Vier Vogel Pils

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

The final beer from my recent trip to Germany, it’s only taken me a month to get this review posted. This one follows on from the last beer I reviewed here, Ratsherrn Pale Ale and is only my second ever German craft beer. Like that one, this is another beer I was given as a gift from my friend who picked up a bottle in Dresden for me. From what I can gather the beer only seems to be available in a couple of stores dotted around Dresden so it’s not one I’m likely to ever find again but it was one that I was looking forward to before cracking the bottle open since nobody does pilsners like the Germans (well except the Czechs anyway).

Vier Vogel Pils

Appearance (3/5): Pale and cloudy looking with a light yellow appearance that bordered on straw. There was a small, one centimetre tall head that held fairly well though.
Aroma (6/10): Light and subdued on the nose, there wasn’t really anything to grab your attention other than some pale malts and touches of sweetness. I could detect some light citrus and lemon with grassy hops starting to come through around the middle but overall the beer was fairly week on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Lots of citrus, mainly lemon come through in the taste of this one and thankfully it is a lot more pronounced than the nose was. There is some good pilsner style malts and grassy hops coming through, I got some faint sweetness as well and the beer definitely seemed quite fresh.
Palate (4/5): Quite smooth, light bodied and fresh with a lively feel from the ample carbonation and touches of fizz. The citrus gave the beer a nice tang to it and it was very easy-going, almost seeming like a radler at times.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad effort and again another nice change up for a German pilsner but like the bottle of Ratsherrn Pale Ale I reviewed last I wouldn’t consider this one a classic or one I’d seek out again. It was always going to be hard to take a German lager and make it better and to be honest this one failed with some much better beers of the style out there that I’d rather pick up before this one. Again it was nice to try another genuine German craft beer but on this evidence it seems that their mass-produced beers are better.

Brewed In: Bremen, Germany
Brewery: Vier Vogel
First Brewed: 2013
English Name: Four Bird Pils
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dresden, Germany
Price: Gift

Ratsherrn Pale Ale

August 27, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.45

My penultimate beer from my recent trip to Germany now, this one being my first true craft beer from the country. I received this bottle as a gift from a friend I met up with in Germany who managed to pick me up this and another bottle or German craft beer whilst in Dresden a few days before we met up. The beer itself if actually brewed in Hamburg, a place I was still due to visit upon receiving this but as it turned out it was not a beer that I spotted at any point in the city with the like of Jever and Paulaner dominating the market. I sampled this one at my hostel in Bremen towards the end of my trip and it is definitely one I’m glad I got to try, it’s amazing how hard it is to find craft beers in a country so famous for the quality of their beers; I’ll need to do my best to find some more like this when I’m back in the country early next year.
Ratsherrn Pale Ale
Appearance (4/5): A light, clear amber colour with lots of visible carbonation and a huge head that holds well at about two inches tall, leaving a fair amount of lacing on the glass as well.
Aroma (6/10): Medium strength pine hops with a mainly citrus aroma that features some spice and quite a fresh smell overall. There is some bitterness and the beer actually seems like a watered down version of an American pale ale on the nose; interesting stuff so far.
Taste (6/10): Light pine initially with some medium strength citrus and American style hops, there is some faint malts that give the beer some sweetness as well. I could detect further hops and bitterness towards the end but in truth the beer wasn’t the most pronounced, it was enjoyable though.
Palate (4/5): Quite smooth on the palate with some fizz on top of what would be considered medium carbonation. There is some dry touches towards the end with a solid bitterness accompanying this.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad offering for my first German craft beer, it was certainly different from all the other beers I managed to try on my recent trip to the country and it was a beer that went down fairly well without really excelling. There was some nice hops coming through and a decent enough amount of bitterness as a result but I couldn’t help but feel that it seems a little too much like a watered down version of an American pale ale. Enjoyable and easy to drink whilst sitting in the sun but I doubt it would be one I’ll have again.

