Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bergmann Glühbier

8 comments
A couple of days ago I received an e-mail from Thomas, the man behind the revived Bergmann brewery in Dortmund, announcing that they will be serving Glühbier at their kiosk in Dortmund every Friday till Christmas. It seems that they have this kiosk in Dortmund where they open from 4pm to 8pm just selling their beers. Nothing else. Interesting outlet idea!

I asked Thomas if they had brewed a special beer for the holiday season or were they spicing up something like their Schwarzbier that I tasted before. It turns out it's exactly the latter, and they will be using fruit concentrate and spices to mull the beer. I'd love to know what combination of spices will be used. I wonder would the spices used for making Glühwine work? I like to think they were inspired by my Christmas beer, which I really should bottle soon, but I doubt it. :)

So, if you were making a mulled beer from a dark beer at home, what would you use to make it festive?

On an aside, the local TV station, WDR, is going to be running a program in January titled "How beer disappeared from Dortmund". An interesting title presumably reflecting how the breweries of Dortmund have either closed or been subsumed into larger holding companies. Bergmann represents the return of an old brand name and an independant brewery to Dortmund, a slight reversal of the trend, and the program makers have filmed in the new brewery last month. Always good news...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Back to normality

3 comments
My last few days in Dublin went by in a blur of beer and food. Geoff in the Bull and Castle was right, I did put a few pounds on (well, 2kg to be exact), but it wasn't all down to the Mammy's cooking. I think I had three Zaytoon mixed doner kebabs in the 11 days I was there. Simply savage stuff!

On Tuesday I took it easy during the day but was heading over to my old workplace to say hello. I had intended posting from the Porterhouse on the way over, but they were out of wireless access scratch cards, so I had to just sit and drink the BrewDog Hardcore IPA I had impulse purchased to tide me through a blog post. Pale and slightly hazy I found it had an intense, sweet yet dryish bitterness, very orange pithy. It only then I looked at the label and realised it was 9%. Oh, yes, that would explain the warmth that was beginning in my throat. It was quite gassy too. Once used to the bitterness (it never seems to take me long) I thought there wasn't too much depth to it though. Some nice toffee notes, but the bittersweetness was the dominant flavour. I'd have another. Now would be good actually.

Having gathered some of my former colleagues we popped accross the road to the Halfway House, where I had no choice but to have a couple of pints of Guinness, but after that it was back into town to the Bull and Castle for a steak sandwich, a few pints of Galway Hooker, O'Hara's Stout and a Clotworthy Dobbin.

Wednesday was a day shopping, again, and a quite few pints in a pub between where I grew up and where I leved before moving to Germany. This time it was a couple pint bottles of McArdle's followed by a pint bottle of Guinness Extra Stout off the shelf. All in a proper auld lad's bar.

Thursday was an event I was looking forward too. One of the monthly gatherings of ICB members in the Bull and Castle. I'm not going to go into the tasting notes of the homebrews tasted, but with an assortment of about 12 different beers including porter, stout, pale ales, IPAs, weissbiers and a couple of red ales, it was great fun. I had brought over three beers, and I had expected my darker ale to go down better than the pale ale, like it had here in Germany, but it was completely the opposite. When Thom mentioned my pale ale and Sierra Nevada in the same breath I thought it was high praise indeed! The darker one was descibed as having a lovely smell and body, but not much in the flavour stakes. As a brewer it's good to get honest opinions! How else can one learn? After trundling out of the B&C, Kieron, Séan (my fellow founder of ICB) and I somehow ended up in the Porterhouse drinking their Alt, although by this stage I really just needed a feed and a good sleep. Kieron and I did manage a kebab after. Sure it's only accross the street from the Porterhouse Temple Bar! We'd never have made it past!

Friday was even more shopping and a lads night in with two old mates, curry and a random selection of beers. I didn't take notes. But I remember the Bombardier Satanic Mills being kind of woody and roasty with hints of licorice. I didn't drink all that much as by this stage I was bloated, but I did finish the night on Kieron's fantastic IPA though. I'm getting too old for this shit.

