The Rolinck brewery, established in 1820, is based in Steinfurt, about 30km northwest of Münster, and is the local brewery to my colleague Christian (one of them). When I moved here last year, it wasn't so long after Krombacher had bought the local brewery, but I remember Christian telling me that production of the same beers was supposed to continue. Bizarrely, I've been here over a year now and this is the first time I have tasted any of their beers, and it's thanks to Christian from bringing me in a selection, along with a special edition Rolinck Christmas glass. Thanks Christian!
I was told that Rolinck Friedensreiter Bräu is not made any more, so I was very happy to receive a bottle. I was also happy to smell its rather nice, sweet biscuity malt aroma with hints of orange and a little spice. The sweet malt is also there in the flavour, but a little thin and sugary. The hops have an initial plasticy resinous effect -- that flavour that I sometimes associate with hop extract -- but fortunately, for me at least, this doesn't dominate and is easily overlooked. The finish is a lingering pine sap with a touch of spice. I would have enjoyed this more if it wasn't just that little bit too sugary, or maybe I should have served it colder.
Their Pilsener Premium is very pale, almost thin looking. The aroma has that plastic, resinous note, and yes, this does contain hop extract, and this would have put me off but for the slight lemon twist sitting beside it. The flavour actually reflects the appearance, being a little thin. There's a slight breadiness and a light carbonic note that lifts the hop bitterness. Grassy, with a touch of resin and apple juice, it's also highly carbonated. To be honest, the flavour is better than I expected from the aroma, and all in all it would make a fine lawn mower beer, but a bit too gassy to be able to drink lots of it. And actually, now that I think about it, that carbonic note I mentioned seems to increase to the point that my gums started to feel like they were getting a chemical peel. Not my favourite beer.
Finally, the Axel Rolinck Feines Lagerbier, with the R-Man on the label, apparently a device the brewery has used for ages. Christian told me that years back there was a big R-dude on the tower of the brewery, and when driving into the town it could be seen for miles, and people had a sense of coming home. Apparently Rolinck got rid of it, saying that it was old fashioned, and they were trying to modernise the image of the company. Clearly it didn't change their fortunes as Krombacher was able to make an offer they couldn't refuse, but Krombacher have since reintroduced this big R on the tower apparently, making the locals happy. But the beer, well, another one with a biscuity aroma and this time a delicate resinous hop aroma. The flavour is soft and a little bready with a touch of grass and a squeeze of lemon. Like the Pilsener, it's highly carbonated, but the effect is much softer, with a nice body. An altogether more satisfying beer than the Pilsener, this is an easy-going, unchallenging beer that would go well on a hot summers day in the garden.
The Friedensreiter, by the way, is a bit of a symbol around here of the end of the 30 Years War in 1648. These Peace Riders were the communication channels for the negotiating delegations in the cities of Münster and Osnabrück, and when, finally, the Peace of Westfalia was signed, they brought the news to the capitals of Europe. This participation in the ending of a horrendous war is something that is proudly remembered in both cities to this day. Here endeth the lesson...
Rolinck is another brewery that produces these bastardisations of cola and beer pre-mixed, and have done since 2001. At least they have the honesty to call theirs BASTARD Biercola.