Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary: Fritz and Ken's Ale Stout

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, CA is a legend in the American craft brewing industry. They were one of America's first craft brewers and are still one of America's very finest. Established in 1980 by craft brewing pioneer Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada is celebrating 30 years of brewing excellence with a very special series of beers. The first in the series is Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary: Fritz and Ken's Ale Stout.

This beer is marketed in beautiful, corked and caged 750 ml bottles retailing for $9 a bottle. Trust me that is a steal for a one off beer of this quality. What makes this beer so very special is this is a collaborative effort with the legendary Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, CA. Fritz Maytag has 45 years at Anchor, Ken Grossman 30 at Sierra Nevada. From the label:

"Fritz Maytag, owner of San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company, is regarded as the founding father of the craft beer movement. Fritz agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. As a nod to the dark ales and stout that seduced both Fritz and Ken in the early years, we bring you this pioneering stout, a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging, and worth of your finest snifter. Enjoy!"

Stylistically this beer could be put in Imperial Stout category coming in at a mighty 9.5% abv. This is a rich, delicious, warming brew with fantastic dark chocolate, coffee, and roasty aromas and flavors, with some nice hop character as well. Both Fritz and Ken were big stout lovers in the early days, and chose a stout to be the beer they would brew together. This is a very memorable one, and for a stout lover like me, a real gem.

Fritz and Ken's Ale pours to an opaque, ink black color, a tight, tan head, that fades with a soft to moderate carbonation. The nose on this beer is very pleasing with aromas of dark chocolate, light roast, and some piney hops. The palate is rich and full on the tongue, with lots of dark chocolate, coffee, and estery flavors of black currant. Fritz and Ken's Ale finishes with more wonderful flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, light roast and currant, then ends with a dry and piney hop finish that lingers.

Outstanding beer with complex aromas and flavors. This beer is one to sip and savor. Bottle conditioned you can lay this one down for a few years and experience it with some age on it. It is outstanding young, and is a must try for any beer lover. For more information about this beer, and the next three beers in the series, visit the Sierra 30 Project at:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fade to Black: Schwaben Brau Das Schwarze

Don't be afraid of the dark. There is a common misconception that the darker a beer, the stronger it is. This is just not the case, as the color of a beer has to do with the degree it is toasted/roasted in a kiln. The more you kiln malt the darker it will get. Some malts will be pale and white in color, while others will as dark and roasty as coffee.

Schwarzbier or "black beer" is a great example of a beer that uses dark malts, which gives this beer style its black color. Schwarzbiers have outstanding dark malt aromas and flavors, and are really fantastic dark lagers with tons of flavor and character, yet remain very drinkable beers. If you like dunkle, or even stouts and porters you will like schwarzbier. An excellent example of this style is Das Schwarze from the Schwaben Brau brewery of Nurnberg, Germany.

Das Schwarze pours to a jet black color with a thick, creamy white head, and a good bit of carbonation. When held to the light, you can see this beer is actually a very, very deep, bright brown color. The nose on this beer is excellent with lots of dark chocolate, coffee, and light roast aroma, paired with some grassy hop aroma. The palate on this beer is very smooth and polished with excellent malt flavors, dark chocolate flavor, a touch of coffee, and a touch of light roast. This beer finishes with more excellent dark chocolate and light coffee flavor, then ends with a mild, grassy hop bite that balances this beer to perfection.

This is a great example of schwarzbier. Dark beers are nothing you should be afraid of. The alcohol strength in this beer is on par with dunkel, and helles and its the type of beer you could drain by the liter. Not sure if you can find this one in the U.S. as my example was brought back from Germany by a friend, but its one well worth seeking out. For more information about this beer and the brewery, visit:

Lets Brawl: Yards Brawler

The Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA is an outstanding little craft brewery established in 1994, Yards specializes in British ales, and they do an outstanding job of it. One of my favorite beer styles by Yards is a beer they simply call Brawler.