Saturday was a very easy day with more shopping and more curry, but this time at home with my mother. With a 5am start on Sunday, I was happy to be in bed early, and even though even though I miss the craic of being out with my friends in Dublin, I was even happier to get back to Münster, my little family and normality.

Oh, and it snowed last night. My son was very excited. And I was told that it seldom snows in the Münsterland! A bit slippy cycling on it, and when I came out of work this evening there was ice covering my saddle and my rear gears were frozen. It's minus 3C now apparently. I would have settled in with a doppelbock, but I need to deflate. I could still eat a Zaytoon kebab though...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A tourist at home

1 comments
I'm not used to having so much time to myself. And I'm not used to being a tourist in my home town, but it's kinda nice. On Monday myself and TheBeernut met up in the pub (B&C again) with Velky Al of Fuggled fame, and Mrs. Velky Al, for a bite to eat and a couple of beers. Well, TBN and I had a couple of beers as he was working and I had to go shopping, but VA had to make the most of the oppertunity as they were heading for the airport that afternoon. I hope we didn't put undue pressure on his opinion of our favourite Irish beers! But having a Galway Hooker, and a Clotworthy Dobbin , broken by a London Pride, was enough to fuel me for a ramble about town at least. Oh, and Al brought a bottle of Primator Exkluziv 16% for each of us, so I look forward to sampling this properly at home.

Following lunch I collected my copy of the book I had worked on in my dark and distant past, picked up some small gifts for the family and stopped off to get some cheese in my favourite cheese shop in Dublin, Sheridans. This was a bit bizarre. I ordered some Ardrahan, Gubeen, Cratloe Hills and a french ewe's milk cheese that I can't remember the name of now, but when I asked if they delivered their hampers abroad and revealed that I lived in Germany she switched straight into German and we carried out the rest of the transaction in German. She was from Dortmund, not far from Muenster. Die Welt ist Klein. What was bizarre was that quite often in Muenster when I go shopping the younger shop assistants will switch to English, even though I initiate the transactions with German (I know I'm not good at it, but I have to try). The biggest insult was in the local small supermarket where I simply asked for 400g of minced beef, in perfect German, and the girl just kept replying in English. I just kept using German. I guss having a British base just across the road makes them expect to have to speak English, but come on! I was trying! Anyway, it gave me a giggle that this girl was so happy to have someone to speak German at, and I think I got through ok.

After all that I was killing time before heading to Mr Nut's for a steak dinner, so popped into the Porterhouse on Parliament Street (PH Temple Bar). This used to be my regular haunt. I was in there probably once a week for a few years, and any time anyone visited, this is where they'd be brought. I just loved the selection! But once I found the Bull and Castle and realised that it was just far more pleasent to sit in a bar without incredibly loud music and, frankly, quite rude bar staff who no longer cared about the beer, I hadn't been back in this branch of the PH for about two-and-a-half years. It wasn't so busy, being 5pm on a Monday, and the bar staff were having fun amongst themselves, so it was fun sitting at the bar. Apart from one chap who couldn't resist the odd dig at customers. Anyway, I was lucky that there was still some of the Porterhouse Hop Head left. ICB had been invited to a launch of the beer at the brewery, which I was really sad to have missed, but at least I'd get to try it now. My fried Kieron had told me he found it quite harsh, but I expect it had matured since then as I found it quite smooth (the same thing happened with the last IPA I made). It had a flavour like good vanilla ice cream with mango sorbet and a touch of those pineapple chunk boiled sweets at the back end. I couldn't say it was bitter, but it certainly had a lovely full hop flavour and aroma in a zesty, fruity way. Really quite a nice refreshing pint.

