Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Full Schilling - Der dritte Teil

I have owned this fact many a time on Fuggled, I am a Germanophile, especially when it comes to beer. One of the main reasons I go to Kardinal Hall as much as I do is that they are a reliable source of German beers, whether Rothaus, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, or something from Weihenstephan, as well as the near ubiquitous Bitburger (though I much prefer their stable mate König Pilsener). The fact that Schilling also produce a wide range of German styles, in addition to their Czech style stuff, is just another reason that I wanted to visit the brewery when we were up in New England a couple of weeks ago.

The other beers in the stash that made the trip back to central Virginia were:
  • Paulus - Munich style helles
  • Rennsteig - schwarzbier
  • Nordertor - northern German style pilsner
With those styles, this is basically a quick three beer tour of Germany from Bavaria in the south, to Flensburg in the north, with a quick stop in Thuringia in the middle.

Without further ado, then on to New Hampshire's interpretation of Munich. Fun side fact, not too far from Littleton is a place called Franconia...

  • Sight - clear yellow, quarter inch white foam, wonderful clarity
  • Smell - doughy, lightly yeasty, floral hops, subtle citrus note (Tettnang perhaps?)
  • Taste - bready with a nice schmeer of honey, clean floral hops
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
Helles is one of those styles of beer that I think is best on tap, but this particular batch was canned just 11 days ago, so when I had it on Sunday it had been in the can a mere 9 days. Freshness matters, and this was as fresh as you will likely ever get in central Virginia. Full disclosure, I asked Beer Run to get me a case, and it was from that case that I drank, rather than one of the 4 packs that came back from NH with me, which was canned in mid-March. Anyway, the beer itself, gorgeous in a word, as good a helles as I have ever had. As I sat in my kitchen drinking it, looking out over my backyard, I realised I need to plant some more trees to convert a patch of the yard into my own little biergarten, just to enjoy Paulus in.

  • Sight - deep mahogany, dark red edges, ivory foam
  • Smell - medium-dark roast coffee, crusty toast, subtle grassy/hay notes, hints of chocolate cake
  • Taste - cold espresso, singed toast, some floral character, bitter chocolate
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 3/5
Named, apparently, for the Rennsteig ridge walk in Thuringia and just a lovely schwarzbier. The balance is beautiful, making it insanely easy to drink while hitting all the right flavour notes. I think I am going to have to rehash my schwarzbier blind tasting of last year with this in the mix.

  • Sight - pale yellow, large white head, beautifully clear
  • Smell - crackers, hay, some herbal notes
  • Taste - more crackers, noticeable lemony zing, maybe some cantaloupe in the background
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter 2.5/5
When it comes to German style pilsners, I find myself preferring those more in the northern, drier, more pronounced bitterness camp. Nordertor, named for the eponymous gate in Flensberg on the Danish border and depicted on the label, sits very much in that camp, and I love it. The finish is cracker dry and lingers, begging to be followed up by another mouthful, and who am I to deny it?

As I mentioned in the first part of this little Schilling trilogy, I made a point to try all the German inspired beers on tap at the brewpub when we were there, but I wasn't taking notes or pictures - seriously, who does that when you are hanging with mates? Safe to say though that all of them were top class, especially the Seidla kellerbier, and whenever they make it down this way, I will continue to buy them, safe in the knowledge that Schilling know what they are doing, and they do it so damned well.

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