Been a while, I know. Time to catch up on the Beers of the Week!
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m having a half liter of Bitburger right now.
Schwarzbier simply translates as “Black Beer”. And this one is named”Das Schwarze” which translates simply as “The Black.” As you can see, it lives up to its name. Now black lagers are not nearly as heavy as people tend to think. They tend to be smooth and drinkable. This one was a little too smokey and roasty for my taste.
Flensburger Dunkel. Great label, right? Put anything related to vikings on the label, and you’re more than half way home in my book. Plus, it’s a dunkel beer. “Dunkel” just means dark, but as a style it’s one of my favorites: smooth like a lager, but bready and with a malty sweetness that gives it just enough body to let you know you’re not drinking a thin, watery pilsner.
Then I tasted it. It had an awful, bitter aftertaste. It tasted like disappointment. Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant you were looking forward to trying, and upon getting the food, found a serviceable meal, with several flaws that made you think “Well, if I’m back in the area again at dinner, I’ll just go to Chipotle and get a burrito instead…”? That’s the feeling I had sampling this brew.
Not learning from my mistake, I tried:
Viking ship. “Malz”, which is “malt”, which I like. Should be a winner, right? Wrong. This was the worst. It tasted like a coca cola that had gone partially flat, and had about 1/3 of the water evaporated out of it. Cloyingly sweet and syrupy. One drink, then down the drain. Wondering what the hell I just drank, I turned to the internet and found it’s a non-alcoholic beer.
I’m not totally illiterate when it comes to reading German beer labels. I know a few beer terms, so I would have expected to see “alkohol-frei” on it somewhere. Nope.
I’m a little concerned about my personal health now. If the Germans decided to start selling, say, carbolic acid in brown glass bottles with Gothic lettering, I’m screwed.
Oh, and Flensburger? You’re not getting any more of my Euros. You’re dead to me.
“Kellerbier” just means “cellar beer”. Germany has many, many castles, and many of them have restaurants, and many of those restaurants brew their own beer. Kellerbier is the house specialty; whatever they have lagering in the cellar. Again, it’s a dunkel, so it should be right up my alley… and it is. Fantastic. Just the right amount of body and malty sweetness, balanced with a nice smooth finish. Would be perfect on a crisp fall day or a rainy spring day, but light enough to have with some grilled pork in the summer. Top of my list to have again.
“But, Hessian, you’re in Germany, and that’s an American beer? What are you doing?”
I did indeed swear to only try European beers while here. But, like campaign promises, that was meant to be broken. It’s intensely satisfying to find one of my favorite Wisconsin beers over here in Germany, being sold in the post exchange to thirsty soldiers and airmen. Well done, Leinenkugel’s brothers.