The second day of the beer tasting marathon takes us to the city of Ulm, located on the Danube River at the border between Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg, and the city’s famous brewery, Golden Ox (Golden Ochsen). Founded by Gabriel Meyer in 1597, the brewery was originally located in the historic town center at Herdbruckerstrasse. After the changing of the guard, where the Schwiegger and Wieland families had control of the brewery, Johann Leibinger bought the business in 1867, and the brewery has been under control of the family ever since. Golden Ox has 17 different flavored beers, two of whom received international awards at the 2014 Beer World Cup in Denver, Colorado (USA): gold for the wheat ale beer and silver for the Oktoberfest beer.
One of the beers I tried on this day is the Kellerbier. Literally translated as cellar beer, a Kellerbier is one that has a cloudy (naturtrüb) appearance, thanks in part to the bread yeast and other vitamins that are in the beer. But more importantly, the beer is usually lagered in cellars at cool temperatures, thus allowing for fermentation to take place. The type of Kellerbier is based on how the beer is fermented. If the beer is fermented on top, it’s a Kellerweizen. If on the bottom, it’s a normal Kellerbier, also known as Zwickelbier.
While the flavors of the Kellerbier vary based on brand, the one by Gold Ox was one of the liveliest of the beer types I’ve drunk during the 17 years residing in Germany. While the Kellerbier is usually between copper and gold, the Gold Ox has a gold color with a cloudy appearance- typical of Kellerbier types, the intensity of the flavor and aroma of the beer was especially strong, as the beer has a herb flavor, deprived of hops and grain in addition to vitamins and other ingredients added to the beer. The beer leaves a bitter taste but one that has a full body and a warming sensation. The intensity of the beer is especially strong and the balance of the beer is more bitter than sweet, leaving a general impression that the beer has a hearty taste, but one that a person can enjoy.
Grade and Comment: A+/ 1,0 The Gold Ox Kellerbier is not only a textbook example of a typical Kellerbier but also one that has received lots of care when crafted. The flavor and aroma is of high quality and the beer has a fresh taste as a result. Unlike the Oettinger beer, the Gold Ox beer is sold locally, not only in Ulm but in other regions in Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria. The concentration on local regions has enabled the brewery to focus on the quality of its 17 types of beers, thus encouraging tourists in the region to try the beer out. It does have similar resemblance to the Schell brewery and its types of beers produced and sold in New Ulm and other parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Because Ulm/ Neu-Ulm in Germany and New Ulm in Minnesota are related in many ways, it would not be surprising if both breweries have learned from each other, especially when it comes to quality trumping quantity, even though Schell’s does not have the Reinheitsgebot (beer purity laws) in the United States. These are the breweries that have become successful as a result of this practice of less attention being more quality. When one focuses locally, a produce always becomes better, if not the best. The Gold Ox has that example, which if one wants to try the beer, visit Ulm in person or order it here. I would and I will again, as the Golden Ox belongs to one of the wonders of Ulm. 🙂