The menu still mentioned Vienna Dark as a special, and thinking that it was the right time of year for this seasonal special I asked if or when it was on. The bar man seemed to think that it would not be made this year as the Porterhouse Alt was going so well. So, I had an Alt before bussing it to the Nut House.

TheBeerNut produced a bottle of beer myself and Kieron had made a year and a half ago. It was a failed Old Peculiar clone that had ended up far too strong and far more Belgiany than it was intended, but looking at the recipe again it's not surprising. A sipping beer at 7.2%, I was amazed at how well preserved it was, as it was a beer that I hadn't been overly happy about when we made it. Well done TBN for foresight! This reinforces my desire to make a barley wine before the end of the year. Mmmmm...

This post was made courtesy of some neighbour of my Mother's, who must have turned their wireless router on again after a couple of days denying me web access. I'm a bad boy.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Belfast Beer Festival (Round 2)

2 comments
After getting fed on a cheese and onion burger and chips, which were actually all pretty tasty, it was back into the fray. By this time the hall was filling up and a couple of musicians were putting out a few tunes of the Irish kind. Despite being a long, cool hall, there was a nice friendly atmosphere in the place, so it would be easy to spend all night there. As it was, we only had a few more hours to make the most of, and I started back in with a beer I thought would give me the fuller flavours I wanted. The Copper Dragon Black Gold was another light beer at 3.7%, but it did have a nice mild coffee, chicory aroma, vegetal notes and an undertone reminiscent of prune juice. Although it was quite flat with little life in it, it fitted with the flavours and texture well, again bringing out a chicory kind of flavour. The blurb on the sheet of beers available said it was "quite bitter", but I didn't really think so. More a dark chocolately bitterness perhaps. Flavoursome at least.

I'd never had the Sharp's Doom Bar Bitter before, even though it's apparently a regular kind of ale. Not terribly challenging, I thought it was pleasent and quite drinkable with ginger, an orange pith-like bitterness and a caramel undertone.

Mr. BeerNut had an Atlas Latitude, and as a former surveyor I had to try it even on the name alone, and because it was marked as being a Pilsner. It had a slightly soapy thing going on with a good dollop of lemon verbena. Maybe a bit too much like a lemon scented washing up liquid, but interesting. Also quite possibly the weakest Pilsner I've ever had at 3.6%.

Moving up the flavour and strength scales, the RCH Old Slug Porter came next, weighing in at 4.5%. Dark chocolate dominates the flavour here, with a slightly veinous undertone, vanilla and a fresh hop bitterness. It's the coacoa that keeps this beer going though, with a roasty backdrop. Lovely, and actually my favourite beer tried that day.

At some point we went off to play some of the games on offer, and despite being really crap and careless with the shuffleboard (compared to Mr. BeerNut's failed measured approach) I got enough points to win a pint glass. After looking at them I asked if I could go down to the lower prizes, as really the glass selection was like the official tasting glasses. Mixed and generally of no interest. I opted for a Harviestoun BItter and Twisted pump clip and got a Young's pin into the bargain.

Staying in the black zone, the Houston Warlock Stout came next. This had more nice chocolatey aromas with a hint of almonds. I found it quite dry with a touch of dried fruits down deep. Not bad.

The Blindman's Eclipse Porter came next after having a sniff of Oblivious' glass. This has an intense, in your face chocloate aroma. The flavour is similar with a flavour like cheap chocolate (we reckoned chomp bars) and a nutty strand running through it. Oblivious seemed to think it would have aphrodisiac properties simply from the aroma, maybe like chocolate pheromones, but fortunately he didn't get to test out this hypothesis.

Time was beginning to run out, and having wanted to hit the heavy beers before leaving, all I could do was get a half of Orkney Skullsplitter and funnel it into an emty water bottle for the journey. Glass emptied, I then got a Whitewater Clotworthy Dobbin to knock back. This is one of my favourite beers from a bottle, so I wasn't sure what to expect from a cask. I prefer the bottle. It just seems to have a bit more going on, and a fuller, creamier mouthfeel that the cask just wasn't offering.

