Friday, November 22, 2019

Och Ayinger

One of my pet annoyances is lager being displayed in the store, whether supermarket or independent bottle shop, on a shelf at room temperature. More so at the independent bottle shop than the supermarket admittedly as supermarkets rarely prattle on about being "passionate about craft beer", but that's a rant for a different post.

That pet annoyance was one of the reasons I hadn't drunk anything from the Privatbrauerei Ayinger until this year when I took a punt on their Oktoberfest-Märzen for my massive Oktoberfest taste off earlier this year, I had never seen them in a fridge. Said beer was still not in a fridge, but I figured it was a seasonal beer and thus more likely to still be in a decentish condition.


It was so different from the other Oktoberfest branded beers I had in September and October, richer, more characterful, and with so many more nuances that it ran Sierra Nevada's collaboration with Bitburger close in terms of volume consumed. I knew I needed to try more, and so I did...


The only other Ayinger beers at our local Wegmans are the Jahrhundertbier, a malty pale lager that was first brewed to mark the brewery's 100th anniversary, obviously, and the BräuWeisse, a classic hefeweizen. As ever I wasn't bothering unduly with notes, I have found that they add little to my enjoyment or otherwise of a beer and so I have largely given that Sisyphean exercise up. Both are lovely beers, though as I noted in my post about Munich Airport, I rarely drink weizen, so the BräuWeisse has not made an appearance in the fridge since I tried it, the Jahrhundertbier though is another story. Most Saturday evenings in the last month or so have seen a half litre bottle poured into one of my German style glasses (more beer should be in half litre bottles in my world) and indulged in.

Kind of on a whim one Friday afternoon I wandered into Beer Run's back room where they keep the European beers, and behold there were more Ayingers to try, happy days...


First a minor gripe, pilsner in 33cl bottles? That's just taking the piss. Bloody nice beer though, but you knew I'd say that right? Of course you did, you know I love pilsner in both its German and Bohemian styles. Seriously though, this gives Rothaus a run for its money in my opinion, especially given the delightful floral aroma and flavour, like drinking a summer Alpine meadow.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think I have enjoyed a dunkel in the last few years anywhere as much as I did the Altbairisch Dunkel, lovely smooth drop, with traces of dark roast coffee and just enough hop bite to balance it out. Apparently Michael Jackson, no not the singer you plum, was a fan, yeah he was right. Again, it has become a regular in the fridge.

Looking at the bottles of Urweisse in Beer Run I wondered to myself why they would have more than one hefeweizen, yeah I did a poor job of reading the label. Richly amber rather than pale, but with all the spiced bananas you kind of expect, but with more of a malt richness than a regular hefeweizen, this was almost nutty and toothsome. I like, but you know that weizen thing I mentioned earlier, yeah it still applies here, maybe if I saw it on tap I'd have a rethink, but until then...

I don't have a picture, but on the strength of the outstanding quality of the Ayinger beers I had tried, I got myself a four pack of Celebrator, their doppelbock. Doppelbock is not something I drink very often, though I do have a soft spot for Trader Joe's Winter Lager. Goodness me what a divine beer Celebrator is! Later this year I am going to buy as many doppelbocks as I can find in my usual beery haunts and do another comparative tasting, it inspired me that much. The night after I polished of a couple of bottles the temperature hit -8°C (that's teens in °F), there was a hard frost, and it felt like winter was well on its way, a happy thought.

So yes, I am fan of Ayinger now, actually going through something of a kick as I cling tenaciously to my time in central Europe...

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