Thursday, February 27, 2014

Return to the German Real Ale

Back in Germany for a flying visit last month, I had the chance to try one of the beers I left behind last time, and another bottle, the gift of a generous friend from Berlin. My tasting notes follow:

Hopfenstopfer, Citra: You can smell the fruit a mile away in this light, almost colorless but cloudy pale ale, brewed in Bad Rappenau, which pours with a frisky but ephemeral head. The aroma may be of lime and tangerine, the sweet rather than tangy fruit, but the first taste is surprisingly tart. Thereafter it's mildly sweet, almost to the extent of being watery. Ripe and bland orange leads to a brief pithy bitterness, but it doesn't really stick around or leave much of an impression. (I may be being unfair, because we were eating very spicy food when we tasted this.) Even if there was nothing to write home about on the evidence of this glass, the beer does have a delightful smell, and it would be a perfectly pleasant session ale if we discovered it in a pub in Baden-W├╝rttemberg one night.

Fritz Ale, IPA (5.8%): This real ale brewed in Bonn is a dull amber, cloudy drink with a buttery head with slight yellowish tinge. It's an unfiltered beer, and we drank it without really giving it time to settle, so full disclosure I may not be doing it justice in this report. Grapefruit, honey and elderflower are all evident in a very strong aroma, and while a cheeky sparkle overwhelms the light citrus in the first taste, a lovely pithy bitterness and zesty orange hit hard in the mouth, and a deceptively gentle grapefruit pith lingers on the swallow. The beer washes down relatively smoothly, despite a hint of crushed pits and lemon-flesh that doesn't go away. As served this is a 4* India pale ale; I suspect that if we'd let it settle properly we'd be looking at a keeper. I'll look out for and try this one again.

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