Owls against the Mainstream

[English below]

Der eine nennt sie Trinkhalle oder Wasserhäuschen, IMG_7001für andere ist es eine Bude oder ein Kiosk: Die kleinen Lädchen wecken Erinnerungen an die Kindheit.

Sogenannte Trinkhallen entstanden Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts um Arbeitern Mineralwasser und andere alkoholfreie Getränke anzubieten, da ungekochtes Leitungswasser gesundheitsschädlich und Getränke in Gaststätten zu teuer waren und die Männer vermehrt zu Bier und Schnapps griffen. Mit der Zeit wurde das erweiterte sich das Sortiment und es wurden Zeitschriften, Tabakwaren und auch Lebensmittel angeboten. Doch leider führte Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts der vermehrte Bau von Supermärkten und Tankstellen, deren Shops die Funktion der Wasserhäuschen übernahmen, zum „Wasserhäuschensterben“!
Einige wurden später, überwiegend aus nostalgischen Gründen wieder eröffnet.

IMG_6998Die historische Trinkhalle an der Lessingstrasse in der Mainzer Neustadt wurde nach mehrjährigem Leerstand vor einigen Tagen wieder zum Leben erweckt.
Mit dem Namen “Eulchen-Trinkhalle” öffneten Leonidas Lazaridis und Philip Vogel vergangenen Samstagnachmittag das Häuschen und es hieß „Cervisiam bibat – Man trinke Bier!”

Nicht nur irgendein Bier – nein, ihr eigens gebrautes Eulchen-Bier #2.
Bereits vergangenes Jahr haben die beiden mit ihrer Aktion REBELLION GEGEN EINHEITSBIER! mit ihrem ersten Eulchen Bier enormes Interesse bekommen und sich entschlossen mit ihrem Brauprojekt in die zweite Runde zu gehen und es regelmäßig zu verkaufen.

Das diesjährige Eulchen ist, passend zur Oktoberfest-Saison, malziger, würziger und etwas hopfiger als Sud #1. “Wir haben uns an das Grundrezept von Eulchen #1 gehalten” erzählt mir Philip, “jedoch mit mehr Röstmalzen gebraut!”

Bereits beim Öffnen derIMG_6999 FlipTop-Flasche aka. Bügelflasche kommt einem ein ausgewogenes getreidiges und hopfiges Aroma entgegen welches sich im Antrunk wiederholt.
Sein Geschmack ist würzig, leicht süßes Malz und der Hopfen etwas kerniger. Die Hopfen-Kombination aus Spalter Select und Perle geben dem Geschmack ein feines blumiges, ein wenig orangiges Kräuteraroma das im Abgang ein bisschen bitterer wird, die mich an Tee erinnert, was auf den Perle-Hopfen zurückzuführen ist, deren ausgewogenen Aromen einen recht hohen Bittergehalt haben.
Das Eulchen #2 ist definitiv vollmundiger als das Eulchen #1, “sauber”, süffig und perfekt für einen goldenen Oktobertag.

Da freu ich mich doch zu hören, dass die Jungs für diesen Sud ganze 34hl gebraut haben, die nun fast 9500 0,33l-Flaschen füllen.
Das Eulchen-Team berichtet, dass sie die Trinkhalle bis Ende diesen Jahres gepachtet haben und zunächst Freitagabends und Samstagvormittags zum Verkauf öffnen wollen.
Ausserdem wollen Leonidas und Philip nun regelmäßiger brauen um den Durst der aufgeschlossenen Mainzer und die stetig wachsenden Nachfrage nach Craft-Bier auch in Zukunft zu stillen.

IMG_7003Gut sechs Stunden war die Trinkhalle am Samstag geöffnet und der Platz durchgehend mit ca sechs Dutzend trinkfreudigen Besuchern gut besucht! Wie viele Flaschen am Ende des Abends verkauft wurden konnten [oder wollten 🙂 ] mir die beiden nicht sagen aber ich bin sicher der ein oder andere Kasten wurde geleert 🙂

Ich wünsche den beiden auf jeden Fall viel Erfolg für ihre Zukunft,

Happy Brewing & Cheers!


