Showing posts with label klosterbrauerai neuzelle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label klosterbrauerai neuzelle. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Tipsy Terrace Tasting

One of the most pressing things to get done this week before moving on was polishing off the varied beers still sitting around Mrs Velkyal and I's flat. My problem though was how to do it? I had basically three options:

  1. sell them
  2. give them away
  3. drink them

Admittedly I did give a few bottles away. However, I decided that the most prudent way of dealing with the situation was to drink them, but better to gather a few friends keen to try different beers from around Europe and introduce them to some of these delights. Thus it was that last night I went round to my good friend place to sit on his expansive balcony with another couple of guys and attempt to get through 25 beers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Scotland, England and Denmark.

Unfortunately we only managed to get through 14 of the beers, some pictures of which grace this post.

There was however one other beer on the list which I wanted the guys to try, the uninfected, though wildly over-carbonated, version of my Skippy Porter. I had previously only tried this beer with Evan Rail, who was very complimentary about it even though it erupted all over his kitchen floor. This time I was prepared, and opened the bottle in a flower pot, without flowers of course. Once again Skippy was a hit, with the guys saying it was one their favourite beers of the night, the smooth chocolate flavours I was aiming for were right up there, and the Fuggles bitterness was just right to add some bite. I initially thought that I wouldn't be brewing this beer very often, but given the reaction it gets I think I will have to simply refine the recipe and start making it in preparation for winter. I am finding now that I get more pleasure from my friends enjoying my beer than hoarding it all to myself in some attempt to save money on beer.

Thankfully I know that Mark and his family will be in the States for a few months at the end of the year, so our beer tasting will no doubt be repeated, hopefully with the added bonus of a couple of bottles of Strahov's Autumn Dark Special! On the menu already for when we sit on the patio in our new place will be my planned American style IPA loaded with Amarillo hops, also some more Skippy Porter as well as my first Irish Red Ale, tentatively called Mrs Velkyal's Red Hat.

Every prospect pleases!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From East to West

A few days before Saruman pitched up in Prague, I went through my Little Cellar to pull out various beers I wanted to try, and that I wanted him to try. Not to mention drawing up a mental list of pubs and lagers that I wanted him to try. The reason being that he had admitted to not being much of a lager fan, and given that the available selection when Mrs Velkyal and I were in Ireland was pretty dire, I decided that the issue needed to be addressed.

As well as the golden lagers that I wanted him try, I decided that it would be interesting to do a taste comparison of the Baltic Porters sitting in my flat, of which I had the following:

In deciding with order to drink them in, we went for the east to west option, so obviously we started with the Russian Baltika 6.

Whilst not the strongest by any means in terms of alcohol, at 7% ABV, this was certainly the sweetest and most cloying - my initial reaction was to think if this is a standard Baltic Porter then this is a style that I would not be drinking very often. I also think the lack of carbonation helped to make it feel almost like watered down treacle. As Goldilocks might have put it, this one is too sweet!

Next up was Krajan Porter, and this one is a big hitter on the alcohol front at a whopping 9.5%ABV! For a beer with so much booze in it, I was surprised at how easy it was to drink, very smooth and a treat for me was the distinct liquorice flavours that abound - yes Bertie Bassett is one of my best friends! Certainly a step up from the Baltika in my book.

Finally coming to the Neuzeller Porter from Germany, which is slightly stronger than the Baltika 6 at 7.2%ABV, but a completely different beast in my book, and was almost like Christmas cake - lots of dark maltiness, with a dose of fruitiness and a nice alcoholic after glow. Have that cake with a good strong coffee and you are in the right ballpark when it comes to this beer. What makes this stand out from the other Baltic Porters we tried was that it was very smooth, even silky.

For both of us the Neuzeller Porter was the one we liked the most, followed by Krajan and then the Baltika 6, hence the picture:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reinheitsge...not

I will say this openly and clearly, so that even those at the back can hear - I am a Germanophile. I guess a lot of that comes from having lived in a town called Celle when I was a kid, Dad was in the British Army so we got to live in loads of different places. I also like German culture, the music, the people (it is a total myth that Germans have no sense of humour, it is just really quirky), and of course the beer.

A couple of weekends ago Mrs Velkyal went off to Berlin for a trip with a colleague from the school she works in, while I spent 4 days drinking a bit too much, watching Liverpool and generally bimbling about wondering what to do with myself - the first 36 hours are usually ok but then I get bored and tetchy waiting for her to come home. When she got home she presented my with a few bottles of beer, one of which was the Neuzeller Schwarzer Abt you can see in the picture. The observant among you will have noticed that I currently have some Neuzeller Porter in the cellar, which will be used in a comparative tasting of various Baltic Porters in the near future. Mrs Velkyal however didn't remember this and bought the Schwarzer Abt on the strength that she liked the label!

At only 3.9%ABV, I had certain expectations in mind. Dark lager, not too strong, therefore bits of coffee and caramel, nice clean aftertaste and a medium body. Boy was I wrong in style, apart from the dark bit, which it was - ruby red with a big fluffy head that hung around for the duration. The nose was very much coffee, although backed up with some floral notes. Tastewise was where I was most spectacularly wrong, lots of caramel and toffee sweetness, with a just the slightest hint of bitter chocolate chucked in for good measure, and lots of body, although for my tastes a bit too syrupy. This is a big beer hiding behind a small ABV, a session beer with gonads you might say.

From what I have been told by the guys at Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle, Schwarzer Abt is one of those German beers which would have all the Reinheitsgebot freaks tearing their hair out, whether on their head or on the end of their chiny chin chin. Why? Because here is a German beer which uses sugar for a portion of the fermentables! Shock, horror, German beer not sticking to Reinheitsgebot! But you know at the end of the day the key question is very simple, is it a good beer? Yes it is in Schwarzer Abt's case, a decidedly good beer, which would be ideal with a sticky toffee pudding and ice cream to round off a feast - thinking here large amounts of game being eaten straight off the spit in a dark hall, log fire and busty serving wenches!

Note: yes I know Reinheitsgebot has been repealed.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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