Ratsherrn Westküsten IPA

It seems like the year 2014 passed by in a blink of an eye and leaves us with memories of an eventful year in the craft beer world. There were ups and downs, brewery openings and many excellent beers, we saw big victories for small craft breweries and small ones for the big. But when I look back it’s almost dizzying when I think about making a list with all the successful brews I’ve tried. I hope that 2015 will be just as exciting and flavorful …

In this spirit I’ll continue with the first beer review of 2015:

IMG_8064During these freezing temperatures everyone is dreaming of the sun, the beach and the ocean. Ratsherrn’s Westküsten India Pale Ale, a brewery from Hamburg, gives at least the impression of Spring or Summer.

It pours clear and bright golden topped with a finger wide, fine-pored fluffy head. Aromas of citrus, grapefruit and passion fruit rise up into my nose, followed by decent hay and herbal (rosemary?) flavors.
The citrus aromas repeat in the first sip and quickly turn into a fruity-floral bitterness. Again, I taste a hint of sweet herbs.
It has soft carbonation, is gentle on the tongue and has a little to medium body.
The finish is short-lived, with a malty, fruity sweetness and a touch of pink grapefruit.

The Westküsten India Pale Ale is a nice brew but a little too sweet and not what I expect from a typical West Coast IPA. Otherwise, tasty local [despite its 6.2%] and as a beginners-IPA

 

 

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BrewDog 5 A.M. Saint Hoppy Red Ale

[German below]

After nearly a week on the Emerald Isle I felt like an Ale today… well, like drinking one 🙂

When I opened our fridge, the 5 A.M. Saint Hoppy Red Ale by BrewDog caught my eyes immidiately… The 5 A.M. Saint is a beer from BrewDog’s Headliner Series, which they describe as the “Holy Grail” of Red Ales on their website.IMG_7158

BrewDog… the crazy brewery from Scotland who make atypical British-style beers and this Red Ale, if you can call it that, is no exception! It is more like a red ale which was nuked by hops and lives up to it’s “iconoclastic” title!

The ale pours in a nice red –  my choice of glass this time fell on a regular pint glass – with a full, tan head and I instantly smelled the hop cocktail. The 5 A.M Saint was brewed with five different hops, Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial and Ahtanum to be exact, which ere either added late in the brewing process or were used by dry hopping. Both lead to intense hop flavors.

It’s aroma is of citrus and grapefruit with some sweet caramel, but also a little earthy and resinous – it reminds me walking through the woods on a mushroom foray as a child 🙂

The taste is – unexpectedly – very refreshing with a slight hint of caramel. After a few more sips the earthy and floral notes come to the fore… not quite as spectacular as the aroma and a little watery!

Despite the five malts they used – Maris Otter, Caramalt, Munich malt, Crystal and Crystal dark – the hop bitterness helps to balance the flavor and makes the ale not too sweet. The carbonation also helps to compensate for the slight watery and rather thin body

Conclusion:

For me, it’s not really “The Holy Grail” of Red Ales but overall a good beer for this style!


Nach knapp einer Woche auf der grünen Insel war mir heute nach einem Ale. Beim Öffnen des Kühlschranks sticht mir sofort das 5 A.M. Saint Red Ale von BrewDog ins Auge…

Das 5 A.M. Saint ist ein Bier aus BrewDog’s Headliner Serie, die auf ihrer Website als “Heiligen Gral” der Red Ales beschrieben wird.

BrewDog… die verrückte Brauerei aus Schottland mit dem etwas anderen untypischen britischen Bier! Dieses Red Ale, wenn man es so nennen kann, ist da keine Ausnahme. Es ist eher ein Red Ale das vom Hopfen überrollt wurde und macht seinem “ikonoklastischem” Titel alle Ehre!

Meine Glaswahl fällt dieses Mal auf ein normales Pint-Glas. Das Ale gießt sich in einem schönem Rot mit einer vollen, hellbraunen Schaumkrone und einer heftigen Hopfennote.

Das Ale wurde mit 5 verschiedenen Hopfensorten gebraut, Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial und Ahtanum um genau zu sein, die spät während des Brauprozesses zugegeben wurden und mit denen das Bier gestopft wurde. Beides führt zu intensiven Hopfenaromen.

Es riecht nach Zitrus und Grapefruit mit süßen Karamellmalzen, aber auch etwas erdig und harzig – es erinnert mich wie ich als Kind in den Wald zum Pilzesammeln gegangen bin 🙂

Der Geschmack ist – unerwartet – sehr erfrischend mit einer leichten Karamellnote. Nach ein paar weiteren Schlucken kommen dann die erdigen und blumigen Noten hervor… nicht ganz so spektakulär wie das Aroma und anfangs ein wenig wässrig! Trotz der 5 Malze – Maris Otter, Karamellmalz, Münchner Malz, Kristall, Kristall dunkel – ist es durch die Hopfenbittere nicht allzu süß.

Die Karbonisierung hilft in der Hinsicht auch auch gleicht den etwas wässrigen und eher dünnen Körper aus.

Fazit:

Für mich ist es nicht unbedingt “The Holy Grail” der Red Ales aber insgesamt ein gutes Gebräu für diesen Bierstil!

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!

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!

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!