Some call it Trinkhalle [“drink hall”] or Wasserhäuschen [“watering house”] for others it’s a Bude [booth] or Kiosk: These small shops evoke childhood memories for many of us!

So-called Trinkhallen emerged in the mid-19th century when unboiled tap water was harmful to drink and drinks at restaurants were too expensive and workers increasingly drank beer and schnapps. They provided the men with bottled water and sodas. With time the shops also began selling magazines, tobacco and snack foods. But unfortunately the increased construction of supermarkets and gas stations led to more and more closings of the Trinkhallen in the mid-20th century. Some were opened again later mainly for nostalgic reasons.

The historic Trinkhalle at Lessingstrasse in Mainz Neustadt was revived just a few days ago after several years of vacancy.
With the name  “Eulchen-Trinkhalle” Leonidas Lazaridis and Philip Vogel opened the little house last Saturday afternoon with the motto “Cervisiam Bibat – Drink beer”

Not just any beer – no, their specially brewed Eulchen Bier #2.
Already last year with their action REBELLION AGAINST UNITY BEER! they received enormous interest with their first Eulchen Bier and decided to take their brewing project to the second round and sell it regularly.

This years Eulchen is, just in time for Oktoberfest season, more malty, spicy and slightly hoppier than Batch #1. “We went with the base recipe of Eulchen #1” Philip tells me, “but brewed with more roasted malts!”

When opening the flip-top bottle I can smell a balanced grainy and hoppy aroma. which repeats in the first sip.
The taste is spicy, slightly sweet malts and the hops are somewhat pithy. The combination of Spalter Select and and Perle hops give the flavor a little flowery, orangey-herbal aroma that finish a rather bitter, which reminds me of tea, which is due to the Perle hops, whose balanced aromas have a high bittering content.
Eulchen #2 is definitely more full-bodied then Eulchen #1, clean, quaffable and perfect for a golden October day.

I’m glad to hear that the guys brewed 34hl with this batch, which now fills nearly 9500 0.33l-bottles.
The Eulchen-team told me that they have leased the place until the end of this year and plan to open Friday evenings and Saturday mornings to sell their beer.
In addition, Leonidas and Philip want to brew more regularly to quench the thirst of the open-minded Mainzers and the ever-growing demand for craft beer.

On Saturday the Trinkhalle was open just around six hours and throughout the evening well attended with about six dozen hard-drinking visitors! How many bottles they sold  at the end of the evening Leonidas and Philip couldn’t [or didn’t want to 😉 ] tell me but I’m sure one or more cases were emptied! 🙂

I wish both of them a lot of success in their future,

Happy Brewing & Cheers!

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Beer Review #8: Backbone Splitter by Hanscraft & Co.

What’s a West Coast IPA? What is the difference to the “normal” American IPA? And is there an East Coast IPA?

In the past twenty-five years the craft beer scene in the US has exploded. Especially microbreweries on both coasts – the East and the West – produce more than half of the craft beers in the US. It’s no wonder that a certain rivalry has developed.

East Coast and West Coast breweries have very different approaches to their brewing, but both IPA-styles have their own soul and their own recognition.

Although and East Coast IPA has exactly the bitterness an IPA should have, it tends to have more citrus and fruit notes in the taste. In general, it is a lighter, juicier and less aggressive IPA – so to speak, a good “starter-IPA” for IPA newcomers.

West Coast IPAs also have the flavors of citrus and sweet fruits but they tend to be more hoppy, bitter, earthy and piney. They are dry and slightly more aggressive than the typical American IPA.

A good example for the West Coast IPA is the IMG_6900Backbone Splitter by Hanscraft & Co. brewed with Horizon, a bitter hop, and Amarillo, Simcoe and Centennial which are aroma hops.

