Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Excellent Article on Rare German Beer

By William Brand
Monday, May 21st, 2007 at 11:38 am in Uncategorized.


There’s a very fine article about German beer in the Sunday New York Times Travel Section by freelancer Evan Rail. If you aren’t a Times subscriber you can access the link free all this week, I believe. It’s worth a read.

Rail checked out three German beer styles that some (not I) feel are vanishing or just now being revived. He starts with Berliner Weisse, the sparkling wheat beer from Berlin with the sour, lactic edge, usually served with fruit syrup.

Kolsch glass in Koln, GermanNext stop Koln or, as we in the English-speaking world call it, Cologne, for a taste of Kolsch, the malty, delicious ale that has been brewed in Cologne for centuries. Personally, Kolsch ranks among the finest beers I’ve ever tasted. Lots of malt with a drying finish, layers of faint malt sweetness lingering.

Then Rail moves on to Leipzig for a taste of a beer that I’ve never tasted: Gose. He describes it as a deep orange color, spiced with salt and coriander. The style lapsed when Leipzig was inside the Iron Curtain, but has been revived. I checked a little further and found this article from the Campaign for Real Ale’s What’s Brewing by Michael Jackson, the English beer guru.

Michael points out that like Kolsch, it’s an ale with its fruity, warming notes, not a traditional German lager. He also traces Gose’s origins to a village not far from Leipzig a thousand years earlier and compares it to the Lambic beers of Belgium. Anyway, sounds like a beer to try.

Finally, Rail, the New York Times journalist, travels on to Bamberg to taste the wonders of rauchbier, a beer made from malt smoked over a wood fire. The style varies from lightly smoked to dark beers with a barbecue intensity.

In my humble opinion – to use a Net cliche – Alaskan Smoked Porter**** equals an German rauchbier I’ve ever tasted. You can find out more about rauchbier here and here.

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