View Full Version : German Beer
I love German beer. German beer has a unique finish duplicated, in my experience, only in a handful of Dutch beers and to a degree in Molson Golden. My theory is that this finish results from the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot (purity law). Whatever the case, what is your favorite German beer?
Don't underestimate the differences in water used in the brewing of beer; it can have a substantial affect on the flavor, so much so that many homebrewers go to great lengths to duplicate the water profiles of the areas from which the style of beer that they are brewing originates.
That said, my favorite German beer is Hofbrau, but only when served at the Hofbrauhaus in Newport, KY and, I assume, at the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich. The commercial, bottled version is good, but it's a very different creature, or so I was told by the brewer in Newport.
Hofbrauhaus Newport (http://www.hofbrauhausnewport.com/)
German beers also use home-grown (mostly) malts and hops and these have particular characteristics which tend to define certain styles. E.g., here in Toronto we have had recently a number of dark Munich beers available, draft and bottled. I find they share a certain earthy, chocolately taste which is unique to that group of beers. Water, yeasts, malts and hops all lend their stamp to beers but I have a feeling the roasted malting barleys are the defining note in this group.
Since you are also referring however to finish, likely the hops used impart the taste you are noticing.
German hops tend again (there are various types) to have a certain taste and Molson Golden, while a light-bodied mass market lager, might use a German hop for finishing.
My advice is to seek the local craft beers in your area. Inquire and you may find some that meet or exceed the profile you like in the imports. Craft beers are made in a number of international styles and often exceed the original, either as such or because the imports are pasteurised and lose some character from the time to ship them. Sam Adams lager is a good place to begin, it uses German hops and fine malts and is a great beer. You can find it in most parts of the U.S.
I haven't been to Germany, but drinking some of these beers in their home countries is interesting. From my own experience I'm thinking of England and the Czech Republic. In both cases, the best beers are draught and their bottled versions are pale substitutes. In England, I loved the bitters, which are rarely exported. In Prague, what struck me was how long it takes to properly draw a beer, and how amazing it tastes when they do it right. Bars there, as in England, are typically tied houses, meaning they sell only the products of a single brewery. In Prague, my favorite is Staropremen. I've had a lot of beer in a lot of places, but drinking beer in Bohemia is a special experience. I suspect Bavaria and some other parts of Germany are the same way. You get some of that in Amsterdam, but there are so many other distractions...
what is your favorite German beer?
That would be Hacker-Pschorr, I have had 3 types, the Edelhell, Oktoberfest and the Weisse. I liked them all. I would love to try them in a Beer-Garten in Germany.
As far as non-German, my favorites are, Czechvar, Grolsh and Molson Golden.
I haven't been to Germany, but drinking some of these beers in their home countries is interesting. From my own experience I'm thinking of England and the Czech Republic. In both cases, the best beers are draught and their bottled versions are pale substitutes.
It's no different in Germany Chuck. The best beers are on tap. In Germany many, many small towns have their own brewery, all of which make fantastic beer. I'm lucky in that I belong to two local German clubs where Spaten, Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus Munchen, etc. are all on tap. This is where I hang out on weekends. I prefer German beers (actually Munich beers) above all others.
Guys I am in agreement that these are fine beers but our best micros can, often for less money, equal or exceed all these imports. Take e.g., Stoudt's of Pennsylvania. Their helles and dunkels have to be as good or better than those imports.
No doubt you are right, Gary, but the whole experience of drinking beer in Bohemia is one I've never duplicated elsewhere, even at most brewpubs. The only one I can think of that I would put in the same class is Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Take e.g., Stoudt's of Pennsylvania. Their helles and dunkels have to be as good or better than those imports.
They're not IMO Gary and I live 5 miles from Stoudt's brewery and know Ed Stoudt personally (actually his wife runs the brewery). His brewing style purposely emulates the German style and he almost gets it right.
I agree that consumed locally, the beers probably are hard to beat.
As imports though they would be pasteurised and submit to long shipment and storage times. I have found that I prefer the taste of a fresh micro beer to even a fine European beer that inevitably is different in export form than if locally consumed.
I suppose it is true no local beer can ever really emulate something made far away but sum total I think it often can be better, just my taste..
On the topic of the local beer, in the early '90's we went to the Fredrick Brewery in Fredrick, Maryland.
After the tour they were serving their wheat beer in the tasting room.
It was late July hot and humid, the beer as fresh as you can get it, and wheat beer especially has to be fresh, and I could have sat there all day if they would have let me.
It was so good with that perfect hint of citrus you get from a fresh wheat, and that is NOT with putting a slice of lime or lemon in the glass.
I wish to some day travel to Germany and sample the beers fresh from the brewery. My uncle served much of his first Army tour in Germany and developed a taste for Lowenbrau, in all its expressions. What is great about German beer is that there is nothing really bad exported to America. I'm sure they have something on par with Old Milwaukee or Natural Light but I've never heard of it. Even the lighter brews like St. Pauli Girl and Bitburger are good and distinctively German. The wheat beer discussion is making me crave Franziskaner.
German wheats, especially the unfiltered ones, are of high quality. So are the heavy-flavoured beers such as any rauchbier (smoked beer from Bamberg), most doppelbocks (especially Celebrator), and many draught Munich darks (e.g., Warsteiner's, Ayinger's). This is provided they are consumed very fresh and in our market we get these often within a couple of months of production. A Holsten festbock made about 2 months ago pleased recently.
But I've had my share of indifferent mass market German lagers. I find Becks just okay when very fresh, ditto Holsten, Warsteiner (the blonde, or helles) and many others. Here is where a well-made craft beer smokes the competition. Sam Adams Lager is better than all these, in my opinion, by far.
I tried a draught of Stella Artois a few nights ago. The beer is a Belgian brand, though I understand it to actually be brewed in a variety of locations. It gave strong hints of the distinctive German aftertaste without quite achieving it. Overall, I thought it was an excellent lager with the negative of being a little short on the finish. It was served in an attractive glass, essentially a pint wine glass, with the brand name decaled on one side.
Deutsche Biere sind in der Welt das beste.
The best German beer I ever tasted was served to me at the German Bier Gaarten restaurant at Epcot in Disney World, Florida. I don't know what kind it was, but it was on tap and it was a full liter. After lunch, I wobbled out with my family. :lol:
To me the best German beer is Einbecker Urbock followed by Nassauer Thaler,the best beers in Holland are Alfa pilsner ,Hertog Jan and Grolsch.You can make me unhappy by giving me Heineken!!
I visited the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam last summer, it was so much better fresh. If only it was anywhere near as good in the states. It was tangy and floral there, compared with the slightly sour cardboard tastes we get here.
Next time in Holland visit brouwerij `t Ei also in A`dam or else in Haarlem Jopen a way better than Heineken! Eric.
I bought a mini-jeg of Grolsch (5 L.), not a German beer, but a brand I enjoy in the regular lager, blond, and amber styles. Wow! It was really good out of that big aluminum can, and it was 2 months out of date! I was impressed with the mini keg experience enough that I am looking long and hard at just such a package of Beck's and Bass.
If the hankering for German beer hits while in Indiana, consider the Rathskeller (http://http://www.rathskeller.com/default.htm) in Indy or the Schnizelbank (http://http://www.schnitzelbank.com/)in Japser.
Royal Water,the Grolschbrewery has launched some new beers a limebeer a rosebeer and a whitebeer.The first 2 i haven`t tasted yet but their white beer is very smooth.Eric.
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