Upon opening the bottle I smell a bouquet of citrus fruits. It pours clear with an amber color and nice white foamy head.

The citrus aroma is now a more intense grapefruit and lemon aroma mixed with peach, mango or papaya – it definitely has this unique “creamy-fruity” aroma of exotic fruits!

The first sip is light and with a good balance of sweet malt and bitter fruity hops. The bitterness from the fresh hops increases with every sip and is filled with orange, peach aromas, spicy herbs and resin notes with a pleasant dry, bitter finish.

Conclusion:
I would have liked to have a little less dry but fruitier finish. However it is a good aromatic West Coast IPA to enjoy, with a more dangerous name than it actually is!

Craft Beer Meets Bundesliga

Granted, as a soccer fan and craft beer geek it’s not easy to find a good beer, not to mention craft beer, at one of the 36 Bundesliga stadiums in Germany. Aside from a few exceptions Pilseners of major sponsoring breweries rule the ranks of the stadiums and even the booths on the sports grounds. So unless you’re tailgating with a great craft beer in hand, you most likely have to suck it up and hand over the big bucks for a mass-produced beer!

It has become somewhat of a ritual for hubby and me to go to the stadium with a couple craft brews in the pockets, taking a picture at the train stop while waiting for the S-Bahn, toasting to a good game and get on the train with our fellows 🙂

It wasn’t any different at last nights derby game – SG Eintracht Frankfurt – FSV Mainz. We decided on the Palor and Colonia by the local Frankfurt microbrewery Braufactum.IMG_6950

Palor is an English style Pale Ale brewed with Cascade and Polaris hops. Since we drank from the bottles [and you can’t taste color] I’m skipping the appearance description.

Cascade and Polaris give the Palor a distinct aromatic character with fruity, minty, slightly citrusy aroma notes. Good medium body and carbonation. Bold flavor of sweet malt, caramel, spices, and bread, leading to a dry finish. Actually a little too dry for my taste.

IMG_6956Colonia is not the typical Kölsch as you may think [and I thought] from the name, but a “Rhenisch-style bitter-beer” brewed with Saphir hops.

Bitter-beer? I must admit, I’ve never heard of this style but reading about the style it’s like an “Ur-Kölsch”, basically the ancestor of the Kölsch as we know today. That explains why I didn’t like it as a Kölsch. Although the aroma had notes of flowers and hops, its flavor was sweet with notes of malt and straw with a very bitter dry finish.

Bitter-beers are a top fermented ales, with a flavor probably something between Altbier and Kölsch, which makes it relatively quaffable but with a high malt content, which makes the beer sweeter.

We also met up with our friend Jörn, a SGE and beer fan, who is a local [craft beer] IMG_6955restaurant owner and one of the founders of the Craft Beer Zentrum!

His drink of choice last night was Pax Bräu’s Black Gold Lakritz [licorice] Oatmeal Stout. Great choice – says the one who doesn’t like licorice!! … no sarcasm intended

I was positively surprised. Thanks for sharing by the way.

It poured pitch black with a small white head – at that point we were equipped with plastic cups! The aroma was of roasted malts, hints of dark chocolate mixed with licorice. The taste was smooth also with roasty malts and slightly salty licorice; light bodied yet creamy. For me the licorice was overpowering the oatmeal though.

With the last sip we headed towards the gate and our seats and back into the Pilsener-emporium, ready to see our team take on the Mainzers!

If you care, we [Eintracht] won 2-2… it should have been 4-2 though!!!

Beer Review #7: Onkel Albert Altbelgisches Saisonbier

Translated from the French for season, Saisons originated in Wallonia, in the southern (and French-speaking) region of Belgium.
IMG_6724
The beers were brewed in the fall/winter months in the farmhouses and stored in the farm buildings through spring until the guest workers arrived for harvest in the summer. Everything that was left over, whether it was barley, wheat etc, at the end of previous years harvest, was picked from the fields, thrown in the mash tuns, boiled and fermented with the yeast from the day.