Brawler is a mild by style. We really don't see a whole lot of mild ale being brewed in the U.S. and both British and domestic examples of this style can be hard to find. I applaud the fact that Yards is brewing this beer style. What exactly is mild? It is a British beer style that is malt accented, ruby red to brown in color, with mild hop bitterness. Most mild ales are only 3% to 3.5% abv making them the type of beer you could drink lots of. Brawler is 4.2% abv which is high on the mild scale but still a beer with relatively low alcohol. This beer style was popular with British miners and factort workers, who toiled away with a day of hard labor to be rewarded with pint after pint of mild they could pound with impunity. Mild ales lost favor in the 1960's and all but disappeared. I happy to mild is alive and well both British and examples like Brawler can be found in markets in the U.S.
Brawler pours to a beautiful, bright, ruby red color, with a white head that slowly fades, and a moderate to soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is outstanding, with lots of good light toasty and nutty malt aromas. The plate is soft, with good nutty, toffeeish, and toasty malt flavors. A touch of estery fruit is faint in the back ground, but malt is the star here. Brawler finishes with more good nutty, toasty malt flavor up front, then ends with a mild, flowery hop bitterness to balance the malt flavors in this beer.
Mild in hop bitterness, and mild in alcohol but not mild on flavor. This is a great example of a classic British beer style. Brawler is a true "session" beer, one you will have no trouble drinking a few pints or more of. I love this style and I love this beer. A great drinking beer, a food friendly as one. Despite its name odds are you won't get stupid and get in a brawl after a few of these. For more information visit the brewery at:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beer is in Session: Session Premium Lager and Premium Dark Lager

Back in 2008 I made the trek to Hood River, Oregon and visited the Full Sail Brewing Company. Full Sail was established in 1987 and they are a legend in American craft brewing circles. When I visited the brewery in Hood River back in 2008 they had just debuted a new beer called Session Premium Lager. At the time I really didn't get it. Why would a respected craft brewer want to brew a Premium Lager? Wasn't the craft brewing movement about getting away from that and delivering beers with flavor and character? Easy drinking beers were left to the likes of the macrobrewers and regionals.
I actually tried it at the brewery on draught, and thought it was a nice, clean, drinkable lager, but so what? I could get that with Yuengling, Straub, Narragansett, dare I even say Miller High Life? Then it dawned on me. Wait a minute. I love a good clean, all malt lager. I praise the Germans for brewing such great lagers, I enjoy regional brewers who do this as well. Truth be told, I love a good lager as much as I love a good ale. I love craft brewers who do great lagers. Why would I not want an all malt craft brewed premium lager? One that was bringing back another old school American beer tradition, the stubby which you see pictured here. An 11 oz squat little brown bottle.
I get it now. When Full Sail recently showed in my market, I was immediately drawn to the 12 pack cases of Session Premium Lager. I remembered seeing stacks of cases of this beer at the brewery in Hood River when it first came out in 2008 and passed on buying it. I was not about to pass on trying the bottled form of this beer this time around. I was happy to see that Session Premium Black Lager had joined the party. I'm now officially hooked on both, as these beers like all Full Sail beers are outstanding and so, so well crafted. Here is what the brewery has to say:
Original Session, with the bright red label, is a classic all-malt pre-Prohibition style lager that reminds us of what American lagers used to taste like. It's flavorful, refreshing, and has a touch of that import-style taste. (Which, once upon a time, you didn't have to buy an "import" to get.) Oh, and it comes in a stubby, 11-oz bottle like your grandpa used to buy. So after your next session (surf, jam, gab, whatever), crack open a Session and drink to the good old new days.

Named World's Best Premium Lager at the World Beer Awards and winner of a slew of other shiny trophies, Session has truly earned itself a place at the bar. Not to mention the barbecue.
ABV 5.1% IBU 18

Short, Dark, and Drinkable and a Gold Medal Winner at the 2009 GABF! Our newest member of the family, Session Black, carries the mantra of drinkability into new territory. Most beers this dark are so heavy-duty, you could eat them with a fork. Session Black, on the other hand, lets you have your dark beer and drink it, too. With just a hint of roasty chocolate character, Session Black is short, dark, and totally drinkable. At long last, a dark beer that doesn't drink like a meal.
ABV 5.4% IBU 18

I could go into my own reviews of this beer, but Full Sail has done it for me. What you have here are two very drinkable beers, with good flavor. At 5.1% abv they are the type of beers you will want to have a "session" with, ie you will want to drink more than one, or two, or three. Malty, clean, smooth, and drinkable, this is what Premium Lager and Dark Lager is all about. I enjoy the Dark a little better but that is because I have always enjoyed a little more dark malt, roasty flavor. Both these beers are just outstanding drinking beers, and have great malt flavor with mild hop bitterness, just to balance. These are the types of beers you can drink ice cold from the cooler, or in a glass. Good, solid, clean, drinking beer. All malt, all good. A little more expensive than your Yuengling, but worth having in the rotation. These two beers will be in mine for now on. For more info visit the brewery's site at:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fried Chicken Glory: KFC Double Down Sandwich

This might quite possibly be the most amazing chicken sandwich ever known to man. Two KFC boneless chicken breasts (Original recipe or grilled) sandwich two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterrey Jack and pepper jack cheeses, and Colonel's sauce?!! Where is the bun? Not happening. The chicken breasts are the bun.

