Day 30 of the beer tasting marathon takes us to Franconia in northern Bavaria, and in particular, Bamberg. Located on the River Regnitz south of its confluence with the River Main, north of Nuremberg, Bamberg is famous for its cathedral and old town, both of which are listed as the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The town hall is located on a stone arch bridge that is almost a thousand years old.
And just as old as the old town itself, is the tradition of beer-making itself, which has make the city famous. The first records show barley juice being produced in 1039. That same year, the priest (Domherr) Udaricus died but left a will declaring that at the time of his death and for all time to come, the people of Bamberg would be granted access to beer for no cost. This embrace of beer the people Bamberg could afford because of the town’s location in the hilly fields where the Main and Regnitz rivers meet. There, farmers could plant and harvest as much barley and hops as needed to make a good beer for the town and the surrounding area to enjoy. As many as 73 breweries had sprung up in Bamberg by 1817 crafting several kinds of beer. This also includes the Rauchbier- smoked beer, whose history and profile will come later in the series. When visiting Bamberg, one should visit the Franconian Beer Museum (Dt.: Fränkische Brauerei Museum) to look at the history of beer in Bamberg and how it has become a popular drink to date.
And this takes us to one of many beers from the Bamberg series that will be profiled, the Alt Bamberg Urstoff. The Alt Bamberg Brewery is the youngest company in business and one of the youngest in Germany, having been established in 2011. Located in the center of Bamberg, the brewery crafts eight different sorts of beer, including this one , the Urstoff. As mentioned briefly in the Ökopils from Rother, whenever one sees the word Ur, then it is made of pure ingredients. Yet the difference between an Ur-bier and an Ökobier is debatable, which we will look into later.
Looking at the Urstoff, it does have some characteristics of a classic lager, with its clear copper color and persistent head, but the beer has a mild to herbal taste to it as when drinking it, it had the flavors of grain, and caramel malt plus a floral hops, thus having an strong flavor but a warming and mouthcoating sensation when drinking it. The beer has a good freshness to it and its carbination is lively. The only caveat to this beer is its aroma, which was very faint to almost non-existent when opening the bottle. If there was an aroma to it, then a slight touch of grain malt and earth hops, thus having a neutral smell. Normally, if the aroma does not exist or is faint, then one can assume the beer will not taste good at all. But in the case of the Urstoff, the mild, herbal taste does compensate for that, good enough to earn the grade the author gave it after tasting it.
Grade: 1,7/ A- The Alt Bamberg Urstoff beer is one of many beers a person will find in the city, and one that is highly recommended drinking while visiting. Its mild and herbal taste makes it perfect for the local specialties but also alone when drinking it for enjoyment. Despite its lack of aroma, the beer does raise some questions that will be answered as the taste-testing marathon continues: 1. How many other beers from the Bamberg series are there and are they as good or better than this one, and 2. How do the beers from Bamberg stand out against the ones tried so far and those that will be tasted, such as the ones in Saxony, Munich, Hamburg and parts of Thuringia, Lower Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. One cannot know unless one tries and compares.
So without further ado, I shall go on to the next beer, which is…….. 😉