|Here we go again! Photo: Rüdiger Gartmann|
|Base camp 1. Photo: Rüdiger Gartmann|
First up, at booth number 2, Ale Project from Erding, and their imaginatively-named Craft Ale. Bad start. Although the bananay, bubblegum aspects might make one think of a Weizen, this was just awful, with a husky, butterscotch thing riding all over it. Cheesy, as Brian put it. Rancid as I noted. I can only hope that this was a dodgy bottle, for their sake. Their unfiltered IPA was a considerable improvement (well, the guy at the booth did say it was better) with a decent fresh hop to the fore, although sweet and unfinished-tasting.
Needing to restore my faith in the new wave of German pale ales, my old favourite Hopfenstopfer had to be next (booth 3!), and their new Comet IPA. Oily, creamy, hop-forward and loaded with pine resin, a lick of mandarin, grass and, surprisingly, berries. Now we're talking! I liked this, and I'm pleased that they keep coming out with something new to try. Nevertheless, I couldn't resist a taster of one of my old favourites, the Citra IPA, which I just realised I've never posted about despite having bought a crate of the stuff!
As per last year, Camba Bavaria had a strong presence, so I used my free token, plus one, to give their Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock a test drive. With a strong vanilla aroma, this just screams berries galore, with blackberries taking pole position. Well rounded with a gentle chocolate character bringing up the rear, this is a rather good sipper, and as a Doppelbock, I was well impressed. A candidate for my beer of the festival.
|The Camba Bavaria bar. Photo: Rüdiger Gartmann|
Pax Bräu was another small brewery that grabbed my attention on the list. They make quite an eclectic mix of beers and wanting to give a German stout a go, I chose the Black Gold. Not to my taste, unfortunately, mainly due to the addition of licorice, which I can only take so much of, but under that lay a decently oily, well roasted, caramelly stout. Their Imperial Peppermint Stout sounded intriguing but I needed a cleanser after the licorice.
And so for something completely different. I'd heard very good things about Schönramer last year, but somehow missed them in the rush. Several people had said I must try the Schönramer Grünhopfenpils, an unfiltered pils brewed with green hops.Well, yes, rather good! Light, clean, grassy, herbal, spicy and a touch of biscuit. I'll be looking for something like this in the hot summer months.
Despite intending to stay with the German breweries, a quick trip across the border to Austria was required, to retry the Engelszell Gregorious, which TheBeerNut had enjoyed recently, and which I had tried the very first version of a year ago, and by the sounds of it, they had much improved it. And indeed, Gregorius is much improved from the ripe banana mess it was a year ago, full with dried fruits, blackcurrants slightly vinous, a mildly bilious bitterness, combined with a deft roasted touch. Benno is the golden side of the two current Engelszell offerings, a sweetish, yeasty, zesty with a herbal finish. On balance, I prefer the Gregorius, for the depth and chewiness, but it's nice to see them doubling their range in the space of a year!
|The brothers. Photo: Rüdiger Gartmann|
One day was definitely not enough to do Braukunst Live justice, and I can only imagine it's going to get bigger next year, so I'm already planning to dedicate more time to it in 2014. TheBeerNut did make a second foray on Sunday, while I was trundling home on the train, so expect a more extensive report from him soon.
It just remains to say congratulations to Frank Böer for pulling off another great event, gathering a broad spectrum from German brewing, with a large proportion of the smaller, more interesting breweries taking centre stage. Long may it continue!
Many thanks to Rüdiger for the photos, as my camera died from dust inhalation some weeks ago (hence the poorer quality ones taken with a BlackBerry) :|