A few weeks ago, my wife returned from the local drinks store with a six-pack of a new beer from Distelhäuser, Jubiläumshopfen, a dry-hopped pils brewed in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Bavarian Rienheitsgebot. On the back label, it lists Citra and Cascade as the hops used to dry hop, and a swirl of the bottle shows plenty of hop debris (pellets, presumably) left over from the dry hopping process. A careful pour leaves these behind.
Fruity, with masses of passion fruit and mango, but also with a pungent, kind of crushed tomato leaf-marigold background that eases off a bit as the beer breathes, revealing a more delicate shade of mandarin and lime pith. It doesn't eel at all like a pils, in the classic sense, and given I'm not a huge fan of Distel Pils, I found this to be a relief. It's creamy and oily at first, though it does have a snap to the finish, offering a lightly tannic dryness. But the main act is the big fruit bomb, carrying the mango and passion fruit over from the aroma, with bitter mandarin in the mix to sharpen things up. All in all, a rather juicy drop.
Having a contact in the brewery, I was curious about the hops used in the boil, and it's a rather long list, consisting of Northern Brewer, Perle, Tettnanger, Smaragd, Saphir and Centennial, plus the Citra and Cascade for dry hopping, as previously mentioned. Apparently the regular Pils also uses six hop varieties, though I am guessing more traditional types.
The second celebration beer came from an unlikely source, considering the trial that Camba Bavaria have been going through, taking their Milk Stout, Coffee Porter and other beers off the market, as the Bavarian rules won't let them cal them either beers, Brew Specialities, or even "mixed drinks". I received the bottle free from Camba as they saw on Twitter it was my birthday, and offered a drink on them, which was very kind.
I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect here. Would they be sticking it to the man, or playing it straight, but in a way, it was somewhere in between. The aroma wasn't standout, reminding me a little of hay in a dry, dusty field, with grassy highlights. This belies the fruit-forward flavour of this Helles. Where the Distel was bright and sharp, this contrasts by being earthy and deep, with strawberry, melon and tropical fruits, ending on a mineral, chalky, herbal note. Both have their merits!