Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Badger, badger, badger

For years I've been fascinated by the labels on the Dachsenfranz beers, with that photo of an old geezer, Der Dachsenfranz on the front. Originally Italian, legend has it that Francesco Regali arrived in this region in the latter half of the 19th century, after killing a man (assumed to be a superior in Garibaldi's guerrilla forces) during the Italian wars of independence, from which he fled. He settled in the area around Kraichgau, and made himself useful as a trapper there and in the Odenwald area, not too far from where I live. Kind of like a Grizzly Adams, but with badgers and stoats instead of bears. Hence his name, Badger Franz. At the outbreak of the First World War, he simply disappeared.

The folk at the Adlerbrauerei in Zuzenhausen clearly found this character interesting enough to create a whole brand and range of beers bearing his name. I've had a few of these before, but hadn't made notes till recently, when these two appeared in a mixed crate my wife bought as a pre-birthday present.

Dachsenfranz Kellerbier is a pale, greenish straw, and is, frankly, a little insipid-looking, but with an impressively creamy-looking head. Quite a strong aroma too that initially shouts, well, "beery", if you know what I mean. This resolves to a strong pine resin with a twist of lemon zest. It's pretty much the same description or the flavour, on top of a white sliced pan breadiness, and a cabolic tang amplifying a tangy zing to the finish. It;s not bad, and the zesty finish lifts up what could have been a rather standard Kellerbier. Gassy, though.

A clear, dark amber, Dachsenfranz Dunkel exudes a rather fruity aroma, with raisins, strawberries and an ever-so-gentle choclatey backdrop. Compared to some vlassic Munich Dunkels I've tried recently, this hits far more buttons in the flavour stakes. Sure, it's relatively sweet, but in a maltose rather than sucrose way, with healthy doses of berries, light chocolate, creme caramel and a small nip of cappuccino. FInishing with blackcurrent sorbet cut with caramel, sueffig would be the right German word to describe it going down. Rather good, and one I'd happily buy a crate of.

Of course, it's impossible to drink these without having this playing in my head!

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