A while ago, I bought a stash of beers from Cologne's Freigeist Bierkultur, brewed at Braustelle. Freigeist make some interesting beers, some I had way back on 2010 at the Festival der Bierkulturen, some I tried at the Braukunst Live! festival last year, and some, like the Deutscher Porter, I have been sipping at for quite some time. I think I liked them all, very much, so during the holidays, when I had a little time to myself, I selfishly opened two that I hadn't tried before.
Freigssit Bierkultur Hoppeditz stands out as an Altbier brewed in Cologne, and named after a character from the Duesseldorfer Karneval, a jester-like character that opens the festivities, although from the label, he paints a slightly macabre figure. Hoppeditz pours a rather dirty, oily-looking, red-tinged brown with a persistent, rocky, tan foam. It has a fully-loaded toffee/caramel aroma laced with fruity overtones: baked apple and plums, marzipan and a suggestion of melting milk chocolate. Fairly promising, and it doesn't disappoint. With a soft carbonation and creamy body supporting a well-rounded but strong caramel base with burnt notes around the edges, it delights with flashes of flavours that are hard to pin down, being slightly vinous and roasty at turns, but with an underlying theme of raisins and chocolate, swiftly taken over on swallowing with a self-assured, earthy bitterness, invoking pine needles and orange pith. The whole concoction is remarkably easy to knock back, despite, or maybe because of the oily body, and 7.2% ABV, and really, it gives any Altbier from Duesseldorf I've tried a run for its money. Shame I only had the one left, but definitely one I'd buy again if I can get it.
Right after, I opened a '97 Samuel Adams Triple Bock, but that needs a post of its own!