I give you the KFC Double Down Sandwich. It was my honor to try this sandwich today. The DD lives up to the hype and then some. If only once in a lifetime, you must try this sandwich. Insanely good. The stuff of legend. I went with the Original recipe, but I image the "healthier" grilled is tasty as well. Nutritional information? Do you really want to know with a sandwich like this? Don't plan on eating for the rest of the week, but this sandwich was so, so worth it. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

I've had this sandwich twice now, and for all the nay sayers and all the "the sandwich will kill you" crowd? Don't buy one. Show a little self control, and take responsibility for your own actions. KFC is not billing this sandwich as healthy, and as an indulgent, satisfying, sandwich to have once in a while? The Double Down is just awesome. Chose to not have a DD if you think it is going to kill you.

For more info visit KFC at:

I'm going back to Cally: Cally's Restaurant and Brewing Company, Harrisonburg, VA

If you ever head out to Harrisonburg, VA and you love good, local, craft beer? You are in luck. Harrisonburg is very fortunate to have an outstanding brewpub/brewery in Cally's Restaurant and Brewing Company. Located downtown, this place has it all, great service, great atmosphere, great food, and some really great craft beer. At any time you will find 5-7 beer pouring and an impressive menu with a variety of dishes.

Their Smokin Scottish Ale a flagship brew is one of the most impressive Scottish ales being brewed on the East Coast in my opinion. It is such a malty, delicious beer, and I love the fact that Cally's has made this beer style a signature beer. Cally's offers a good range of beer styles both ales and lagers. I have enjoyed pale ales to double bocks, Altbier to rye pale ales. Cally's always gives you a good range and all their beers are stylistically accurate and well crafted.

Beer should always be the star at a brewpub, and Cally's gets it right. As good as the food is here, as popular as this place is, the beer has always taken center stage. Their beautiful brewhouse can be prominently seen behind the glass at a long, inviting bar. This place is immaculately clean, a very good sign indeed. This is a great place to go have a few beers at the bar, or a nice place to visit for lunch and dinner. Growlers are available to go so you can take some of that great, local craft beer home with you. For more information visit Cally's site at:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Game Over: 7-Eleven coming out with own brand called Game Day

A little late for an April Fool's joke? Sadly this is not a joke. 7-Eleven INC. is getting into the beer market with a store brand lager called Game Day. In the next few weeks an expected 4,200 or so 7-Eleven stores in 17 states will carry Game Day which is being billed as a "premium lager beer at below premium price." They are brewing two different "varieties" Light and ICE. Wow now there are two great choices! You will be able to buy Game Day in a 24 oz single can or 12 packs of 12 oz cans. Oh joy. Suggested retail prices for the 12 packs will range from $7-$9 with the single 24 oz can will go for $1.50 to $1.90 a can.
Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite are the biggest selling beers in 7-Eleven and 7-Eleven is the nation's third biggest beer retailer. The beer is going to brewed at the City Brewery in La Crosse, WI and 7-Eleven is banking on the low price to get the Bud, Coors, and Miller drinkers to make the switch to Game Day.
Something tells me Game Day ICE is going to be a big hit with all the illegal aliens that gather in front of 7-Eleven. Expect to see lots of Game Day cans littered all over the sidewalk some time in the very near future.

Catch a wave: Rhino Chasers Pacific Pils

The Lost Rhino Brewing Company the brewers of Rhino Chasers has brewed up a batch of their Pacific Pils and it is currently on draught at Vintage 50 in Leesburg, VA. This beer is a kellerbier by style and was brewed at Vintage 50 as a guest beer. V50 describes it on its beer menu as:
A rich, dense, and creamy head tops this crisp golden lager. Premium brewers' malt create a sweet backbone, but with prominent hop flavor and aroma from noble Halertau and Saaz hops. This "keller" beer is served unfiltered, preserving complex tastes created during the a slow brewing process. Brewed by Ashburn based 28 North Custom Beer Works brewers here at Vintage 50. Like "Rhino Chasers" - the laid back brewers at 28 North are on a similar journey to create the perfect beer. 13.5 Plato 5.6% abv 55 IBU
Think I a trip to Vintage 50 is long over due, and I know what my first pint of beer will be. For more information visit 28 North Custom Beer Works or Vintage 50 at:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saku Estonian Porter..The British Connection

