Friday, 20 December 2013

Advent bier catch-up

Having been away for most of last week, a glut of advent beers from the Kalea calendar had built up, so it was only proper to make a dent in the supplies.

Number 8 was a Schwarzbräu Schneeböckchen Doppelbock. Sadly, I just deleted the photo of the bottle, and can't claw it back, but you can get an idea of it here. A deep, clear amber, Schneeböckchen is redolent of raisins, burnt sugar, autumnal apples lying on the ground, grass and mild spices. On the tongue, it's more raisins, a touch of oaky vanilla, an ever-so-slight hint of coffee roast, and at the back, a cinnamon-like spice. It's fruity-sweet, with a background of brown sugar, but not cloying. In fact, the body is rich, yet clean, and almost sharp at the finish, all the while leaving the lips slightly sticky. On the finish, it suggests caramel with a touch of nuttiness, a mild pepperiness and green grass. Certainly one of the better Doppelbocks I've had!

Door 9 yielded a beer glass, sadly chipped, with door 10 revealing the beer to go with it, Unser Bürgerbräu Alpen Stoff. Pale gold with a short-lived, tight foam, Alpen Stoff delivers a sweet malty aroma with highlights of marzipan and apple. It's rather fruity, almost like juicyfruit gum, with green apple and strawberry. A most odd beer, with unexpected flavours, but I think I liked it.

Beer 11 made me cringe on opening the door, mostly because of the clear glass bottle, which I dislike, but also because the label said to "serve icecold for max:taste". Leibinger Max Fünf Comma 2. My immediate reaction is that anything that needs to be served ice cold for maximum taste probably doesn't taste of much at all. Anyway, it had to be taken. The aroma is surprising, being fruity, with dried mango, passion fruit and light bubblegum, but it fails badly on the flavour-test. Cardboard, cornflakes, a hint of summer berries, but just a flash, mind, and not enough to rescue it. Dry, soapy finish, with lingering mandarin peel and baking soda. Unpleasant.

Door 12 was a bit more traditional-looking, with a Bayreuther Hell. A buttery-gold with a magnificent foamy head that didn't want to leave. A fresh, yet bready aroma, with sparks of green apple peel and citrus. Similar elements in the flavour. While sinking back mouthfuls, it's refreshing, doughy, malty, and then there's a kick of that green apple, freshly mown grass and a pinch of herbs. Quite gassy, with a little carbonic bite. Perhaps not an astounding beer, but a perfectly enjoyable drop, which is all that I could ask for.

13. Unlucky for some, and if you judge a book by the cover, unlucky for me. Another clear glass bottle, with an upside-down label to boot, but Brauhaus Schweinfurt's Alpha would get the benefit of the doubt. AGain, a beer with an aroma that surprised me, with hints of chocolate orange on a mildly herbal background. But the flavour... Lemony, sugary, soapy, cardboard. It's not often I can say this, but I didn't finish it, managing about three quarters before I dumped it.

However, rescue was on the way in the form of the classic Ayinger Celebrator, minus the little plastic goat you often get hanging from these bottles.The notes got sparse with this one, not because there isn't much to say about it, but rather because it's a nice distraction from note-taking. Chestnut coloured, with ruby highlights, and a densly packed, tan head, it has an almost porty aroma, with dark toffee and dried fruits. Christmas pud! Oily-textured, with cream soda, prunes, a lick of licorice and bitter chocolate, it's a fine beer for a cold winter evening, so I let it do what it does best, and seduce me. Prost!

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