Year of the Beer Day 6: St. Marienthal Dark Beer

StM Leipzig

Day six, which corresponds to the Day of Epiphany. After a pair of disappointments involving beer tasting, I decided to try a local beer that has a Kloster appeal, answering the question of whether other breweries may have followed Martin Luther’s advice on a good quality beer that is good for the mind and soul. 🙂

The St. Marienthal Klosterbräu beer was established in 1557, about the same time as Luther’s presention of his thesis. Located in a small town of Ostritz, the brewery was famous for the crafting of its St. M dark and light beer, each of which has a sweet aroma but a mild bitter taste. Part of that has to do with the amount of hops added in the content. With the exception of the nationalization of the brewery, being part of the VEB Brewery Bautzen during the Cold War era, the St. Marienthal brewery remained an individual brewery until 1998, when the Eibauer Brewery, located in Zittau in eastern Saxony, bought the company and relocated it to its main headquarters. Despite this, the brands are still being crafted but at a different location.

I had bought a St. M beer for tasting purposes while visiting the Leipzig Christmas market in December, even though I had bought a couple extra bottles as Christmas gifts. Sadly, as I was heading home by train, the Regional Bahn raced around the curve, knocking over my bike with the beer in there! Despite them being wrapped, one of the beers broke and made a mess, but the others were spared, one of which was the Dunkelbier- dark beer in English. That beer was saved until the special occasion, which was the Day of Epiphany- the day where the three wise men followed the bright star to the stall to see Baby Jesus.  A beer like this has to fit an occasion like this, right?

If the Lord was here, He would bless this beer after trying it Himself. 😉 While we’ll discuss more about the dark beer and its difference with the black beer, the St. M dark beer had a dark brown color but with a rather dull clearness. Yet unlike the last two beers, the head (foam) was fairly good with some carbonation, thus giving it the impression of it being a good beer.  In fact…..

Aroma and Flavor: It is unknown what type of hops were used in the dark beer, but the aroma and the flavor appeared to be different with this beer. The aroma had a sweet appeal as the malt aroma seemed to be sweet and the hops used seemed to be a citrus type. In either case, the smell of the beer was rather sweet and nice and the intensity of the aroma was strong, which makes it appealing for those who elect to have a beer with a mild but sweet aroma.

The flavor of the beer, however, is different from the aroma. While the intensity was really strong, the beer tasted mild but leaning towards the astringent side as the malt flavor had a combination of a nut and toast taste with a dash of grain and coffee. It appeared by the taste that the hops used in the ingredients were earthy and herbal. This leads to the question of whether or not it is possible that the aroma and flavor of a beer can be different. This is something that warrants some inquiries and research. In either case the intensity of the flavor was mild, which makes the beer a mild brand worth drinking.

When drinking the beer, it appears that the balance is fairly even between sweet and bitter, having a really fresh taste, having a full body, leaving a long coating on the mouth and making the drinker linger longer with the beverage. In either case, thanks to a great craftmanship, the beer has kept to its ingredients despite the brewery being owned by another larger one. One does not seen many of these successes as a result of mergers and acquisitions these days, however, if the conglomerate is willing to keep a product alive that is liked by locals and people visiting the region, then they are willing to do anything possible to ensure that the recipe for a good beer, which has been used since 1557, is kept exactly the same, even if one has to pay 10 cents more for a bottle.

Grade: 1,3/ A : The St. Marienthal Klosterbräu beer is one of many beers a person will find when visiting Saxony, especially in the vicinity of Leipzig and the Ore Mountains, that is highly recommended. While some supermarket beers have become a disappointment because of the obsession of quantity of sales instead of the quality of the taste, the St. M is one where if a person as a spare dime for use, it is worth the taste. While beer can cleanse the mind upon consumption, if one goes by Martin Luther’s arguments, they can be the subject of great conversation over dinner or chat with your friends and family. This is one of them.

Therefore, on the eighth day, God created beer and it was blessed before served. And the people were happy! 🙂  Prost!

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