That done, it was time to rush accross to the Balmoral station to catch the train to Portadown. Half an hour later, with a few shared sips of Skullsplitter, we piled out onto the platform in Portadown and accross a car park to a bar that Mr. BeerNut insisted we try, as long as we kept our mouths shut. McConville's is a nice old world bar, a touch of victoriana I imagine. With it's little snugs all along one side, we jammed in and got a mix of pint bottles of Guinness Extra Stout and Smithwicks. I have to say I haven't had Smithwicks in a long long time (for obvious reasons), and this was the first time I'd ever seen a pint bottle of it. Having had our first drink we reckoned it'd be good to grab a few more bottles for the train. However the barman must have copped it, as when we emerged from our snug the wee man was standing in front of the door with his arms folded. He told me that we couldn't take the bottles out as the police were outside and it was a big no-no to be taking the open bottles out (we should have asked for them to be left closed). We of course complied and glugged back some shelf-warm Smithwicks before setting out accross the car park to the train station. As it happens, he was right. The police were outside and were watching our rag-tag group half-jogging towards the station where the train was waiting on the platform. Mr. Station Guy said we were very lucky to get it, as it pulled out as soon as we were on board.

An hour and a half later we pulled into Dublin Connolly and of course headed straight for a pint of Galway Hooker in the Bull and Castle. Possibly not the smartest thing to do, as that also led to a kebab in Zaytoon on Parliament Street. It's hard to walk past that place, really. I wouldn't mention it only I was so impressed with TheBeerNut's capacity for punishement as after he finished his large mixed doner he ate about a third of mine. Impressive, most impressive.

In hindsight, I quite enjoyed the festival for the craic and the atmosphere, but I was a bit disappointed with the beers. As I said before, I've only had cask beer on a few occasions, and I generally enjoyed those. I think I was expecting a cask festival to be like nectar of the Gods, but it made me feel that cask isn't all it's cracked up to be. It certainly doesn't make a mediocre beer good, but I suspect, in some cases at least, it made an ok beer mediocre, and there were certainly a couple of complete clangers in the mix. Of course it's the same in all the beer world. It's always the few that really stand out, and there were a handful of really ejoyable beers. It's the search for those that make it fun.

This post was made courtesy of my former employer, as the Porterhouse didn't have any web access scratch cards available. But it did mean I got a Brew Dog Hardcore IPA.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Belfast Beer Festival (Round 1)

2 comments
Saturday, day three of my trip back in Ireland, began with an early rise to get to Connolly Station with TheBeerNut and Kieron to get the train to Belfast, meeting up with Oblivious (another ICBer) and his friend at the station. Mr. BeerNut had made this journey before, so he had the journey planned to perfection. We arrived at the rather cool and slightly empty hall at the back of King's Hall about 12:30 with about seven hours to go for the sampling. With a choice of about 70 cask beers to choose from, it was going to be tough.

I've said before elsewhere that coming from Ireland, cask beers are a rarity. We simply have no living tradition of them, and I think the last time casks would have been seen regularly was the 60's (I'm open to correction on that), and these days the micro breweries that do make cask ales usually do so for export or festivals. So it was a bit of an oppertunity for me to get a chance to choose from so many, as the only other oppertunities I've had over the past few years were the odd trip to Aylesbury. Not exactly the bright centre of the Galaxy.

After getting a stack of tokens and the so called festival glass (it was a mixed bag of random glasses or leftovers from other fetivals it would appear) like everyone else in our group, I headed for the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby, a strong throwback mild I have been informed. At 6% it's not one to be knocking back, and indeed the dark, dried fruits, light burnt toffee, warming alcohol and port-like undertone make this a complex ale ideal for sipping by a fire. I would have prefered more carbonation to be honest, but such is life.