Estonia might seem a long way from Britain but one has to wonder how an Estonia beer carries the name porter a British beer style. The Saku Brewery was established in 1820 in Estonia brews a porter but it is not the type you would typically find in the British Isles. Saku Estonian Porter is a Baltic Porter by style. Baltic porters are direct descendants of Russian Imperial Stout, a beer style that was brewed by British brewers, and shipped to Russia and the Baltics. Some Baltic breweries, that were lager brewers, decided to do their own versions of Imperial Stout, yet did so with their lager yeast strains, which are bottom fermenting. This bottom fermenting lager version of Imperial Stout became known in the beer world as Baltic porter.

Baltic porter is very similar to Imperial stout, but is less fruity, and is rounder and smoother in body. Like all beer styles, there is range with in the style, and Saku Estonian Porter falls into the lower end of the scale, being less potent, and lighter in color than the majority of Baltic porters.

Saku Estonian Porter pours to a some what murky, deep caramel color, with a thick tan head, and a soft to moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer is very malt accented, with lots of sweet malty, toasty, and nutty aroma. The palate is firm with lots of sweet and caramel malt flavors on the tongue, and nice touches of toasty malt flavors. This beer finishes with more sweet and caramel malty flavors up front, and ends with a cloying malty finish.

This is a delicious, well done, very malt accented brew, that really is a unique version of Baltic porter, quite different from most versions you will find. If you see this beer in your market, seek it out, it is well worth trying. It retails for about $3-$4 for a 1/2 liter bottle. For more information visit the brewery's site at:

So it Gose: Bayerischer Banhof Leipziger Gose

Leipzig, Germany is a fascinating city, with a mix of very old, old, and new. Remnants of the DDR days can still befound, but Leipzig is a very modern city, that is alive and vibrant. The train station in Leipzig is one ofthe most beautiful in Germany, and it has as many shops as malls here in the US do. When I visited Germany a few years back I had chosen Leipzig as a stop on my beer tour, for a very rare German beer style. A style with its roots in Lower Saxony, which was born in the town of Goslar. This beer then migrated to Leipzig, where it really took hold and grew.

That beer style is gose (pronounced gozaah), which is a wheat beer that is brewed with coriander and salt. What makes this beer so interesting, and unique is the fact that it does not follow the Reinheitsgebot or German Beer Purity Law of 1516. According to the Reinheistsgebot, only water, malts, hops, and yeast can be used in the brewing of beer. So how is it that gose can be brewed with coriander and salt? There are parts of Germany that never fully embraced the Reinheitsgebot, and continued to brew local styles. Because of their tradition and history, beers like gose were given a pass if you will, and were allowed to be brewed as they always were. If you find yourself in Leipzig, and you love beer, then you must try Bayerischer Banhof Leipziger Gose.

And what better place to try it than at the source itself? I did just that, when I visited the Gasthof and Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Banhof of Leipzig,Germany. This brewery/brewpub is located in what was a beautiful old train station, and the atmosphere, food, and of course the beer, are truly exceptional. This is a wonderful place to visit for lunch, dinner, or just to relax in the gosebierstub for a few beers. Banhof brews a number of styles, but gose bier is their specialty, and signature brew. Gose is a rare and world class beer, and it was well worth the trip to Leipzig to try this one at source.

Leipziger Gose pours to a murky and hazy deep golden color with a tall and rocky white head, and a vibrant carbonation. The nose on this beer is fantastic with lots of spicy coriander aromas, and tangy citrus aroma. The palate is firm, with some good flavors of tart and quenching wheat malt, citrus lemon flavor, and peppery hints of coriander. Leipziger Gose finishes with more tart and quenching flavors up front, then ends with a very salty finish that lingers.