All this happened in a time when it was dangerous to drink well water and instead of simply boiling the water the landlords provided beer to their workers to keep them healthy. Originally, saisons were brewed to have a lower alcohol content (~3%) and it is said that the men were entitled to 5 liters of beer per work day to stay hydrated and strong.

The beers varied from farm to farm and from farmhouse to farmhouse. Phil Markowski (The Oxford Companion to Beer by Garrett Oliver) says that these brewers were farmers and not brewers, therefore “the fact that they were not sold commercially is reason to believe that these Saisons were probably made with little mind to repeatability” (711)

At 5.8% ABV Onkel Albert Altbelgisches Saisonbier pours a clear, pale yellow color and is very carbonated. The head rises finger wide and with large pores and dissolves quickly.

In the nose there initially are notes of sweet wheat-malt. The aroma is yeasty, slightly peppery and a little alcoholic/acetone-like (but not unpleasant), however also fresh and hay-like.

The first sip is dominated by sour, fresh, but dry yeast notes with a hint of pepper. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy and perhaps a little too dull. The carbonation is less than assumed when pouring. The finish, however, is pleasant, floraly and bitter leaving a good dry and slightly tart fruit aroma.

Conclusion:

A successful “German” Belgian Saison which perhaps could do with a bit more fruit flavors and complexity, but all in all a highly recommended, refreshing and quaffable beer!

Beer Review #6: Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse

Summer is coming to an end and I decided to finish my “Beers of Summer tastings” with Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse, a Berlin-style White beer. IMG_6697

As one might not suspect from the name, the Berliner Weisse is originally not from Germany’s capital but was developed in the 17th century in Saxony-Anhalt by a Halberstadt brewer as a unsuccessful copy of a popular beer from Hamburg. Berlin brewers took this new recipe and continually changed it until it had developed into “Berliner Weizenbier” around 1700 and the obscure style quickly became the favorite drink for Berlin locals.

The name Weisse actually means white not wheat and has precious little to do with the known wheat beers from Bavaria! Although both beers are brewed with wheat malt and mainly fermented with top-fermenting yeasts, the Berliner Weisse is different to all other German beer-styles due to its acidic nature. This characteristic develops during fermentation with a mixed-culture of the top-fermenting yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

The acid, a higher carbonation and a low alcohol content make the Berliner Weisse Germany’s most refreshing beer style which is especially enjoyed during the summer months.

Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse is brewed in Düsseldorf and is, with its 4.4 % ABV, slightly stronger than a traditional Berliner Weisse. Instead of adding syrup after fermentation rhubarb puree was already added during the brewing process.

Already when pouring you can see the beers nice pale yellow color and, not as might be expected, a pink coloring. The pale, large, white head has large pores and fades within a few minutes.

The aroma is clean, fruity-fresh and there is a fine citric-acid and a little lactic-acid with notes of ripened cheese or sour dough and some fresh mandarins.

There’s a delicate raspberry flavor in the first sip. The fruity flavors merge with the light wheat taste. Lactic acid contributes to a discreet hay aroma, which is not too aggressive. Then the fruity rhubarb flavor comes to the fore, giving the Weisse a harsh, dry but still fruity finish. The mouthfeel is pleasantly tangy and makes the beer fresh as it should be.

Conclusion:

For the current fluctuating temperatures Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse is just ideal to drink – although I can always recommend as a refreshing Berliner Weisse year round!! The taste is (especially without added syrup) certainly something that probably many need getting used to but one should at least have tried once or twice.

In this sense: Cheers!

Beer Review #5: CREW Republic Munich Summer

Whether you are a local or a visitor, in the summerIMG_6546 everything is all about the beer gardens in Munich. This 200-year-old tradition is just as typical as Weisswurst and Lederhosen.

