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Beer Review #260 1809

01-14-02Today’s review comes special from my father-in-law who gave me this beer for Christmas. 1809 is a Berliner Weisse style beer brewed by Dr. Fritz Briem in Munich, Germany. This is apparently a throwback to a classic style that has really disappeared until recent years. Dr. Fritz Briem is from the Doemens Institute, which is a brewing, beverage, and food industry school. I’ve only had two Berliner Weisses’ previous to this beer. One of them was a homebrew and the other is made by Round Guys Brewing Company (a local brewery that just opened in my parent’s home town). Both were wonderful in their light tartness and malty, wheaty flavor.

1809 makes a louder than normal hiss when popping the cap. It pours a cloudy golden straw and has a fluffy white head. The nose is tart with a slight sweetness sitting in the background. More than anything, it has a lemonade smell.

On the first taste I got a bit of sour tartness, but nothing too strong. There was a nice bready flavor mixed in there as well.  The high carbonation gives a needlely feeling on the tongue.There wasn’t a whole lot else that was happening for me in the flavor department. The tartness was very low compared to the other Berliner Weisses’ that I have had. It’s very light on the flavor end of things but still refreshing,

This is a very nice and drinkable beer. The flavors are not super strong, but I enjoy a nice mellow beer from time to time. This one also comes in at only 5.0% ABV; a sessionable beer. I would like to see if a longer period of time in the bottle would make this beer any more sour. There is a nice layer of yeast on the bottom of the bottle so it might have been a possibility. If you are looking for a truly classic Berliner Weisse, this is your beer. (more…)

Beer Review #146 Hofbräu Oktoberfest

I know that the official Oktoberfest is over, but there seems to be a number of these beers hitting the shelves around me right now. I’ve made an effort to purchase more Oktoberfest beers from Germany this year in order to better understand the style. From my experiences it seems that the products from Germany have a might lighter flavor and color profile than their American counterparts. Most American Oktoberfest examples seem to be amber in color and be more malty than balanced.

Hofbräu Oktoberfest is brewed by Hofbräu München of Munich, Germany. This traditional Oktoberfest comes in at 6.3% which seems to be inline with both the German and American examples of the style. The lager pours a golden color and is perfectly clear. It also has a healthy white head. The nose is pretty sulfury and has a bit of “euro-skunk” going on. I’m guessing that this one was on the shelves a bit too long and had a little too much sun exposure.

On my first taste I was surprised to see how light it was in the flavor department. There is some slight malt sweetness in there, but not much else. The hops come in about half way through and balance the bit of sweetness that is there. The shinning star for this beer in my book is the nice bready ending that offers something to the beer, because overall the flavor was pretty nondescript.

This wasn’t a bad beer but it also wasn’t anything special. I’m not sure if I would get it again. It is interesting to see another German beer with a light color and light flavor. Does anyone know of a German Oktoberfest with a darker flavor and color profile? (more…)

Beer Review #139 Spaten Oktoberfest

Is it weird that I didn’t have a single Spaten branded beer when I was in Germany? That reminds me, I need to get the rest of my Europe trip post on that site. In any case, Oktoberfest is an annual beer festival held in Munich each year and generally lasts for 16-18 days. It just started this last Saturday and I thought it appropriate to review an Oktoberfest today.

Spaten’s version of an Oktoberfest pours a rich amber color and has a thin off-white head. It wasn’t until the beer had emptied from the bottle that I realized that the bottle was actually green. My first thought was,  “bummer, I hope the sun didn’t get to it.” The nose was nice and malty with mixes of bread. There was a slight hop bump which was very nice followed by some slight lager sulfur.

On the taste I really got some nice strong caramel flavors. The bready notes promised in the smell could be found as well. There was a small hop bite on the end, but nothing too terrible. I forgot how balanced an accurate Oktoberfest is supposed to be. There was a bit of sun damage which I will call “Euro-skunk” since I have tasted it in many ill-cared for European lagers.

Overall I liked this one. I was happy to try a beer that comes from the home of Oktoberfest. The brewery that brews this beer, Spaten-Brau, is actually located in Munich, Germany. I found this one exceptionally balanced, even with a bit of sun damage. At 5.9% it makes me really want to go back to Germany and sit in a beer garden with a liter glass and relax the day away. (more…)