This is such a refreshing, and delicious wheat beer that is very unique. I really enjoy the saltiness in this beer, it adds to the refreshing quality of this brew. At 5.2% abv it is the type of beer you can drink a few of, and one you will want to drink a few of. At the brewpub they serve it in a traditional gose bier glass, and it was the perfect beer to match with a lunch of local meats, sausages, and cheeses. I also tried a gose bier laced with Allasch which is an almond liqueur, and it made of any outstanding digestif. Great anytime, this beer like hefeweizen would also make the perfect aperitif, or summer thirst quencher. This beer is also available on the U.S. market, retailing for about $3.50-$4 a 1/2 liter bottle, so you don't have to venture all the way to Leipzig, but any beer lover worth his salt in gose, really should some day. For more information about this beer and the brewery visit their site at:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Authentic Southern BBQ and Hand Crafted Beer: JoBoy's Brew Pub

What could be better than barbecue and beer? Good news for those who live in PA Dutch Country with the recent opening of JoBoy's Brew Pub in Manheim, PA. Located downtown in the historic Summy House this will be a must vist for beer and BBQ lovers. This place has a history as a brewpub, and once housed the Prussian Street Brewing Company. I visited this place years ago, but had not returned. Will have to rectify that situation and try the beers and BBQ that Joboy's has to offer. For more information visit their site at:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Watch out for this one: The Bruery Mischief

Look out for this beer because it may get you in a lot of trouble. There are beers out there that taste so good, you want to keep drinking glass after the glass them. Mischief from The Bruery of Placentia, California is one of them.
The Bruery established in 2008, is a very small, artisan brewery that is producing some amazingly bold and flavorful beers. Their core brands are Belgian beers styles, and the styles they brew are 100% bottle conditioned, unpasteurized, unfiltered beers marketed in 750 ml champagne bottles. I have enjoyed a number of their beers and have been very impressed to say the least.
Mischeif is a "Limited" Year Round offering, so if you see this one, do not hesitate to pick up few bottles. This beer is a Belgian-Style Hoppy Golden Ale which the Bruery describes as:
This wickedly good golden ale is fiendishly dry-hopped with American hops to add a layer of complexity and mystery to its fruity, dry Belgian-style character. Citrus and resin diabolically combine with ripe melon, pear, and slight peppery spice in a precariously effervescent enjoy it, but you will want to keep an eye out.
They are not kidding. This beer is 8.5% abv but hides its strength very well. This beer is dangerously drinkable, and is so flavorful and delicious, you will be wanting to drink the whole 750ml bottle for yourself.
Mischief pours to a beautiful, hazy, deep golden color, with a thick, pillowy white head, and a vibrant carbonation. The nose on this beer is fragrant and zesty with aromas of lemon and grapefruit, paired with earthy/spicy yeast aroma. The palate is firm with good pale and biscuity malt flavor that pairs with some sour, estery fruitness, and tangy hop flavors of lemon and grapefruit. Mischief finishes with more pale malt and sour fruit up front, then ends with a lingering citrus bitterness that linger.
I really enjoyed this beer. I love the complex aromas and flavors. It is amazingly drinkable for such a strong beer, and it would make an outstanding aperitif beer, one that would be fantastic with sharp and strong cheeses. It would be great beer to serve with a number of hearty beef, pork or lamb dishes. This is a perfect beer to just sip and savor, one to enjoy any time of year. For more information about this beer and the brewery, visit their site at:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The World of Beer Coming to Richmond, VA

Tickets now on sale for the World Beer Festival in Richmond, VA which will be held on June 12th, 2010. The event will be held on Brown's Island.
Visit for details.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beer Memories: Mobjack Bay Brewing Company, Richmond, VA

What I like about having this beer blog is it is my place to share my opinions, thoughts, and memories about anything and everything that has to do with beer and brewing. I just might be like the guy walking down the street with tin foil in his hat talking to himself, but I'm fine with that. I like the fact that here I can remember and pay tribute to beers I have enjoyed over the years. I like the fact that I can pay tribute to a brewery that brought me and other beer lovers such great beers. I pay tribute here today.
It is always a sad thing when a local business is forced to close its doors. It really hits home for a beer lover when they lose a local beer that was near and dear to them. The recent closing of the Richbrau Brewing Company, of Richmond, VA sadly got me thinking about another Richmond brewery that closed back in 2003. The Mobjack Bay Brewing Company was a small, local craft brewer that established itself in Richmond, VA in 1997. It produced only about 3,000 barrels of beer a year, and its beers could be found in the Richmond, VA area as well as markets in Northern Virginia.
Mobjack Bay Brewing suffered the fate of many small, local, craft brewers in the late 1990's. The market was at its height, and with so many choices, beers like Mobjack Bay, and countless others got lost on the shelf, or did not get the grass roots local support it needed to continue to grow and thrive. Mobjack Bay brewed outstanding beers. Sadly, that is not good enough in the beer business, and if you don't get the support you need to stay profitable, you will go out of business no matter how good your product is. This happened to far, far too many great, local craft brewers.