Brewed In: Bremen, Germany
Brewery: Ratsherrn Brauerei
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Dresden, Germany
Price: Gift

Duckstein Weizen Cuvee

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

The last beer that I tried on the Hamburg leg of my trip to Germany last month, this one from the Mecklenburgische Brauerei Lübz in the north of the country. I spotted Duckstein Weizen a number of times whilst in both Berlin and Hamburg recently but for the most part I opted for other beers over this one until I found myself in a Hamburg cafe with no other beers on the menu that I hadn’t already tried. The beer is seemingly available throughout the north of Germany but I can’t say it is a beer I had spotted in the UK or one that I’d even heard of before my recent trip so I’m not entirely sure how far this one travels and I’m glad I eventually got around to trying it. This one will go down as the 96th different beer from Germany that I’ve reviewed here and gets me one step closer to that magic number 100 although I’m not sure it’s rank as one of the beer of the 96 so far, that being said it wasn’t a bad beer at all.
Duckstein Hefeweiss

Appearance (4/5): Orange to slightly darker than average amber with a cloudy and thin head that was a lot smaller that is normal for the style, sitting at just under a centimetre tall but managing to hold well.
Aroma (6/10): Lots of banana and clove to kick things off with, there is some wheat and plenty of bubblegum coming through too. I could detect some sweetness to this beer although the aroma wasn’t the most pronounced.
Taste (6/10): Wheat and bubblegum come through in the taste with some clove from the nose as well. I got a lot of citrus and banana coming through but like the nose the taste is quite light and it also seems a touch bland in places; not a bad tasting beer as such but it’s not one of the better hefeweizens either.
Palate (3/5): Smooth and quite sweet for the style with some of the background fruits seemingly accounting for this. The beer was medium bodied but as I’ve already mentioned it also proved to be quite bland and unexciting too.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a poor hefeweizen which was particularly surprising since it was a German beer, on-tap in Germany but it just didn’t come up to scratch when compared to so many others of the style out there. Whilst falling short of being a bad or undrinkable beer, it was bland and unimaginative with only the strong bubblegum and banana flavours seeming like positives. I would probably give this one a miss in future and stick with the likes of Paulaner or Erdinger since they seem to always be available when this one is in Germany.

Brewed In: Lübz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
Brewery: Mecklenburgische Brauerei Lübz
First Brewed: Brewery since 1877
Type: German Hefeweizen
Abv: 5.7%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Oma’s Apotheke, Hamburg, Germany
Price: €3.90 (approx. £3.12)

Haake Beck Pils

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.5

One of the last few beers I managed to try in Germany last month and one that also happened to be my first new beer of the trip as well as one of my last. Haake Beck Pils is surprisingly my fifth beer from the Beck’s brewery based in Bremen and I managed to try this one on-tap in a Bremen beer garden by the river were I could see the Beck brewery in the distance from, you don’t get much closer to the source than that. I first tried the beer on the train from Bremen to Berlin on my first day of the trip and didn’t really spot it again until I was back in Bremen on my final night, presumably because the beer only seems to be popular in the local Bremen area in contrast to both Beck’s and Beck’s Gold which seem to be available all over German. This was the first new beer from the brewery I’ve tried in about three years, it seemed to be one I was picking up beers from fairly easily early on but given the fact that none of them (except perhaps Beck’s Gold) were any good it’s only natural that I’ve tried to avoid them ever since.
Haake Beck Pils

Appearance (3/5): A clear, light amber colour with a thumb-sized, bubbly white head on top with average retention and some touches of lace left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): This one had a fairly basic lager aroma to it, there was also some skunk which wasn’t exactly pleasing. I could detect some light malts and a few grassy hops plus hints of citrus but to be honest there wasn’t a whole lot going on with this one and it was fairly forgettable too.
Taste (4/10): Clean on the taste buds but not all that appealing or interesting, there was some grassy hops coming through similar to those that featured on the nose, some basic lager malts appeared as well and a faint bitterness is also present. The beer was fairly bland and even watery in areas with little to keep me interested.
Palate (3/5): Smooth on the palate but also quite watery and bland in places. The beer was crisp and clean tasting with some faint bitterness in the background and a dryness towards the end as well but it was also quite weak.

