Weihenstephan has added a wrinkle to the festbier this year. The ever popular 16oz can. The design of the label is clean and classy and I will be looking for this in four-packs.
We start with a German brewery FrauGruber who certainly focus on hops and pastry stouts so will probably get a lot of love from the Invitational crowd.
GRÜNHOPFEN PILS – Wet hopped Pilsner
IPA LUPOMAX – Citra LupoMax, Mosaic LupoMax, Hüll Melon LupoMax
GRANDMA’S APFELSTRUDEL – Imperial Pastry Stout
BANANA SPLIT – Imperial Pastry Stout
Santa is off to Germany for his next pint from Landskron…
“The elegant festival beer for special enjoyment in winter. A beer with a balanced aroma, in which the malt notes are harmoniously paired with floral hop scents. It promises a pleasure with a full, round body, in which a fine hop bitterness is perfectly integrated and which ends with a full malt body.”
Well, the beer steins will be empty as it looks like Oktoberfest in Germany will be taking a break in 2020. That is a huge tourist dollar loss for Munich especially. And with that large domino falling, I expect that other big festivals are going to follow that lead.
Which means no festival for L.A. Beer Week, no Great American Beer Festival and those Anniversary parties will have to skip a year. Unless, of course, the Governor of Georgia has anything to say about it.
I would go so far as to guess, that any party on the books for 2020 would be on the chopping block. I know that seems far off and maybe overly cautious but all it would take is one sneeze or one cough in a crowded area to throw the fear of God into people. And this is before the probably inevitable round two when the virus comes around again because people didn’t quarantine enough the first time.
I am starting to believe my own hype. I had a feeling that the N/A market was going to be a major one in 2019 and maybe beyond and now we might be able to taste how the Oldest Brewery does it when Weihenstaphan brings out their super low in alcohol offering.
I was intrigued by the bottle of Erdinger Sommerweiße that I saw on the shelf, so I grabbed a bottle to see what it would be like and I was let down. This supposed wheat – Hefe was sparkly and tasted like a sweet tart candy with a little metallic tinge at the end. The image wasn’t helpful at all as it poured a hazy brownish orange. It was nowhere near hoppy and just tasted weird. I can usually trust Erdinger to give me German flavors but this did not.
Usually collaborations are an American thing. Readily available to us. But this time Bi-coastal Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has combined with the much older 630-year-old Bavarian craft brewer Riegele for a second time to create an American pale ale for German brew fans.
The 11.2 oz. bottles of Bayerisch Ale 2 combines the Germans special yeast strains and a combination of West-Coast Amarillo, Citra, Cascade and Simcoe hops.
In 2015, the two breweries last collaborated on Sierra Nevada’s award-winning 2015 Oktoberfest.
Maybe a trip to Germany is in order.
The Final stop highlighting breweries who participated in this year’s FWIBF takes us to Bamberg, Germany and the “Tradition and craftsmanship” of Mahrs Brau.
The brewery has been “family-owned and firmly rooted in the [Franconia] region since 1895.” Which of course means that they follow the traditional Reinheitsgebot in their nine Mahr’s beers.
Whomever you are, when you visit Mahr’s Bräu you can see that we weren’t established yesterday.
Here are the beers that I would drink from this brewery that was first mentioned way back in 1670 and probably had roots earlier…
Mahrs Bräu Pilsner 4.9%
“Bright, brilliant yellow: That’s how our Pilsner pours into a glass, with its fine foamy head, it’s already a visual experience. But it’s not brewed just to look at. Take a whiff, perhaps? Above all you’ll find a distinct hops aroma stands out. This comes from the refined, tailored mix of Hallertauer aromatic hops. And how does it taste? Light and dry, carried by a delicately tart bitter note, and a round and very well-balanced finish.”
Mahrs Bräu Hell (Pale Ale) 4.9%
“Straight ahead and straight on – our Helles is not a drink of many words, but rather an honest, direct beer. Dare we say, a bit philosophical? But please, we digress… A creamy head atop a golden yellow core: inside mild, fine and spicy with a hint of sweetness. Delivering a certain hops-bouquet, and a finale of malty goodness that drives you to immediately order the next “Seidla” (half-liter).”
Mahrs Bräu Weisse (Wheat/White) 4.9%
“Upper Bavaria has been known to brew the best wheat beers in the world. This has seemed to entice other Frankish breweries away from brewing a solid white. But not us! Effervescent as it pours, so powerfully beautiful and golden-yellow, followed up by a slowly cascading veil of yeast… even to the staunch wheat beer connoisseur it’s love at first sight! But don’t worry. This is purely flirtatious. As you take your first sip, you experience the sweet, wonderfully fruity, slightly banana-like taste that seems to signal the dawning of a long awaited summer. How do we do it? With a special top-fermented wheat beer yeast, lots of wheat malt, and complex in-bottle fermentation process.”
Mahrs Bräu a U 5.2%
“The “U” stands for “Ungespundet”, which means unfiltered and outrageously good. Simply pronounced, “Ahh Ooo”, like the two vowels, means you would like a U beer. No language skills required, and you finally have a great beer that doesn’t take a long time to order. What comes to your table, if one orders a U? You’ll get an extraordinary, yeast-turbid specialty beer with a full-bodied smooth-malt character. Pleasantly tart and lightly carbonated, it is a beer that goes just as well with a good meal as it does with a relaxing evening after work.”
Mahrs Bräu Bock Beer 6.8%
“Connoisseurs and friends of our Bock look forward to October every year, because everyone knows it’s the beginning of Mahr’s Bock brewing season. It’s not just the sun-soaked golden color that revives old memories of the fading summer, but also its pure, fine hoppy scent and satisfying malt flavor. The unique thing about this beer is its ambivalent character: on the one hand velvety smooth, almost viscous as it goes down; on the other hand, it is characterized by a sleek, Autumnal, hoppy flavor.”
I have, of late, bemoaned a lack of foreign beers in our mad dash for the most hyperlocal so this beer will shoot to the top of my list when it comes out in August because maltier beers deserve a place at the table too.
I don’t think they will be close neighbors to Stone Brewing but Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is not content with creating a mini-empire of tasting room and brewing outlets. They are also going back to Germany. Fig Mountain “Owners Jaime and Jim Dietenhofer are excited to go back to their roots as they evaluate potential site selections for a new European brewery in the Bavarian region of Germany. “. And brewer AJ Stoll will be learning the German words for Hoppy Poppy and Hurricane Deck as the emissary to Europe.
In the works are “a new line of European beers such as Dunkelweiss, Marzen, Weissbier and other lagers,” according to Dietenhofer, “with the potential to import these beers back to the United States.”
Is this the start of a major migration?