German Attack: Paulaner, Erdinger & Franziskaner

Christmas really loaded me up with beers. Firstly, I bought loads of good stuff in for the season, which I didn’t actually finish all of, and then loads of lovely friends and family bought me plenty of booze too. Hoorah!

Here, we find a post covering three German beers which came in a box of assorted British ales and German beers of all types. Unfortunately much of the British stuff was drunk with a friend one evening, and, as I’ve said, I don’t like many notes when I’m socialising. It’s rude, and I like catchy up with my chums. So they may never get the Reet Good treatment. Pity them, dear reader.

What I have tried and noted down though are three of the Germans. I’ll do it in chronological order. And, sorry to keep making snide jokes about the current neo-prohibitionist trends, but anyone who’s worried about my drinking can rest assured that I drank these on three separate nights (not even consecutive ones) and I even shared one of them. I could be the poster boy for the new movement if they’d like (just don’t tell them that I spend Monday night judging a cocktail competition before trailing round a couple of Leeds’ best cocktail bars sampling their wares, ok?).

So yes, Germany. Famously home of the pilsner and also home of the Reinheitsgebout (aka German beer purity law) which specified that the only three ingedients allowed in beer were water, barley and hops (this was before people were smart enough to understand what yeast was and that it was, y’know, quite important to making beer. I love it that people used to call years godisgoode before they really understood what happened). So all these beers are going to be samey, crisp, refreshing and nowt else, right?

Paulaner Original Munchen Hell

Paulaner

Nope. My drinking did, however, start with a very traditional lager. The Paulaner Original Munchen Hell. Hell was the name given to pale lagers in Germany, original means first. So therefore this is a traditional German lager.

It’s bloody good, too. While it’s true that it lacks the intense flavours of most other beer styles, this is a properly light, refreshing, eminently drinkable lager. It’s straw coloured, the nose gives you citrus and honey and nice sweet things like this and to drink it’s just cool, crisp, refreshing with a little lingering hop bitterness. I’ll be having more of this in the summer, no doubt.

Erdinger Dunkel

Erdinger Dunkel

Moving on a few days later and it was a cold night and I decided to break out the Erdinger Dunkel. They used to have this on tap at North Bar permanently. Maybe they still do now, and before I really knew much about beer, this was always my drink of choice. I remember it being rich and malty and just the right bitterness.

Out of this bottle, though, something was not quite right. On the nose, it smelt disarmingly like my functionable, but otherwise utterly unexceptionable first batch of homebrew. Tasting it, it was better than my homebrew, but not much better. Now, I’m not trying to big up my homebrew here, this bottle was properly disappointing. It had a slight damp cardboardy taste and smell to it, other than that, there wasn’t much there. Had something gone wrong somewhere down the line, or is this a beer for drinking on tap only? I’d be interested in someone could enlighten me. Or, maybe, my homebrew’s just awesome. Or my taste for beer has changed so much that something I once loved not tastes limp. Who knows?

Franzikaner Weissbier Kristall Klar

Franzikaner Weissbier Kristall Klar

I seem to have accidentally saved the best for last. I’ve always enjoyed Franzikaner when I’ve bought it at a very reasonably price from Morrison’s. It was reliable, flavourful and refreshing. I’d never seen Franskinaer’s Weissbier Kristall Klar sister though. I was excited to try it.

So what is Kristall Klar? Well it seems to be the yeast-less, filtered, clear version of the original Franzikaner. It smells amazing, sweet and wheaty with hints of banana, clove, passion fruit and pineapple – loads of tropical fruit infact.

Drinking it, it proves just as sweet, perhaps even lacking in bite, if you’re going to be critical. It’s not a connoseuirs beer, I’ll give you that, but it’s refreshing and just very tasty and light. Almost dessert-ish, but crisp, not sticky, and nice long lager finish. It’s not complex, but just nice. Very nice. And that’s why I like it.

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Lounge Bar & Grill’s Beer Club

I also do some beer writing for my day job (actually I do as much as I can get away with). Here’s a piece a did recently on a beer club at Lounge, Bar & Grill Leeds. A beer and food pairing event that was, unfortunately, a little lacking in diversity.

Lounge Bar & Grill Beer Club

Two Nights’ Drinking: Pilsner Urquell, Moonshine & Reliance’s Best Bitter

Moonshine

Moonshine, because I didn't take any photos

Thursday night was always going to be a good one. The combination of a trip to try some food at Calls Landing stew and oyster bar (great cheeses and stew, plus, unexpectedly, two real ales: Theakston Best and Copper Dragon on tap), then a rum tasting at Boutique (I may have been an hour late, but one can hardly complain about free daiquiri, rum punch and rum and ginger), then a trip to Leeds Brewery’s nicest bar, Pin can never been a bad night, really.

Events at Pin picked up though when we realised that they were giving punters free half pints of Pilsner Urquell – all you had to do was hand then all your contact info and you were away.

Having little concern for personal privacy and data protection, I merrily signed away on my work email, address and phone number in return for a free drink and was pleasantly surprised.

It’s not a life changing beer, by no means. But the skunky, sweetness on the nose (it smelt a lot like the scent the nearby Tetley brewery unleashes once a month – or maybe that smell was prevalent in the bar) was a highlight, and it was very drinkable indeed. Golden with a decent creamy head, it gives off a citrusy flavour and a nice hoppy bitterness with the citrus spice well balanced with the creamy smoothness. A nice session beer, and well worth signing away your privacy form if not handing over cash.

Back to tonight, and a trip to my post-work local The Reliance (handily situated next door to my office). Barnsley’s Acorn brewery have been brewing a Reliance Best Bitter for the pub for a while now and though it means they only ever have one guest at a time these days, it’s a very reliable house special.

A dark nut-brown ale, the hops and malt are well balanced. The flavours would please both a fan of dark, stronger beers (despite being less than 4%) while not putting off those looking for an easier-drinking session beer. In short, a great post-work pint.

More interesting in Abbeydale Brewery’s Moonshine – the other offering at The Reliance. An intriguing pale ale with strong floral notes on the nose and a citrus hit on the palate (predominately grapefruit). It’s dead popular in its homeland Sheffield and you can see why. It’s interesting without being downright odd, and would win over fans of blander pale ales. As for me, I’ve been supping this for a few years now, thanks to a Sheffield-living brother, and it’s won me over to Abbeydale’s product. It’s a quality (and local) brewery.

So, what better way to finish than a forced conclusion of hooray for Leeds’ bars!

Find out more about Pin and The Reliance