Wednesday 30 November 2011

Freigeist Deutscher Porter

It's been a while since I posted anything beer-related. A combination of (thankfully unfounded) health concerns and the beast of a project we've undertaken has meant little thought has been applied to tasting beer for the past half year, so it's about time the taste buds were exercised again.

And what better way to get back into the swing of things than a German porter, apparently brewed to a style previously made in the DDR (but I have to take their word on that).

Freigeist Bierkultur have an interesting range of beers, all brewed at the Helios Braustelle in Cologne, hosts of the Festival der Bierkulturen. Their Deutscher Porter is no exception, at least from the description. The ingredients include salt, and brettanomyces is involved in the fermentation process. Pouring an opaque black, with just the faintest traces of ruby highlights around the edges, this 8% ABV porter hints at soft vanilla toffee, light coffee, licks of licorice and a squeeze of soft summer fruits on the nose. All quite toned down, but there nonetheless. So it was quite a kick in the teeth when the first mouthful delivered not a rich, full-bodied, fruity, chocolatey porter, but a bite of a lemon. It's sour. Not Cantillon sour, but significantly so nonetheless. It's refreshing. The expected roasty or chocolate flavours are playing sixth fiddle somewhere, but the fruits, raspberry and green apples perhaps, creep out from under the lemon to leave a pleasing tartness on the tongue. A slight oiliness at the back of the throat may come from the salt, but it's hard to say where that comes in to play.

Freigeist's Deutscher Porter puts me in mind of De Dolle's Cosmos Porter, but sadly doesn't reach the same levels of complexity. A one-trick pony? Perhaps, but it's a lovely, surprising beer all the same, and shockingly easy to drink, the light body belying the relatively hefty alcohol content. In fact, when I think of other German beers with that level of alcohol, the drinking experience couldn't be more different, and for that, I salute them.