Monday, January 30, 2012

My first Berliner brewpub

There is no doubt that Georg Bräu has a wonderful location. Next to the river Spree in the famous Nikolaiviertel quarter in Berlin, I can imagine that this is a great place to sit outside in Summer enjoying the sun and some beers.

As it was Winter, there were no tables outside. Therefore I went inside to order one of the beers brewed on the premises. The choices were few and simple. At Georg Bräu there was a helles and a dunkles. I went for the pale beer.

A large glass of Georg Bräu helles was brought to my table by the cute, but very formal waitress. The cloudy and nearly orange coloured beer had no carbonation and a medium sized head. In the nose I felt grass and mints. In the mouth a combination of mints, yeast and caramel danced along with a strange taste I could not pinpoint. The finish had some caramel and a little touch of bitterness. I liked the beer, but it was not that interesting that I ordered another glass.

There were few people at Georg Bräu the day I visited. Most of them had food with their beer. On the table next to me some Russians had a duck dish that looked very tempting. I was not hungry. Otherwise I would have tried it out.

I left Georg Bräu in a good mood, but a few hours later I remembered that the brewpub had two beers. I forgot to taste the dunkles. Well, I guess I have more than the duck to try out if I ever revisit Georg Bräu.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A taste of Berlin

After a pleasant flight I was finally in Berlin. I had landed on the Schönefeld airport, and I felt a bit hungry as I left the main entrance. Next to the terminal I found a special building: An old train car had been redecorated into a hot dog stand. The place was called Die Ess-Bahn. This was a clever word play on the German verb for eating and the S-Bahn trains. I went inside and ordered a Currywurst and a lager beer to drink. Unfortunately there were no draught beers available, but a half litre of Berliner Kindl Jubiläums Pilsener felt appropriate.

The Currywurst is a standard dish in Germany. Everywhere in Germany you will find it on fast food menus. It is a take on sausage drowned in ketchup and a liberal dose of curry. I like to have a Currywurst now and then while in Germany, but the fatty sausage may not be to everybody's liking.

I had to drink the Berliner Kindl beer from a plastic cup. Unfortunately, no ordinary glass was available at Die Ess-Bahn. The Jubiläums Pilsener was a pale lager beer with a small head and barely any carbonation. I felt malts and sweetness in the nose. The beer felt balanced with some sweetness and a touch of hops before a finish with grains. I liked it. This was a nice pale lager.

I finished my beer and Currywurst and spent some time reading the complimentary Berliner Morgenpost on my table. Then it was time to find the Berlin-Schönefeld railway station just a short walk away. More than one bierstube in the city centre was waiting for me.

Swiss intermezzo

I can only blame myself. As a result of my hunt for cheap plane tickets, I suddenly had to have a quick stopover at Zurich airport. If my flight to Switzerland was on time, I only had 45 minutes to catch my next flight. Of course, my flight to Zurich was late, so with less than half an hour on Swiss soil, I more or less ran through the airport.

I had a plan. I wanted to grab a beer on my way to the gate. But which beer was of interest? (In the meantime I ask you readers, of course in a rhetorically way: Which is your favourite Swiss beer?) As I approached my gate, there was a little kiosk offering snacks and beverages. Among the drinks I found several Ittinger beer bottles. Sure, Ittinger Klosterbräu was to be my favourite (and only) Swiss beer experience this time around.

I drank it straight from the bottle as I waited to enter the airplane. According to the label, Ittinger is a monastery brewery. The beer had a malty nose. I felt sweetness and malts in the mouth before a partly bitter finish. This was an average pale lager that would be quite inoffensive in warm weather. I would not turn down a cold Ittinger in Summer!

I entered my flight and was offered a bottle of the German Warsteiner beer. Actually, I would have preferred a bottle of Ittinger instead!

My visit to Zurich airport was unfortunately a stressful one. Perhaps I will be back one day?

Friday, January 27, 2012

A round of IPAs

Suddenly Vinmonopolet had several new India Pale Ales available, so I bought some of them and had an IPA session.

From Denmark, Herslev Bryghus IPA is probably the palest IPA I have tasted. It looked like a pale lager in the glass, and there was some carbonation and a medium sized head. I felt some grapefruit and apples in the nose, while the beer tasted of apples, citrus and some pine before a partly bitter finish. This was a nice beer, but I was a bit disappointed that I did not feel the grapefruit promised from the aromas when I tasted it.

Skands Elvegade IPA is also from Denmark. This is a cloudy beer with some carbonation and a small head. In the nose I felt apples and some sour citrus. In the mouth there was lemon and some bitter hops. The beer was quite alright, but it was not what I expected from an IPA.

Southern Tier IPA is an American beer. This cloudy beer had a small head and nearly no carbonation. In the nose there was some assertive grapefruit, and the grapefruit also dominated in the mouth. The finish was bitter with a touch of grass. This was a great India Pale Ale and my favourite of these three.

