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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    First Beers In Germany

    I had some great beers when awaiting transfer flights in Frankfort airport recently (my only time so far in Germany) including Licher pils, export and weizen. Also had some draft Lowenbrau and one or two other German drafts in Spain, Warsteiner, say.

    The Licher beers were really good, especially the weizen and export: full-bodied, clean, rich, complex, only the best micro beers can equal them here and Licher is (I checked after) an old-established commercial brewery: in other words the standard there is so high it is equal to only what our best micros can do.

    The hop character of these beers, including the others I mentioned, seems to share something in common and is different from the character of Pilsener Urquel. It is mineral-like, spicy and with a kind of earthy complexity. I recognise it in muted form in imported canned and bottled beers but it seems best in the fresh local draft beer. Warsteiner offers the same quality, so does the excellent Spanish Estrella Damm, the main draft beer in Barcelona, but not as full-bore (I found) as in the Licher Export.

    I can imagine what the beers must be like from yet smaller breweries and gasthauses let alone unfiltered lagers and other specialties.

    The barmen at Frankfort airport seemed amused one would order beers to compare the taste and more than that to leave some of them unfinished! In a culture where good beer is bred in the bone, one doesn't usually articulate the merits of the drink, but I articulated since that is how I learned about it. (I suppose something similar can be said about bourbon although that is different I think).

    One barman told me that rarely did anyone specify the pils or the export (Dortmund-style, broadly) of Licher even though the menu read Licher Pils/Export. I said how do you decide what to give them? He said if I'm pulling a beer from the pils tap and someone orders "a beer" (ein bier) I'll pull the next from the export tap since they are similar in character (which is true). He did say sometimes people will specify one or the other, but in terms of strength, they'll say e.g., "I'll take the stronger one". The Export is about a 1/2% stronger in ABV than the pils and I thought was richer and more hop-emphatic. But the quality of the bready German malts was evident too, heavier than I'll usually encounter here even from microbrewers but very tasty.

    It was enjoyable to try these specialties - or what to me are specialties - and one day I will pursue these investigations "in situ".

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 01-03-2008 at 13:18.

  2. #2
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Thanks Gary, that was very interesting. I hope to conduct similar experiments some day! While probably a far cry from the original, we'll have to visit the Hofbrauhaus in Newport next time you are in town and have a beer or two!

  3. #3
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff View Post
    Thanks Gary, that was very interesting. I hope to conduct similar experiments some day! While probably a far cry from the original, we'll have to visit the Hofbrauhaus in Newport next time you are in town and have a beer or two!
    You know, I've never been there, maybe a visit is in order...
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  4. #4
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    You know, I've never been there, maybe a visit is in order...
    It's a bit touristy for my taste, but they do make some really good beer. They have a seasonal Bohemian pilsner that I think is fabulous.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Thanks Jeff, I would love to try it. I've heard it is very authentic. Hopefully we can do this before long.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Ahhhh, German beer... I get all misty just thinking about it. I've never had a beer there that wasn't truly excellent. The way beer should be.
    If you ever have a chance to go to the Czech Republic or Slovakia, you'll come to know what great beer aspires to be. Just my opinion, but the beer on tap over there might just bring a tear to your eye.
    Cheers!

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    Thanks and definitely a sojourn in the Czech lands is in order as well. In fact, Pilsener Urquel is a particular favorite and I've always wanted to try it on its local turf. We get though in Canada now some very fresh samples in cans, I mentioned in another thread a sample canned December 1 and it was superb. Also, it had just the right (a fairly low) level of carbonation, which assists the drinkability of the beer. The best-by date of Urquel is 8 months after packaging, which is how you can calculate production date. The Germans admire Urquel, it is a big-selling import there. The German Pils beers I've had seem to go in another direction though, due I think to differences in hops used.

    Gary

  8. #8

    Re: First Beers In Germany

    It's been many years but I recall a dramatic difference in quality between the draft beers and the export versions.

    This was taken for granted. I don't know if it is a case of evading the brewing purity laws for exported products, or just more economical, or they alter the recipes to make it travel better.

    I wasn't deeply involved in comparitive brew sampling, but 'export' was a dirty word on the label...

  9. #9
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    I have spent much time in Germany and Austria over the years to, among other things, sample as much of their local beer, wines and culture as possible. Having done this.........I can say this.........."There are very few beers here in the US that can match the German Art, which has been practiced since about 800 AD, and is now perfected." As for the wine, I regard the Riesling grape as the quintessential german wine grape. I know of no Oregon, Washington or Califirnia Rieslings which get even close to the superior German wine makers art from Rheingau, Rheinhessen and Moselle vineyards. I would like to journey back to sample more but with the way the dollar is against to euro, I'll just have to wait awhile.
    Joe
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  10. #10
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    Re: First Beers In Germany

    I know some good beers in the US that can match any German,i think it is not the skill but the kind of grain you use,i heard that Budweiser(the American) and a lot of others use a lot of corn and rice to cut the cost of the more expensive barley,this results in a weaker more watery beer,the German brewers still hang on to the Reinheitsgebot.Fact is that a lot of brewers have to compete with big foreign breweries like Heineken or domestic like Warsteiner ,that is very populair with youngsters,and will vanish if they loose their local customers.The weak spot of a lot German breweries is that the village or region the brewery is in is their only market.
    The German wine industry is certainly on the rise and Baden and Rheinhessen are the two main regions where winemakers are developing.I only know the MSR-region as makers of sweet white wine,have you any suggestions on what wines are on the rise overthere?
    Eric.
    Netherlands

 

 

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