Next up was the Triple FFF Alton Pride, voted Champion Beer of Britain 2008. I wasn't so impressed with this. It had quite a vegetal nose, verging on green cabbage, and this with green hops came through on the flavour, riding on top of a grainy caramel base. I had really hoped to be blown away by a champion beer, but that didn't happen. Maybe it was having an off day.

While drinking that I took a sample of Kieron's Bateman's Valiant which was most remarkable for how close the aroma was to a public toilet. It reeked of stale piss. Despite this it had a pleasent enough appley flavour. But only pleasent as long as you held your breath.

I had to try the Harviestoun Schiehallion, as I'd never had a cask lager. A very yellowy gold affair, this had apricots, green hops, pine and a slight citrus tone on top of a grainy backbone. I really didn't think was at all like a lagerbier at first, but a kind of hoppy dryness lingers which definitely made it feel more like a lager. Interesting, but I would like to know how long it had been lagered for, and how it got that slightly oily mouthfeel.

Being somewhat of a hop head (part time at least), I steered towards the Dark Star Hop Head. This had a really clean floral hop aroma with slight peach and floral notes. A light beer at 3.8%, it also tasted light, dominated by the hops with grassy, pineapple, grapefruit undertones. Something it shared with the Oakham Ales JHB, which gave me a bag of sherbety, grapefruit flavous. Not much else that I recorded about it though, apart from it being a light beer at 3.8%. I've never had so many beers under 4.5%!

I followed this with a Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale. This had a sulphury, eggy aroma. With a dry feel, the sulphury snatch came out inthe flavour too, but overall I found ti pretty weak and one-dimensional. I didn't bother finishing it, opting instead for a Mayfield's Auntie Myrtle's. With a sweet, toffee and veinous nose, this was quite promising. It had a toasty backdrop with slightly woody notes and on top of this a raiseny sweetness. Not much of a finish, but I quite liked the raisen thing going on. As with alot of the earlier beers I would have preferred a little more carbonation to lift the flavours up a bit.

At this point my stomach was rumbling, and having not brought a supply of scotch eggs as Mr. BeerNut had (this madeus fear the return journey in an enclosed carriage), a couple of us were forced out to the rather large chipper truck (not van!) to take on some soakage. I determined to stay dark for the second round, but we'll see. I've bored you enough already...

Friday, 14 November 2008

Triumphant Return

8 comments
It was a little strange being back in Dublin after eight months away, but it's easy to slip into old habits. I had originally planned to fly over tomorrow, but shortly after booking my flight I received an invitation to the launch of a book representing the final stage in an archaeological research project that I last worked on nine years ago, and in fact began working on in 1992. SO, I changed my flights and landed in Dublin on Wednesday night. It was great to see this book finally out, and a very proud moment for the director of the project. It was also great seeing alot of faces I hadn't seen in eight years, never mind eight months! Ah, but those were the days when i was young, fit from walking up and down mountains with surveying equipment every day, and had long flowing locks. It was also the period (the early 90's at least) where I drink quantities of Bud, Miller and Carlsberg, but there wasn't much choice in rural Ireland back then, so I'll continue to hide behind that excuse.

My old friend (hi Kieron!) who had also worked for the research institute came over to the event and later on we decided to head for a pint in my old haunt, the Bull and Castle, stopping off at Porterhouse Central on the way where I got to try the Porterhouse Alt. It was served very cold indeed, so I couldn't get all the flavours initially. In fact my first thought was that it tasted a bit home brewey (but not in the good sense). I found it a bit overly fruity and the hops a bit green, but I have to admit that as it warmed a bit I also warmed towards it, and the hops seemed to become a little more sherbety, the fruitiness a bit more balanced against a decent malt backdrop with a touch of butter. Quite a good interpretation actually and a nice beer in its own right, though perhaps not as clean as the German examples I have been trying.