The CREW Republic Munich Summer is as one might expect, not a wheat beer, but a light Golden Ale or Summer Ale. This beer style is especially popular in the warmer summer months and hot temperatures because Summer ales are brewed with light malts and subtle hops with lemon aromas and fermented at slightly higher temperatures to bring out the fruity ester notes of the yeast.

Already when pouring you can see a slightly hazy, golden body with a finger wide pored, soft white head which dissipates slow and leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

The aroma has slight Amarillo grapefruit notes accompanied by resin and a light, sweet malt aroma. The first impression is repeated in the taste: the first sip highlights slightly sweet and some creamy malt aromas, followed by subtle fruity citrus and pine notes.

The finish is pleasant, a bit dry and a low hop bitterness. The creamy light body has a soft, moderate carbonation and the flavor lingers for a little while.

Conclusion:

Overall, the CREW Republic Munich Summer is a very solid, mild and refreshing golden ale with pleasant dry-hopped Amarillo aromas. Very tasty and recommened!

Beer Review #4: Anchor IPA

There are several theories and myths as to how and when exactly India Pale Ales (IPAs) originated. A well-known story is as follows:IMG_6501

It is said that IPAs developed in the 17th century out of necessity as the British Empire settled with the help of the British East India Company in India and began to set up their trading stations on the west coast of India. The popular beers this time were no match for the long voyage and were bland and stale in India. A man named George Hodgson solved the problem of rotten beer by raising the amount of hops and alcohol and so the beer was less susceptible to bacteria! The recipe with the higher hop content led to the India Pale Ale (IPA) as we know it today.

Also, two centuries ago, Britain dispatched mid-19th during the gold rush in the United States, their IPAs to their colonies to California. The men came to “see the elephant”. “Seeing the elephant” is a phrase that is attributed to this period and describes the pursuit of happiness and adventure, by the Exciting and exotic.

In 1975 Anchor Brewing Co. brewed with their Liberty Ale and it became the first “modern American IPA” which the Anchor IPA is based on. It was brewed with barley malt and three hop varieties and dry-hopped with six different aroma hops which give it a great flavor and character.

Already when pouring, you can sense its full body. The IPA has a nice clear dark copper color and a creamy, light beige foam head which stays long and leaves nice lacing.

The flavor is deliciously fruity, floral and hoppy. I smell citrus, lemon grass and pine.

The first sip is sweet, medium to strong bitter and slightly sour. It has a medium-heavy body, a subtle creamy texture and a pleasant CO2 content. The IPA tastes like a fruit cocktail of passion fruit, lemon, lime and lemongrass and is supported by a caramel malt flavor. The finish is rather bitter and slightly lemony-fruity.

Conclusion:

With its 6.5% ABV Anchor IPA is very drinkable and goes well with the still warm late summer temperatures. As a Hophead (hop lover) and avid IPA drinker the Anchor IPA reflects exactly what I expected: An aromatic, interesting and exotic IPA with lots of character!

Beer Review #3: BrewDog IPA is Dead

BrewDog IPA is Dead

Since 2011 BrewDog has released their IPA is Dead 4-packs once a year. Each of the four beers has the same base recipe, but was dryhopped with a different hop variety. In this year’s edition they chose Comet, EXP 366, Amarillo and Kohatu hops.

Over the past few days I tasted and compared the four. All four IPAs are based on a milder version of BrewDogs Hardcore IPA, brewed with Maris Otter, Crystal and Cara-malt.

The EXP 366 was first on my list. EXP 366 is a new, yet unnamed American hop variety. The IPA is amber with an eggshell-colored large-pore foam head that quickly falls apart and little carbonation. The aroma is malty with pine, orange peel and lemon notes. The taste resembles sweet bread and also has a resinous hoppy pine flavor. The finish is reminiscent of bitter grapefruit, but its taste fades quickly.

Next up Comet. Like the EPX 366, this one also has a clear amber color but with a narrow white head and leaves nice lacing on glass. Its bouquet is a blend of citrus, grapefruit and pine. The taste is malty-sweet with mango and also lemon and grapefruit flavors and a hint of resin. For me, the bitterness is a rather mediocre medium bitterness with lots of resin.

