Year of the Beer Day 22: Radeberger Pilsner

radeberger pilsner

Here are some interesting facts about the Radeberger Pilsner to kick off Day 22 of the beer tasting marathon:

  1. When brewery was first founded in 1872 in the town of Radeberger, located near Dresden, it was the first brewery in Germany that exclusively crafted the pilsner. This was 30 years after the first pilsner in the world was brewed in Pilsen.
  2. The brewery was renamed the Radeberger Exportbrauerei in 1885 and started selling beer outside Germany.
  3. The pilsner was elevated to Chancellor’s brew by Otto von Bismarck in 1887, thus marking the pilsner’s rise to fame. It was later deemed the beer of choice by Frederick Augustus III, king of Saxony.
  4. In 1905, the pilsner was first exported to North America, making it one of the first German beers to reach the New World. Even the character Charlie Harper from the American TV series “Two and a Half Men,” loves the Radeberger.
  5. The Radeberger pilsner was the favorite drink of President Vladimir Putin during his KGB days in the 1980s.
  6. Despite being controlled by the East German government, the Radeberger Pilsner continued to be sold worldwide even after the Fall of the Wall in 1989.

2016, the 500th anniversary of the Purity Laws, the Radeberger Pilsner, one of the top 10 beers in Germany, is being put under the knife by the author to find out how it tastes. So how does the beer taste, despite its popularity?

At first, the Radeberger Pilsner had an attractive appearance, as it was light gold in color, clear and had a persistent head. It had a full body and low carbonation. Appealing to the drinker? Yes. However…..

Looking at the aroma and flavor, it was totally different, which made the beer rather disappointing. The aroma, which had a touch of earth hops and grain malt, was faint, even though the balance was good. However the flavor was intense on one hand, but really bitter on the other. There, despite having the same ingredients plus a bit of herbal hops, it left a chalky taste to it, giving the author the impression that there was more alcohol than needed and the water quality was hard but poor. Given the fact that Radeberger has acquired many breweries in the past two decades before being bought by Dr. Oetker, chances are likely that through the excessive changing of hands and other cost cutting measures, cheaper ingredients and practices were used to improve the quantity of the beer products and not the quality. As seen with Oettinger and Sachsengold, this can be potentially fatal in the long run as larger prescence does not necessarily mean better sales and a bigger fan base.

In simpler terms and as a word of advice after seeing the grade and my critique: Less means more. 😉

Grade: 2,7/ C+

Note: While the brewery has relocated to a larger facility, the original 1872 building is now a museum. A fellow American visited the museum a few years ago and you can see his tour and photos here. The brewery’s webpage can be found here.

FLFI 500 beer


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