Overall (8/20): This one was a really poor beer by German standard and part of the reason I do my best to avoid macro pale lagers whenever possible, this one was bland and unexciting with a basic lager taste and some off-putting skunky aromas early one. Not enjoyable throughout and one that I’d suggest you avoid, I know I will be in future.

Brewed In: Bremen, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Beck & Co.
First Brewed: Brewery since 1873
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Draught (500ml)
Purchased: Feldmann’s Bierhaus, Bremen, Germany
Price: €4.20 (approx. £3.36)

The Kernel Pale Ale Mosaic Zeus

August 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

It’s been a while since I last picked up a beer from The Kernel, I almost grabbed one a couple of weeks ago but in the end went for Buxton Ace Edge at the last minute so this one is long overdue. This Mosaic Zeus pale ale from the London based brewery is a new one launched in earlier in the summer and will be my fourteenth beer from them, all but one of which have been either an IPA or American pale ale; their Bière De Table saison being the odd one out. I enjoy the fact that it is not very often that you spot the same Kernel beer twice down to the fact that the brewery seems to be big on brewing the vast majority of their beers on either a one-off or rotation basis so it means that thisn’t one that I’m likely to spot again for quite some time so I’m going to enjoy it while I can and am already looking forward to my next beer from the brewery.
The Kernel Pale Ale Mosaic Zeus

Appearance (4/5): A hazy golden colour with a thumb-sized, foamy white head that holds very well over the opening few minutes. The beer leaves a touch of lacing on the glass and looks pretty good, my only concern is that it is perhaps a touch light in colour.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fruity on the nose with a strong citrus presence and plenty of grapefruit backing it up. I could detect some pine and orange coming through along with some solid bitterness and tropical fruit notes. Lively and fresh smelling on the nose, I’m looking forward to trying this one.
Taste (7/10): Matching the nose well, this one has a strong citrus taste initially with a lot of tropical fruits and pine coming through straight after. There is plenty of bitterness to this one, offset with some sweetness and light malts that follow. Very fruity throughout but it’s the citrus and bitter pine that seem to dominate.
Palate (4/5): This one was bitter as I was expecting, there was a juicy feel to it as well though and it was more refreshing that I was expecting. The body of this one was medium with average carbonation and a dry feel towards the end.

Overall (15/20): Another enjoyable beer from The Kernel, I’m struggling to think of a bad one from them with their IPA’s and American pale ales always going down well. I was particularly pleased with how refreshing and tropical the beer tasted, the fact it wasn’t overly strong in the alcohol department also went some way to helping it go down easily. Whilst I enjoyed it a lot I would say it fell just short of some of the previous beers from the brewery that I’ve picked up over the years but that’s more to do with how high they’ve set the bar than to do with anything negative with this beer.

Brewed In: London, England
Brewery: The Kernel Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £3.60

Berliner Pilsner

August 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

Back to Germany again now and another beer that I tried for the first time whilst in Berlin last month, this one a local beer in the truest sense of the word with this one actually being brewed in Berlin; naturally given the name of the beer. This will be my second review of a beer from the Berliner Kindl Schultheiss brewery and one that follows on from the bottle of Berliner Kindl Weisse that I reviewed here last year, although I did manage to try another couple of the breweries beers whilst in Germany but never got the chance to review anymore of them. This one was a fairly average German style pilsner and one that I seemed to pick up most of the time because there wasn’t else on offer in certain bars, most of the time when grabbing a bottle to drink on the street I opted for something more adventurous. Still this one was by no means a bad beer, it’s just that Germany has many better ones I would rather be drinking.