Next, I decided on Kohatu. Again, this is a newer hop variety from New Zealand and unknown/”un-tested” to me! Like the first two IPAs it is amber in color. It is clear with a full soft white crown. I first notice mango and lime in the aroma followed by hints of pineapple.

The taste is very interesting. First, bitter-sweet with a hot alcohol sharpness which fades fast and is overpowered by pineapple and herbal pine aromas. After a few seconds I taste sweet sage – a finish after the finish! Wow!

For my final beer, I have set aside the Amarillo – one of my favorite hops, which has a very balanced, fruity aroma. It also has a nice amber color and is the clearest of all four. When pouring a narrow eggshell colored head builds which dissolves quickly and leaves little lacing. The nose is almost tropical: passion fruit and orange peel, very fresh, slightly grassy. The aroma is repeated in the first sip and reminds me of a mango-passion fruit and banana smoothie with a slightly bitter-sweet finish.

Conclusion

The hop flavors are good in all four IPA’s, but I would have liked to see a slightly fuller body in all of them. My favorite is the Kohatu because it surprised me and the aroma-flavor combination was the most interesting.

I definitely recommend the 4-pack. It is interesting for those who love hops and everybody who wants to learn more about the individual hop varieties and their characteristics.

Beer Review #2: Fitza Bräu No. 3 – Pale Ale

Tasting notes
Appearance / Color: cloudy, gold, large-pored thick head, high carbonization
Aroma: citrus, grassy, malty, fresh
Body / Flavor: medium body, lemony-grassy, caramel-creamy, fruity, bitter finish

photoA warm Sunday afternoon, sitting on the back porch, light breeze and bird tweeting … the only thing missing now is the smell of fresh cut grass (and a cool refreshment) to complete my “summer feeling”. So I grab the new # 3 Pale Ale from Fitza Bräu, which was brewed only a few miles away in the Hessian Rimbach.
The color is a hazy gold with a white thick head which disappears after a few minutes and lots of carbonation.

Already when pouring I smell the sweet malty freshness. Notes of citrus and fresh cut grass follow –  YAY … my summer feeling is perfect!
Due to the relatively high carbonation Fitza Bräu # 3 tastes very fresh. Thereby first sip is tingling on the tongue and dry with notes of malt and hops.

The combination of  bittering hops Northern Brewer and aroma hops Mandarina Bavaria and Green Bullet gives the Pale Ale a creamy caramel flavor with a slightly bitter, grassy but fruity finish.

Conclusion:
Overall # 3 is a fresh and well-balanced American-style Pale Ale with a fresh hop flavor, which adds a light and soft bitterness. However, although the lingers on the tongue for a good while it  flattens out relatively quickly.
Definitely a rememberable beer, which is determined to quickly find many lovers.
Keep it up!

Beer Review #1: Dolden Sommer Sud

Dolden Sommer Sud

The temperatures have risen, 2014 World Cup has begun, and everyone longs for a cool refreshment.DoldenSommer

“Summer sun, lake-swimming, shade-sleeping. That’s how Dolden Sommer Sud tastes” is written on the bottle label of Riedenburger Brauhaus’ new seasonal beer and initiates the unofficial start of summer.

Dolden Sommer Sud is an American-style Blonde Ale with a light, fruity body and a fine, refreshing hop aroma. Its color is a deep, slightly cloudy yellow with a narrow white head.
The combination of Smaragd, Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria, and Spalter Select hops give Dolden Summer Sud a fruity and malty, slightly bitter flavor.
The first sip is fresh and slightly tangy. Its body is light to medium, fruity, grassy, and intense, but not exaggerating. A good mix of cassis, peach, and green tea.
The finish, however, is rather dry and bitter.

The ale is by no means boring and dull, but is a fine tuning of all components. It is tasty and refreshing – just the right recommendation for hot summer days and any other time!