A long lost high school friend John found my blog the other day. He’s a Germanophile who’s lived in the country numerous times over the last decade and even has his own–far more successful than my own, damn him!–blog in which he pokes fun at the culture there. It’s a good read, I highly recommend it. Thus, John–who was actually in German class with me in school come to think of–was a bit aggrieved to see I only had reviewed three German beers.
He’s right to feel that way as Germany is maybe the most significant beer country in the world, producing and drinking both the 2nd most beer in the world. Having said that, and I hope the beer gods don’t hit me with a lightening bolt, but I find German beer kinda…well, kinda boring. I’d almost always rather explore Belgian and American beers.
Don’t get me wrong, any time I have a top shelf German beer, it is always without question good. It’s just, as a whole, German beers are kinda bland to my palate. I think it has to do with their whole Reinheitsgebot beer purity laws which state that beers can literally only be made with water, hops, barley, and yeast. I admire them for sticking with these recipes for so long, but I’m an adventurer and I like novelty in all aspects of my life. I like beers made with figs and bananas and oak-barreled and all sorts of other weird shit. Sometimes these beers are failures, often their successes. With German beers I know what I’m getting–usually a doppelbock or a hefeweizen, not exactly my two favorite styles–but with American beers, I feel like there’s so many things to explore. And, that excites me. Imagine only being allowed to use steak and potatoes to make a meal. Sure it could be great, but it gets boring after awhile.
Also, German beers have such long, cumbersome, vowel-laden names that you can never remember your favorites to reference later. “I think I like that one with nine e’s that ends with ‘er.'” There’s a reason the dreadful Beck’s is the best selling German beer in America. It’s the only one we can remember. Also, German beers have boring labels that all look the same. Again, making it difficult to recall which is your favorite for later purchase. It’s easier to just stick with American or Belgium beers that have cool name (Arrogant Bastard, Delirium Tremens, etc) and awesome labels.
I asked John to tell me his favorite German beers and I’d review them in his honor, but before he had a chance to email me back a response I went across the street to my supermarket for dinner and happened to notice that they had only one German beer–and I mean “real” German beer, I’m not counting St. Pauli Girl–stocked. Fittingly, it was from Weihenstephaner, the oldest brewery in the world dating back to 1040. That’s amazing.
This is one of the most fragrant hefes I’ve ever grabbed, very yeasty smelling. The lacing just sticks to the sides of the glass, it’s very impressive. Very tasteful too, creamy, buttery, taste of bananas. Of course, tons of wheat and malt too. A bit more carbonation than I’m used to in more American style hefes but this is a classic no doubt. A standard bearer for hefes. I typically enjoy stronger, more potent and more complex beers, but its hard to find much to complain about regarding this one. Maybe I should drink German brews more often.