Food and Drink


Is 2011 The Year Of The Pilsener?

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The Bohemians are being pushed aside, and I’m not talking about beret-wearing bongo players. I’m referring to how German style pilseners are edging out the more prominent Bohemian style.

The brewers of the Czech Republic, originally the Kingdom of Bohemia developed pilsener; a medium to light bodied dry hoppy lager that nearly every brewer has attempted to replicate. The most widely available Bohemian pilseners are Pilsener Urquell, the original, and Budweiser Budvar.

Where Bohemian’s tend to be medium bodied, the Germans tend to be a bit lighter. The colour of Germans tend to be as light as straw, slightly bitterer and have more hoppy aromas.

The Benedictine Weihenstephan Abbey was established in 725 and started brewing in 1040. The brewery is now operated by the Bavarian state government with input from the Technical University of Munich. Can you imagine the Baillieu government operating Fosters? Their pilsener has very obvious hop aromas. It is malty with a medium level of flavour. Perhaps a more substantial mouth-feel than I was expecting, related to its alcohol at 5.1%. A lovely beer, 4 out of 5.

The Trumer is actually Austrian, but I think it is more German than Bohemian style. The hop aromas are delicate and a little less obvious than the Weihenstephan. The taste was malty sweet and very well flavoured. At 4.9% the alcohol was beautifully integrated and only noticeable if you thought about it. Outstanding, 4.5 out of 5.

The Warsteiner had moderate but obvious hop aromas and a malty weetbix type nose. In the mouth it lacked flavour and it seemed very simple. It did carry the 4.8% alcohol well. A disappointment from a beer I have often admired, 2.5 out of 5.

So why was the Warsteiner completely out of the league of the Trumer and the Weihenstephan? Well, it was simply stale and past its best. The Trumer and the Weihenstephan both had July 2011 as their use by date and the Warsteiner had last month. Quality conscious brewers, distributors and retailers should all ensure that the beers they offer are in top condition. Australia’s largest liquor retailer, Dan’s, should not sell out of date beers.

Beer lovers should try all three of these beers if and only if you can find fresh ones. So why are the Bohemians losing out to the Germans; well I think it is because the Trumer, the Austrian, is so good.

Weihenstephan 500ml $5.69

Warsteiner 330ml $4.99

Trumer 330ml $3.99

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