Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A fistful of Faust

Brauhaus Faust Zu Miltenberg, in Bavaria, is only about a 50km drive from where I live (I'm in the Dreiländereck of Hessen Bayern Baden-Württemberg, so can hop between Federal States with ease!), but I first encountered one of their beers in my former home of Münster, up in North Rhine-Westphalia. It's probably no surprise that Faust Pils is served in one of my favourite pubs in Münster, The James, as the owner's mother is from Miltenberg. At the time, Axel had just gotten in Faust Pils, and was as pleased as punch, offering me and a mate a free glass to try it. I have to admit, although we gave murmurs of approval, there was something odd, yet interesting about it. Slightly sour, with a funky aroma I wasn't sure was supposed to be there. I subconsciously crossed Faust off my list, until a couple of months ago, when Axel showed me an empty bottle of a rather interesting-looking IPA from Faust. Looking at their shop, they've quite a few specialist beers, but before diving into them, I thought I'd give their standard fare a proper run.

Faust Export is extremely well-carbonated, with a seemingly perpetual head of foam constantly fed by a stream of bubbles. It has a surprisingly strong herbal aroma, with a mild spiciness and a candy-like undertone. Quite a fruity flavour up front, with hints of pear and pineapple on a white sliced pan base. The finish is mildly spicy, a little watery, but what spoils it for me is a vaguely plasticky aftertaste, that some might call resinous. I know I'm sensitive to that particular flavour profile, so try it yourself, as the rest gives an interesting, and quite possibly welcome variation on the Export theme.
I can't really say much about the Faust Pils, and not just from my previous experience of it. Certainly, it didn't have those funky flavours I described above, so I can only assume something went wrong on the way to Muenster. However, what it does have is a catty, grassy aroma, again with a mild resinous backdrop. The flavour is a little bit grainy, a little bit fruity, a little bit lemony... a little bit... Well, suffice to say, it's relatively unoffensive, but not something I'd return to in a hurry. Unless of course I visit the tap room, in which case I'll probably be ordering a freshly-poured glass to ponder on.

Faust Kräusen, subtitled Naturtrüb, didn't pour as hazy as expected. Perhaps a hint of haze. It delivers a zesty, lemony aroma cut with a thyme-like herbal highlight. Sweet, in a honey-like way. It said so on the label, actually, but I didn't expect it to be so remarkably strong, and certainly pleasant. A juicy-fruit quality slips in to the fore, and on the back, that herbal note suggested on the aroma comes in with a nice bitterness and a twist of black pepper, finishing with a long, resinous smack. Actually, this worked for me. It's certainly süffig and moreish, and feels like a bit of a mish-mash of beers. Despite my leanings away from resin flavours, I found this a charming beer, and one I'd gladly have several of.

Faust Schwarzviertler Dunkel is the one I was most looking forward to trying, as I have a soft spot for a nice Dunkel. The origins of Brauhaus Faust began in 1654, with a brewery founded in the Schwarzviertel area of Miltenberg, hence the name. This has a softer carbonation than the others, yielding a creamier, longer-lasting head on a clear, dark chestnut body. It has a mild aroma, mostly delivering caramelly malt and toasted bread. It has a soft mouthfeel, with a gentle prickling sensation, despite the apparent low carbonation, which serves to cut what could be an otherwise one-dimensional malty sweetness (think barley sugar sweets). Light fruit flavours bring up the rear, suggesting strawberries, a touch of blackberry and a just a whisper of wet cardboard in the finish. Despite a certain wateriness, I quite like the juiciness and that carbonic bite that rounds it off.

And finally, the Faust Doppelbock Dunkel. At regulation 7% ABV, this Doppelbock is an appealing, bright, red-hued chestnut. Aroma-wise, it's a tad grainy, with vegetal (raw cabbage) overtones. Not massively appealing, but on the first few mouthfuls, it sets things right with really juicy malts carrying a vanilla-edged, strong caramel flavour, cut sharply with a carbonic edge, much like the Schwarzviertler, but this time also with, dare I say it, a trace of tartness. This is more of a fruity tartness, akin to raspberries, rather than something gone sour. It has a generally fruity backdrop throughout, redolent of raisins and green apple skins. All of this combined with  a creamy mouthfeel makes this a rather moreish Doppelbock, devoid of the sticky sugariness that so often puts me off other members of this family. Served cold, it's immensely quaffable (did I just use that word?!), while a tad warmer, it's just as pleasant, but a certain huskiness appears.

Overall, I'm pleased with my Faust purchases (apart from the Pils), and at a little less than €1 a bottle why wouldn't I be? The rest of that order, though? Well, the specials are quite a bit more expensive, but we'll see if they're worth it soon...

1 comment:

Wolfgang said...

Thanks for the review. Was tempted myself to order some of their "special" Stuff especially the two hoppier Beers and the Eisbock.
Now I´m wainig for your impressions.