Dienstag, 16. Oktober 2007

No to genetically modified Bud

Cheers - three more organic beers!

The first weekend in Berlin in ages, combined with a football match, finally gave me time to catch up with some organic beers I had recently hunted down. It was, as always, a pleasure. Though, frankly, the best thing about the Angel lager by Broughton Ales is its beautifully designed bottle label. The beer itself is pretty flat. As a German, I am demanding about lagers. And this one just didn't have the crisp freshness that makes you go "ah" with pleasure after the first sip. Broughton should stick to ales. Their Border Gold Organic Ale I remember to be quite satisfying. - As was the Wolfshoeher Bio Pilsner. It's all you want from a Pils. It's quite light but not without the slight bitter tinge that is a must in a good German lager. It is, in short, very drinkable. The kind of beer you can make your regular with a meal.
Wheat Bear (Weissbier, as they say in Bavaria) is rightly called the champagne among beers. And so, as Germany became the first team to qualify for EURO 2008, and Scotland managed to defend first place in its qualifying group, I finished off Saturday night with a treat: the Bayreuther Bio Weisse. This beer may be a niche product of brewing giant Maisel - but this is a fine niche. It produces a satisfying head, it pearls on your tongue and it sparkles down your throat to leave a warm, satisfied feeling in your stomach. I recommend it!

Shock revelation: German loves beer (but make it organic)

To say that I love beer is admittedly pretty dull. I'm German, after all, so the fact that I don't eat sausages is surely more newsworthy than my devotion to our national drink. But, so be it. One of the truths in my life is that few things can give me more simple pleasure than a good, cold glass of beer at the end of the day. In retrospect, it all started at my very first ball (and I haven't been to many since). I returned all sweaty from the dance floor and found an unaccompanied beer on the table I was sitting at before. I took a sip - and was in instant heaven. When you are really sweaty and thirsty, there is nothing better than a Pilsner. Period.
Wherever I go, I try new and local beers as much as I can. So in Canmore, Alberta, I of course returned to the Grizzly Paw Pub and enjoyed their wonderful taster sets (see picture above). I particularly liked their seasonal light ale, though sadly I can't recall what they had put in it to make it special. Their Rutting Elk Red is also quite a good impression of a Scottish ale, somewhere between a 70 and an 80.
If I had unlimited space and a partner as tolerant of clutter as my friend and fellow beer lover Red Constantino - see his beer collection here - I would probably be lugging home beer bottles from around the globe all the time. That not being the case, I have restricted myself to collecting bottles that not only contain fine beers, but also seeds of the agricultural revolution. Organic beers are one indication of how organic has started to go mainstream in recent years. Drinking the stuff used to be the preserve of greenies like me who had to buy it in more or less obsucre organic shops (ten years ago, my quest for organic beers was akin to someone collecting rare books and visiting antique book dealers around the world). Now, shop assistants know what you are talking about when you ask and you can even buy them - "no problem"- in any run of the mill beer and wine store in, say, Alberta. I thus could happily add two new bottles to my collection last week:
Fishtale is a very fruity beer, that to someone like me is almost like a "desert beer"; I think it has too much fruityness to go well with many meals. But I liked it - though I am not entirely sure I support the idea of a "wild salmon" beer (I am vegetarian after all ...). The slogan "you should have tasted the one that got away" is kind of cute, though.
Paddywhack by the Nelson Brewing Company from BC, is an all the more hard-hitting and ale-like affair. It's got above 6% alcohol and a heavy - some would probably say hoppy - taste to it. It's again not a beer I would regularly have with a meal as it has a very strong taste of its own. But it is a perfect late night, finishing off the day after a nice hike or a swim in the lake kind of affair.

I will keep you posted on other gems I find. Please, if you ever visit me, bring a bottle! Organic beers is one of those few products I could become a marketing shark for. It's all we need in one: Pleasure and Revolution (and, yes, as Emma Goldman reminds us, it has to be in that order: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution!")