Year of the Beer Day 30: Alt-Bamberg Urstoff

alt bamberg urstoff

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…….. 😉

FLFI 500 beer


Year of the Beer Day 29: Keiler Land-Pils

keiler landpils

Awhile back, a German friend of mine, who is also an avid beer drinker, asked me why I was focusing on the popular market brands- esp. for the pilsener, like Jever, Radeberger and Warsteiner- when I should focus on the local beer brands. And with that, he tipped me with a beer outlet shop where I could find these brands that cannot be found at a normal supermarket. Stopping there, I found the tip to be useful, as there were many local brands that are difficult to find anywhere in a German store.

And this includes this pilsener in this marathon: The Keiler Landpils. Even though the brewery is part of the Würzburger Hofbrau consortium, the Lohr/Main-based brewery is very local, but has a unique history that includes the boar himself. Founded in 1836, the Stumpf family took over the business in 1878 and it remained family-owned until it became part of the consortium in 2001. The boar logo has to do with the slogan “Das feine Gespür für ein saugutes Bier.” Especially the word sau, because that stands for wild boar, which one can find in heavily forested areas in central and southern Germany. Sau has several meanings, most of them quite degrading, to put to diplomatically, yet it can also serve as a stress enhancer, when saying “saugut,” for example. This means purely good. And whoever chose the slogan and the wild boar, must have studied German linguistics and found a creative way to market it through.  “Saugut gemacht, muss ich darüber sagen!” ❤ 😀

As far as the landpils is concerned, there is not really much of a difference between that and a normal pilsener except for the hops content, which is only a percentage point higher. In either case, it was interesting to see how it tastes in comparison with the pilsener I’ve tried so far.

Appearance:  The Landpils has the characteristics similar to the pilsener, where it has a very clear gold color and a very persistent head. It has very lively carbonation count and it terms of taste, the body is not quite full but more than average- in the middle, in other words.

Aroma: The aroma of the beer was fairly present and well balanced between sweet and sharp. The aroma has a bread-like malt and earth hops, but the balance creates the impression that the aroma is quite nice, when opening the bottle for the first time.

Flavor and taste: Again, the ingredients of the landpils is similar to the normal pilsener, with grain and bread malt as well as earth and herbal hops. However, thanks to the higher concentration of hops, it created a well-thorough balance, which is neither bitter nor sweet, but quite hearty. Because of its strong intensity, the taste is really nice. Even more so because of its medium body, the beer had a warming feel to it, tasting mild and mouth-watering. It is as if the water content is higher than in normal beers, but with a higher content of hops and barley, making it a very enjoyable beer to drink. This might be the difference between the landpils and the pils, however, there may be other points to look at too, especially when trying other landpils. But….

Grade: 1,3/ A: …..the Keiler beer landspils is definitely a “saugutes” beer worth trying for sure. It is a well-balanced beer with a touch more of hops making it stand out among other pilseners. A fresh beer with good craftmansship that one only needs to travel to northern Bavaria to try. The brewery also has a restaurant in Lohr, where it is marketed exclusively. And I believe they also serve wild boar in many dishes. 😉  The beer is rarely sold on the market, finding it at exclusive beverage stores (Getränkemärkte), including this bottle I bought for trying. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the most local of beers have the best taste, and this one stands out as one of the most locals of beers. Yet, its taste makes the person want to have another bottle or another beer type brewed by Keiler.

To close, Keiler Beer is really a “saugutes Bier,” giving Germany its prestigious reputation for a good beer- local, standing out among the rest, and really good tasting.  I think I owe my friend a good “saugutes Bier” for the tip. I already have this on my to do list. 😉

You can find and like Keiler Beer on facebook, by clicking here. Enjoy! 🙂

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