To finish the session I went for a wheat beer with a hoppy twist. Schneider Weisse TAP 5 was a cloudy beer with a nice, white and large head. There was some carbonation, and the aromas were very hoppy. I felt grapefruit and some banana. In the mouth this was a beer with an assertive fruit cocktail in the lead. Some bubble gum and sweetness danced along before a finish with a touch of sweet pear and a touch of hoppy bitterness. This was a very good beer, but I felt that a half litre bottle was too much. As a Weizendoppelbock with an alcohol content of 8.2%, this is a strong beer.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A taste of IPA or three

India Pale Ale is one of my favourite beer styles. I was therefore happy to find a new IPA acquaintance at a Vinmonopolet outlet. Scottish Joker IPA is brewed by the British Williams Brothers brewery, and of course it was given a test run.

In the glass Scottish Joker IPA is a cloudy beer. There is barely any carbonation, and it has a very small head. In the nose I feel grapefruit and some pines. In the mouth grapefruit takes the lead before a watery finish with some orange. I felt this was a boring IPA that left a lot to be desired.

Ægir Ratatosk Double IPA is named after the squirrel in the Norse god sagas. In the glass this is another cloudy beer with a coppery colour. It has some carbonation and a small head. I feel toffee, flowers, apricot and some grapefruit in the nose. The beer has a fine, full body. There are tastes of citrus, pineapple, caramel, tutti frutti bubble gium and some sugar. I also feel some alcohol touches before a partly bitter finish with some lovely hops. This is a fine beer, but I prefer Ægir's normal IPA. And after a few sips, Ratatosk also gets too sweet. Unfortunately.

Mikkeller Green Gold is a beer I have tasted as a draught beer earlier. From bottle this IPA is a cloudy beer with a medium sized head and barely any carbonation. I feel grapefruit in the nose, while the beer tastes of more grapefruit combined with some blood orange. The finish is bitter with a lot of hops. This is the best beer of these three, but it is somewhat more bitter than what I would prefer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Primátor in Norway

I was really satisfied to find a bottle of Primátor's dark lager at a Vinmonopolet outlet in Norway. It was the first time I have ever seen a beer from the Czech brewery in a Norwegian beer shelf, and of course I had to buy it. I am very fond of the Primátor beers I have tasted earlier. The stout is my personal favourite, but the Pale Ale and the pale lager are also excellent beers.

Primátor Premium Dark was a black beer with nearly no carbonation and a small head. In the nose I felt sweetness and some dark chocolate. The beer had a sweet taste with some cold coffee and toffee before a partly watery finish with more coffee. I liked this dark lager a lot, and I hope that I will find other beers from Primátor in Norway. I know that some supermarkets in the Oslo area sells Primátor Stout, and that is a beer I would like to drink frequently.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Two more Christmas beers

2012 is here, but there are more Christmas beers from 2011 to write about. Ægir Julebrygg is one of them.

It is available in several versions. Ægir Julebrygg 4,7% is a copper coloured beer with nearly no carbonation and a medium sized head. There are aromas of some toffee and cinnamon. In the mouth I feel toffee, honey and some grass. I get no Christmas feeling from this beer. It is unfortunately a boring, average beer.

Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul is much more interesting. It is nearly black in colour and has barely any carbonation. It has a medium sized head with lots of aromas. I feel cinnamon and various other spices. In the mouth a combination of sweetness, ginger bread, dates and a lot of sweet spices meet. The beer is full of flavours, and many tastes are difficult to pinpoint. The finish is partly bitter with more dates. This is lovely!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Just like last year, I will have a different kind of post as the first one in 2012. I will go into the archives and present some posts I think are of extra interest. Some are really good reads, while others present beers or pubs really worth trying out. I hope you will find something worthwhile here!

Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri
This is the first post I wrote about my favourite Norwegian pub in 2011. This text is from February 2011.

Beer Street, Prague
Some of the most interesting pubs in Prague can be found in a distance of 200 metres. Read about them in this post from April 2011.

Beating Ratebeer
This beer was not rated on Ratebeer when I came across it in Vienna in April 2011. Has it been rated by now?

Drinking lager beer in Vienna
A warm Spring day and pale lagers. This post from May 2011 shows that it is a good combination!

1516 Brewing Company
This Vienna based brewpub is one of the best brewpubs I have ever visited!

Gardermoen - a beer desert
Oslo's airport is not a great place for draught beers. Unfortunately!

Good beer in Copenhagen
Brewpub in Copenhagen is worth a visit!

Disappointment in Southern Norway
Patrick's in Kristiansand is supposed to be one of the better beer bars in Norway. I did not enjoy my visit there in August 2011.

The world's best beer?
I really like the unfiltered version of Pilsner Urquell!

An excellent stout
Primátor Stout is perhaps the best stout I have ever tasted. I finally tasted it once again as a draught beer in December 2011.