Monday, 30 December 2013

The last days of Advent

I soldiered through the last of the advent beer calendar last week, so here's a final push of the last lot. Sorry, this is going to be quite a lot in one go! :)

Door 15 hid a Schönramer Bayrisch Pale Ale, one that i was eager to try, given the Schönramer beers I'd tried at BaruKunst Live 2013. A pleasingly sweet aroma, cut with pineapple cubes candy and a touch of grapefruit pith. Quite light on the body, verging on thin, with a grapefruit-like bitterness hitting right on the first sip. It's full of zesty fruit flavours. Pineapple, light raspberry, apples, all on a clean rye bread base. The finish is dry, reminiscent of tonic water, with a long orange pithiness remaining. Light (even at 5.5%) and refreshing, but would love to try it with a tad more body.

Day 16 was a pack of beer-related cards. Well, cartoony, and would have been nice apart from the crap sexual innuendo jokes on some of them, otherwie my son would have got them.

17 Was Zötler Gold. Looking like standard fare, aroma-wise it delivered pretty much simple pale malt aroma, with a touch of sulpher and a mildly vegetal underbelly.  Nutty, salty, a little cabbagey, grainy and watery. Enough said so.

18 was a nice surprise. I've had a metal Schlappeseppel sign, given to me by my Father-in-law, for years, but had never tried their beers, so seeing a Schlappeseppel Kellerbier, was quite welcome.  Pale and hazy with a good strong head, this had a decently crisp noble hop aroma, all pine, grass and softly herbal. Surprisingly creamy-textured, with a lemony bite, not far from lemon meringue pie, and biscuity to boot. A tasty drop!

Maxlrainer Zwickl Max was the delight for day 19, a helles with a light haze and short-lived head. Aroma-wise, is suggested nothing more than apple juice, which may not be a bad thing. Sweet and fruity, with a candy-like edge, tempered by a zesty cut. Slightly sharp on the finish, verging on acidic, but with a lingering grassy and digestive biscuit flavour. Overall, a nice combination, and another hit as far as I was concerned.

Day 20 was Hofbräuhaus Traunstein Weißbier, a hazy orange affair, with  a fine-pored, creamy head. This has a lovely, highly spiced aroma, with classic Weißbier cloves abundant, ripe pears and banana. A little thin and tinny, yet has a pleasing creamy/cream soda flavour, mild banana and a surprising pithiness that sharpens the finish. Overall, a fine summer refreshed, I'd say.

21 was a Tegernseer Hell. I don't know what it is about this beer, but I just fond it boring, so I didn't even bother making notes.

Day 2 was the biggest surprise, mostly because I didn't expect to find a Distelhäuser Winterbock in a Bavarian beer calendar. Distelhäuser is not far from where I live, and although a mere 10 kilometres from the Bavarian border, is most definitely from Baden-Württemberg. Having said that, my "local" regional brewer is one that I have a mixed relationship with, but some of their newer offerings have certainly sparked my interest. Their Winterbock has a muted aroma, gently candy-like and nutty, with soft caramel. On the tongue, it's grainy, with burnt caramel, a touch of dried fruits and bitter almond. Despite a creamy texture supporting all of this, it nevertheless feels somewhat threadbare.

The penultimate beer was a Karmeliten Brocardus 1844. It's rather fancy-looking, what with that red foil on the neck, and certainly fit the festive season. As did the lovely rich amber of the beer itself. Not much aroma to speak of, however it did give caramel, strawberries, blackberries and a touch of old straw on the flavour. The finish is sweetish, yet dry, with hints of honey and a very mild herbal bitterness. Ultimately, it looked better than it tasted.

And so to the final door, with much anticipation. Did they leave the best till last?

I like proper Märzen, so the sounds of Brauerei Irlbach's Goaßkopf Halbe Original Ur-Märzen, which the label says was almost a forgotten style, really was right up my ally. A sliughtly hazy old gold with a persistant head, this Märzen had a sweetish, floral aroma with dried grass. Certainly malt-driven, it has a clean caramel backbone with some fruity highlights suggesting sweet apples, but predominantly a dusty old hay and grass flavour. With a fullish mouthfeel, it's not so bad, so wile a little dull, it's almost comforting.

And there we are! At times, i was thinking i was glad i didn't buy this beer calendar, having won it and all, but there were quite a few decent beers in the box, and the vast majority were completely new to me, so it was absolutely ideal in that regard. They do have some other variants, and I think I'd quite like to try the general German one, as there's sure to be some nice surprises in there.

Thanks again to Felix for running the competition!

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