I was a huge fan of this brewery, and you would always find a Mobjack Bay beer in my beer fridge. The Old Dominion Brewing Company of Ashburn, VA was my local brewery, but I was drinking Mobjack Bay beers as long as I was drinking Dominion. I started drinking Mobjack in 1998 until they became almost impossible to find in my markets in Northen Virginia. The brewery in Richmond closed around 2003, and Mobjack limped on for a few more years as a contract brewer, and had the Old Dominion Brewing Company, of Ashburn, VA brew their beers, until OD was purchased by Coastal Brewing, and stopped brewing contract beers. The OD examples of Mobjack were credible, but never the same as the Richmond brewed beers.

Mobjack Bay brewed a good rage of beer styles, including a pale, an American red ale, a blueberry wheat, and a stout. All their beers were impressive and flavorful. I would always have the Mobjack Pale Ale or Mobjack Red Ale on hand, and when I could find it, I would enjoy their Olde Coot Stout. Their pale ale was a classic example of the style with lots of piney, citrus hop aromas, a biscuity pale malt and fruity palate, that would finish with great citrus/piney hop bitterness. Their Red Ale was as impressive as the pale with more sweet and caramel malt on the palate, tangy fruity flavors, and like the pale a wonderful citrus/piney hop bite.
Olde Coot Stout was a personal favorite of mine. Mobjack Bay only brewed limited batches of this beer, so when ever I saw it in my good beer store, I would snap up as much as I could. This beer was an outstanding example of a dry or Irish stout, but with an American twist. It was dark, roasty, and coffeeish, but had really great hop aromas and bitterness to go with those big coffee, roast, and dark chocolate aromas and flavors. So fresh and flavorful, this was one impressive beer. Their Blueberry Wheat was Mobjack's tribute to another Richmond brewery that closed before its time. The recipe for this beer came from the original recipe of the James River Brewing Company. It was a wonderful summer refresher, with a wonderful sweet and sour blueberry nose, good tart and crisp wheat malt flavors with a very tasty and refreshing sweet/sour blueberry finish.
I really miss these beers, and this brewery. I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I was able to enjoy their beers for about 5-6 years. I pay tribute to Mobjack Bay Brewing here, but I would much rather still be drinking their beers. Remember to always support your local breweries, or one day like Mobjack Bay, it will be gone.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pure Germany: Schwaben Brau Meister Pils

I am always amazed and impressed with the beer drinking culture of Germany, and how the Germans are true masters of the craft and art of brewing.
Strict adherence to the Reinheitsgebot or Germany Beer Purity Law of 1516 has given Germany what is often called pure beer. What is pure beer? It is beer that is brewed with four ingredients: water, malt, hops, yeast, and nothing else. So when a friend of mine was recently in Germany a few weeks ago I was happy he came back with some good German beer. I was very happy that Schwaben Brau Meister Pils from the Schwaben Brau brewery of Stuttgart, Germany was one of the beers he brought back.

This beer is a Pils by style, and is a very good one. German Pils tend to have a more aggressive hop character and both aroma and bitterness than Czech pilsner. This beer is a very good example with good hop character on a crisp and clean malt palate.

Meister Brau Pils pours to a beautiful, bright, pale golden color, with a thick, creamy, white head, and a moderate carbonation. The nose is excellent on this beer, with fragrant herbal/grassy hop aroma. The palate is very crisp, and clean with good pilsner malt flavor. The body is very round and polished on this beer making it very drinkable. Meister Pils finishes with more great pilsner malt flavor up front, then ends with an zesty, herbal/grassy hop bite that lingers.

The beauty of a beer like this is its simplicity. This is just a great beer that is flavorful and drinkable. It is the kind of beer you could drink liters of, and would be a great beer to match with a number of different dishes from hearty fare, to fish, to salads and pastas.

I'm not sure if this beer is availabe in the the U.S. as my friend brought this one back from Germany. It is a beer well worth seeking out, and is a great example of Pils. For more information about this beer and the brewery, visit their site at:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Port of Call: Port City Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA

Exciting news for beer lovers in the Washington, DC Metro Area. Virginia is going to get another brewery. Port City Brewing Company of Alexandria, VA is in the process of establishing itself. Stay tuned.