Scanning Through My Blurred Memories or Braukunst Live 2015 Recap

I came, I saw… I tried to drink them all

Another BrauKunst Live 2015 has come and gone. Close to 100 exhibitors served 700+ different beers in the festival hall to over 8600 beer enthusiasts. IMG_7179This year I had the great pleasure owning a media pass and it’s debatable if that’s an advantage or disadvantage!!! Anyhow, I did prepare a little for the festival in that I created a list of the breweries that I definitely wanted to try beers from, and I tried to take the time to write them all down as I sampled… 91 different beer names are written down! WOW! It would probably blow this post if I mentioned them all. I’ll just say that there were a lot of great beers, but also quite a few that were not up my alley.

There were definitely some very unique beers that I was very impressed with that I’ll mention though. The Moll, a collaboration brew from BrauKunstKeller and Kehrwieder (all the beers they were pouring were excellent) is an extinct old German beer style and an easy drinking Rauchbier with a subtle, restrained tartness. The Monroe from Hopfenstopfer, a Single Hop Imperial Pale Ale was smooth and light with full flavors of red berries and passion fruit. Hanscraft & Co had a new brew that can only be described as dessert in a glass. Taking a sip of their Sweet Sixteen, a 16,5 ABV Barleywine Eisbock and you got a mouthful of alcohol-infused-fruit-cobbler-topped-with-vanilla-liquor as if you just bit into a pie. CRAZY sweet! Kissmeyer, a one man gypsy brewery from Denmark I’d never heard of also poured several great beers. Their Pipes & Drums Barrel Reserve, a collaboration brew with Amager Bryghus, surprised me the most. I’m usually not a Barley Wine fan but this one convinced me with it’s subtle sweetish, vinous aroma with hints of fruits and nuts. A couple steps to the left was Freigeist’s and Nogne Ø’s booth who, besides their own beers also poured brews from The Monarchy, To Øl and De Molen. Taking a sip of Nogne Ø’s #1000 had me dive into the world of the Arabian Nights. There’s an abundance of spices in both flavor and aroma with a nice malty caramel sweetness. Freigeist’s Geisterzug Rhubarb Gose and Abraxxxas Pear Lichtenhainer were brews I could drink all the time and all day long. They’re incredibly lively, characterful, and thirst-quenching and were a nice “break” between some of the stronger, heavier beers. Last but not least Ku’Damm, a Berliner Weisse and Daft, a barrel-aged Barley Wine from Urban Chestnut. The Berliner Weisse is solid and probably one of the best ones I drank in my live and surprisingly another Barley Wine, in which for the first time I experienced a umami flavor. IMG_7070

I also want to give props to the newcomers: Hopfmeister, a newly founded gypsy brewery from Munich who plan to open this May. Their motto, brewing beers for craft beer beginners, which are hoppy but still quaffable. And BrewAge, a young Austrian start-up brewery who tie in tradition, refine and reinterpret it.

Of the three days at BrauKunst Live, Friday was my favorite. Since Friday is the opening day, everyone is full of energy and excited to be there. Most of the brewers and brewery reps were behind their booths and all the different beers are still available. Sunday was great because it’s the least visited day and I could stroll through the hall and try beers that I haven’t already tried. Saturday was still fun, but it was a mad house plus having been there the day before and going to the “in-official” after show party at the hotel, I was tired and had moments where I was ready to go home 😉 But it’s still hard to pass up being there for all three days just to be able to soak it all in and enjoy the atmosphere.

On of the hidden gems on the festival floor were the booths from Bier Deluxe and Derer Imports! Both being craft beer importers, they gave me a little taste of “home”! Bier Deluxe had beers from four US breweries on tap [and I happily admit I was obsessed with] Ballast Point’s Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin, whose tart freshness of grapefruit complements the IPA’s citrusy hop character. Derer Import had a vast amount of bottles from Rogue, Smuttynose, Saugatuck, Latitude 42, Left Hand, North Coast and Epic Brewing, to only mention a few. To my surprise they had Epic Brewing’s very limited release: Brainless® on Peaches. I only had a couple little sips but it was delicious. It has 10.5% ABV, but drinks much smoother than that… dangerous!! They also had Neapolitan Milk Stout by Saugatuck Brewing, which is a perfect blend of a classic dry stout character with brilliant flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry all in one glass!

The best three days in March? The worst three days in March? Well, I’m torn. Yes, as mentioned I suffered [as probably some other fellow beer enthusiasts] a little, drank more beer each day than any human should consume in a lifetime, and went days with only little sleep, but it was all for the sake of thousands of people joining together to show their love for the best beers Germany has to offer!
Thanks to all the brewers I spent lots of time talking to, to my fellow beer snobs for interesting discussions, to the new people and the ones I finally met the faces to, you all made for a great weekend and I’m looking forward hanging out again at the next beer event!In this spirit, thanks for reading.
Cheers!!
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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!