A couple of weeks ago I was searching online for somewhere within Germany, or at least close by, where I could order some not-German beers. I've had a grá for Goose Island IPA for some reason, but would have equally settled for a Bishop's Finger! While being bounced around the Interweb on my search I found posts on an ex-pats (I don't want to be classed as one!) forum about similar searches, and one which recommended Franconian beers if the sea of Pilsners and Helles (especially for those in Munich) was getting too much. As a result, I found myself at the door of Biershop Bamberg. The name speaks for itself really. The two chaps running it seem to have a nice little business running, supported by the town, and generally promoting the brewing heritage of Bamberg and Franconia. Well, Bamberg and Merkendorf certainly! On an aside, I couldn't help feeling disappointed that they had a copy of the Rheinheitsgebot on the site. I'm not sure why, so I think I need to explore this with my shrink another time.
The only Bamberger bier I have knowingly tried up to that point was the famous Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, and while that was two or three years ago, I still remember its smoked ham-like aroma, and surprisingly easy drinkability. The site offered a mixed case of twenty four Bamberger beers for €26.80, so I said screw it, even though I was still going through the five crates of beer I had bought only a few weeks before (more of that experience another time). I also topped it up with a six-pack of Brauerei Wagner's “Richard Wagner Dunkel” as they had it listed under the Top Secret section, so I just had to know!
A few days later a very well packed box arrived, full of smaller boxes each containing six beers, along with an assortment of beer mats, and a brocheure for Privaten Braugasthofen all over Germany. Not as many as I thought there would be, but a nice list with a huge concentration in the southern part of the country.
I'll be taking my time going through it, but I have sampled a couple at this stage. I thought I should get a Pilsners out of the way, as they are the ones I find most uninspiring, and I'd like my prejudices to be challenged!
The Kaiserdom Pilsner poured a bright and pale gold with a brilliant white creamy head. With a steady flow of bubbles, this certainly looked the part. Aroma-wise I got citrusy hints, and behind that what I can only describe as farmyard smells. Nice farmyard smells mind! Let's say earthy! With a sweet malt flavour balanced by a slight tartness and grass, this opened up pretty well, but as it got warmer I found the sweetness taking over a bit and becoming a little sticky, which was off-putting. In fairness, it wasn't terribly well chilled to begin with, and I think this beer would benefit from it as at the time it was about 28 degrees and horribly humid. Maybe I should have drank it quicker.