We walked down Dame Street to the Bull and Castle, resisting popping into the Porterhouse on Parliament Street. Geoff, the manager of the B&C, immediately gave me "the usual", a pint of my beloved Galway Hooker. It's been so long since I had this it was like tasting it anew. In fact it was almost a shock to get that wonderful hop profile that I just haven't found in the German beers, with a mix of first gold, fuggles, saaz and cascade working together to create an interesting spicy mix. It's a cleaner tasting beer than I remember, but with a long finish that leaves your mouth coated with gentle hops. Getting to the end of the glass I realised I was hooked again.

We avoided German beers, but went to a neighbour for the next one with a Steenbrugge Dubbel Bruin, a delicately spiced dubbel that, to be honest, had to fight the hop residue left over by the Hooker and the Alt. The label says it uses a "gruut" from Bruges, and I'd love to know exactly what is in it. I think I'll try it again with a cleaner palate to try to do it justice.

We were joined by another old frind (hi Brian) who steered us towards England with a Fuller's London Pride. It's been ages since I had Pride, and indeed ages since I has a classic English ale. I think having subsisted on German hopped beers for the past few months let me really taste the difference in the hop characters, and this was just wonderful. A great mildly toffee-like base with a strong, clean floral hop flavour. It tastes like hops smell. Really delicious. I want another now!

Before leaving, Geoff instructed the bar man to give us one more before we'd have to leave. As has been my habit, it was time to let loose the Goose; Goose Island IPA. Another hop dominated beer, and another example of how different hops can make a beer. It didn't have the body that I remembered either, but it's certainly one of my favourite beers. In fact, a six pack is winging it's way to Germany as I type (thanks Mike), so I think I will use these for a tasting session (as I had thought of doing before) with some German colleagues to see how they cope with the flavours.

Next time I'm out I'll be bringing my camera...

Monday, 10 November 2008

A trip to the old country

1 comments
I moved to Germany in March of this year, and haven't been home to see my family and friends in eight months now. Time really flies! That's about to be rectified as on Wednesday night I'm popping over to Dublin for an 11 day trip.

It's going to be weird. Not only will I get to see Ireland in recession after so long living with the "Tiger", best of all I'll be a tourist observing it in my native city, which I am kind of looking forward to. Nothing to do with Schadenfreude, but my brother told me things are starting to get cheaper, which is about time. As he said it, we'd only ourselves to blame for paying €5 for a cappucino. Well, I never did!
I reckon I'll have a fairly full calendar trying to meet up with people, and already have a few dates filled. First will be the launch of a book I worked on in a previous life that has taken nine years to get published. Now that's gonna be weird! Also planned is a day trip to the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival with TheBeerNut and a few more like-minded folk from Irish Craft Brewer. Most of all though, I'm looking forward to slipping into the Bull and Castle beside Christ Church Cathederal, probably several times, for a few pints of Galway Hooker and other delights. As well as meeting up with my old mates TBN and Thom and new blogger pal Velky Al in the B&C for lunch on Monday, on the 20th we're having a regular ICB brewers tasting evening where I'll get to see my oldest ICB mates and some new ICB faces. Well new since I left anyway. Such gatherings are always fun. Mmmmmm...
In the meantime, the few readers I have shouldn't expect too many posts as my poor Mother doesn't have the best Internet connection in the world. But I hear the Porterhouse does have free wireless access. Well fancy that

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Einbecker Ur-Bocks

2 comments
At the time of writing, my cellar has a disproportionate number of bocks and doppelbocks sitting on a shelf. I'm not that into this type of beer, but I like one now and again. I just happened to go mad the last time I was shopping for beer in the local drink market. Well, that time I also spotted the Einbecker label, and of course had to try the original bockbier.