Berliner Pilsner

Appearance (3/5): A clear golden colour that boarders on straw with a foamy white head about a thumbs-width tall. Retention is okay with the head managing to hold for a few minutes with some light lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Light lager malts but it was quite faint on the nose really. I could detect some subtle hops and a few grassy notes as well as some bitterness lingering in the background but in truth it could have used a little extra or at least something different to grab your attention.
Taste (6/10): Light bitterness in the taste that manages to match the nose well, there is some grassy flavours and a basic lager malt backing. Again this beer could have benefited from being a little stronger but the taste was at least an easy-going on but it definitely wasn’t a stand out German lager.
Palate (4/5): Light and fairly smooth, the beer was semi-bitter with a fairly inoffensive mouthfeel that bordered on bland in places. The finish was a dry one and the beer was quite crisp throughout with a clean feel to it.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad lager but definitely not a great one and not exactly worth trying when you compare it to the countless other German lagers out there that I would rate much higher than this one. The beers biggest asset was how easy it was to drink but it was a fairly boring beer in the long run with the taste and smell both seeming a little weak and uninteresting. Worth a try if you’re in Berlin, mainly because you can’t avoid the stuff but this one was a fairly forgettable beer without being a bad one.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery:  Berliner Kindl Schultheiss Brauerei
First Brewed: Brewery since 1872
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Draught (500ml)
Purchased: Zum Elefanten, Berlin, Germany
Price: €3.00 (approx. £2.39)

Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale (264 of 1001)

August 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

My 264th beer from the 1001 beers list now and one that I first spotted in Tesco a few months ago but put off buying because I wasn’t sure if it featured on the 1001 list or not. The beer was labelled in the store as “Strong Suffolk Dark Ale” but in the book (and what I’ll go with here) it was known as Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale. Upon closer inspection the label did mention it was a vintage ale so satisfied I picked up a bottle to give it a try. The beer itself is brewed by Greene King in Bury St. Edmund and is actually a mix of two of their other beers, neither of which is available to buy individually although I do believe some people have been lucky enough to try them on visits to the brewery (this information may be slightly outdated as I believe others have been able to try the beer at a few beer festivals in recent years as well). The first beer used in the blend is Greene King’s Old 5X which is an old ale brewed to 12% abv. and has been used in a few of the brewery’s beers over the years. After primary fermentation the Old 5X is then aged for at least a year, usually around 2, in on of the brewery’s turn stores. The other beer used in the mix is BPA (Burton Pale Ale) which is a dark and malty offering brewed to about 5% abv. and is another that is hard to sample of its own. Despite not being a huge seller by Greene King standard it appears to be one they are committed to making and as such I’m looking forward to trying it, at the very least it’s another one from the 1001 Beers list I can mark off anyway.

Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale

Appearance (3/5): Chestnut brown, clear bodied and topped with a centimetre tall, fine bubbly head that is a light brown colour and fades to a thin, very slightly patchy lacing after about forty seconds or so.
Aroma (8/10): Quite sweet to start with a lot of dark and ripe fruits, some sugar as well to accompany them. There is a rich smell to this one with some figs coming through with some dates, musky notes and caramel malts with some toffee too. Like I said, this one is very sweet one the nose without overpowering and there is some bread in there too, not to mention a touch of vanilla and maybe even some very faint hops towards the end.
Taste(7/10): Following on from the nose with a lot of sweetness coming through from the sugar as well as the fruits that includes raisin and figs. There is some vanilla in there as well that seems a little stronger than it did in the nose, as do the hops that start to come through around the middle but neither manages to dominate. There is some toffee and caramel malts in there as well with some oak and butterscotch to round things off.
Palate (3/5): Rich and very sweet with a smooth, medium body and light carbonation. The beer is quite complex and rich with an ever so slightly bitter finish.

Overall (13/20): This one started very well with a lot of sweetness and various fruits and held up well right until then end when it started to fade ever so slightly. Not a bad beer at all but it falls short of being a great one and as such I doubt it’s one I’d go back to in future.

Brewed In: Bury St. Edmunds, England
Brewery: Greene King Brewery
Also Known As: Strong Suffolk Dark Ale
Name in United States: Olde Suffolk English Ale
Full Name: Greene King Abbot Ale
First Brewed: circa. 1980s
Type: Old Ale
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.79

Categories: Old Ale Tags: , , , , , ,
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