasting the livestream camera as he too was given a book and medal.
Following the official toast and a round of “Ein Prozit,” a choir of 13 men sung several songs in German from Braunfels, closing with a rendition of “The Lion Sleeps tonight” and “Happy Birthday, New Braunfels.”
The event closed with a social hour for folks to enjoy the special beer, as well as cheese and German sausage trays.
To see a full schedule of events for the 175th anniversary in New Braunfels, visit https://since1845.com.