The Einbecker Ur-Bock Hell didn't give alot of aroma to me (I did have a cold and it was one of the reasons for going for bocks), but I did get the impression of sweet almonds. It has a big malt flavour, and again, the marzipan cames out in the taste, with hints of orange peel. It has a full almost chewy mouthfeel and tastes more than its 6.5%. The finish is warming with a slightly spicy, black pepper tone, and a bitterness edging towards grapefruit. Sounds like alot going on, but after a while you get used to it and it begins to taste just like a very strong, sweet lager. Not bad though.

On to the Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel, a deep amber, heading to chestnut-brown. Like it's sister, this had a fairly thin head that didn't last. It has all the qualities of the Hell, but with a bit more substance, more toffee notes and a touch of vanilla. I have to admit my notes got a bit sketchy, but I made a comment that it was well drinkable. So there you go!

I drank both of these while baking lovely Bauernbrot at around midnight. Warm bread and this kind of beer just go great.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Dark Side of Jever

3 comments
My friendly neighbours were recently on a trip to the North Sea coastal area of Friesland, Lower Saxony, where they paid a visit to the Friesische Brauhaus in Jever, home of the beer of the same name. They even sent us a postcard telling us they had visited the brewery, andon return home one evening I found a bottle of beer outside our door. No ordinary Jever though, this was the sexy looking Jever Dark. Well ok, I just happen to like the colour combination on the label (although it looked better full).

Despite the appearance in the photo, Jever Dark is a deep chestnut/mahogany brown. It has quite a gentle nobel hop aroma and an alost marzipan-like touch of sweetness. It gives clean tasting chocolate malt with a hint of nuttiness and vegetal notes. As to be expected from Jever, it has a nice touch of hop bitterness. I also detected a slight saltiness, but this may have been after looking at photos of the surrounding area planting maritime suggestions in my head.

Overall, I found this to be a clean tasting, easy to drink beer, and I would have been happy if the bottles were larger than 330ml.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A silent bierclub.de

4 comments
Last week i was taking a poke around the website of bierclub.de, thinking that it might be nice to join the club and have a monthly supply of probably mostly new beers to try; 9 beers and newsletters delivered to my door for €18.90 a month. I was also wondering why, in their 10 year history, there hasn't been a single non-German beer in the beer of the month.

It prompted me to send a message via the contact form on their website, just to ask a couple of questions before I parted with my hard-earned cash and signed up, even though the events they organise look fun. My message to them included my observation that the German beer world tended to be inward looking, and wondering what their membership, of apparently over 5000, thought of the micro revolutions and the broad range of styles available elsewhere.

I suppose if their remit is to promote German beer then fair enough, but I still have not received an answer (after seven days), so they clearly aren't all that interested in having new members, despite having handed out fliers in Copenhagen as Mr BeerNut informed me. In fact, Mr BeerNut predicted that I would get no response. So much for efficiency.

If a relatively large beer club such as this isn't interested in the goings on in the beer world outside of the national borders, then is this a reflection of the nation as a whole, or simply a result of their business case, and perhaps nice marketing for the German brewers?

Monday, 3 November 2008

Riedenburger Export Weissbier

0 comments
I'm not exactly sure what an Export Weissbier is, but this is how this beer was listed in the menu at the Hotel Horger I stayed in a few weeks ago. As the hotel is a Bio-Hotel (read organic), they have a small list of organic beers. After the vile Viva Bavaria, I wasn't sure whether to risk this, but as I always say, you can't judge an entire subgroup of beer on one example.

The Riedenburger Export Weissbier is a cloudy amber with a loose-bubbled head and a constant stream of bubbles. Sparkling. It has a classic bubblegum with a hint of banana aroma. You get exactly the same in the flavour, with a faint toffee hint. Only a little mind, sitting under the gentle clove and almost juicy-fruit like flavours.

This is a pretty decent weissbier. Certainly darker than a regular weissbier, but not a dunkel. It doesn't have as an acidic edge as I find in some weissbiers, possibly because of the slight caramel flavours that bring a nice touch to the whole thing, and it has a dryish finish. If you think organic beers have to taste completely bland, try this, and it might change your mind.