Moving on from the UR-saalfelder, our next beer takes us to the Pearl of or Gateway to the Vogtland region in southeastern Thuringia, Greiz. With a population of 24,000 inhabitants, the town is entrenched deep in the valley of the White Elster River and has a castle overlooking the town, a neighboring city gardens, and a town center backed into the steep cliffs. The town also has its own brewery bearing its name. Founded in 1872 by the industrialist Karl Gottlieb Weber, the merchant Karl Anton Merz and the independent gentleman Anon Zeuner, the Greizer has a rather checkered history which includes several takeovers by first nationalists, including the infamous Hitler regime, then the Communists which tabbed the VEB tag on them, and lastly corporate takeovers after the Fall of the Wall. The third one was the most significant because (as you will see in the history page here), the brewery underwent extensive rehabilitation, cleaning the wells, modernizing the crafting machinery, and cleansing it of raw barley, sauerkraut and rice, which had to be used as substitutes for malt during the first two takeovers. Since 2001, it has been privately owned with the Schäfer family having the reigns of the business since 2010.
The Greizer has six assortments of beer, one of which we put under the loop with the pilsener. The Schloss Pils is the most commonly found beers in the region, having won several awards including the DLG Award in 2010 and 2012. The brewery was great enough to provide some details of the beer in the English language (here), and much of the information matches that of my first-hand impression of the beer: slim body, fair head, lively carbonation, and a brillantly clear yellow head. 🙂
Yet looking at the aroma and flavor of the beer, they are a bit different when tasting them. The beer has a strong aroma with a sharp balance, thanks to the usage of grain and bread malt and floral hops. Just as strong is the flavor of the beer, as it appears that a bit of strong floral hops and citrus was used a bit too much, creating a rather bitter taste at first. After a few sips a person can get used to ii, even more so when consuming food. It is highly recommended not to drink your Schloss Pils straight if you are drinking it for the first time, maybe even in general, for its astringent taste can take getting used to. For a pilsener with a touch of hops and citrus, sometimes one needs to cut back a bit and compensate it with other ingredients to create a mild taste, like the other beers I’ve tried so far, like the Sachsen Krone and Zwicküler, its nearby rivals to the north. Otherwise, just having the beer straight while conversing, especially as a first-timer, can make for a rather interesting conversation with some faces being made. 😉
Grade: 2,7/ C+ The Greizer Schloss Pils may be a beer that is good with every meal and for those who are used to drinking it, but personally, it doesn’t make for a good straight drink because of its bitterness and hoppiness. This applies also to those who have not tried a German beer yet. However, sometimes some minor tweeks can make it a better beer and after reading my critique, I’m sure these changes will take place to make it just as tasty as the neighboring beers, most of which have been tasted already. This won’t be the last Greizer beer to try as its bock beer is also on the radar and will be next on the list.
So like the Saalfelder, I’ll be back. 🙂