I figure now that college apps are out of the way, I can write a post about beer. But, just for safety's sake, I'll put in a little disclaimer:
Dear employer, admissions officer, scholarship distributor, police officer, or anybody else who may be scouring the internet for information about my moral fiber-
The beers on this list were consumed in Germany, where the drinking age is 16. No laws were broken, no standards were defiled, and no hops were harmed in the consumption of these beers.
Hopefully that does it.
Anyway, I've had the opportunity to sample a nice collection of beers here in Germany, and these are some of my findings. This is by all means an incomplete list and the opinions are simply my opinions, and I am definitely no expert. It's also in no logical order and the beers weren't tested with any sort of standard- some were drunk from a bottle, some from a can, many from a glass... that being said, los geht's!
Astra (St. Pauli (Hamburg))- Pale Lager, slightly bitter, like most North German beers. Actually has a quite nice taste, drinks smoothly, and is very cheap. Mostly a party beer, drunk mostly by kids, from what I’ve seen, considering its price, association with St. Pauli, and alcohol content (motto is “Brewed with love… and more alcohol”). Definitely a good beer, but not my first choice.
Beck’s (Bremen)- Another Pale Lager from North Germany. Beck’s is a Pils. Beck’s is a little sweet with a bitter aftertaste. While it’s very, very smooth, the taste is a little –watery- something is lacking in Beck’s. While I’m not a big fan of Beck’s, but it’s definitely one of the most popular beers around here.
Becks Gold (Bremen)- Often called a woman’s beer, Anke’s beer of choice. I’m not a big fan, leave’s a funny, chemical aftertaste to me. Anke likes it, though, so it must have some redeeming qualities.
Carlsberg (Denmark)- Another Lager. While technically not a German beer, I happened to pick up a case of Carlsberg on the way back from Sweden. The motto is “Possibly the best beer in the world”- while its not entirely true, it’s definitely not a bad beer. Carlsberg is definitely a good beer. Carlsberg has a strong taste and a bit of a bite, but it’s not unpleasant. It is a little more carbonated than most beers, which can be annoying when being drunk from the can, but when poured into a glass the extra carbonation settles out and it’s just right. Carlsberg also has a nice aftertaste that leaves you not wanting to eat or drink anything else for a while.
Carlsberg Sort Guld (Denmark)- I’m not sure what kind of beer Sort Guld is, but it’s definitely darker, stronger, and bolder. Carlsberg Sort Guld has a very smoky flavor- it’s too overpowering to be eaten with most foods, in my opinion, and more than one or two makes you feel sick. That being said, I really enjoy Sort Guld. Its extremely strong flavor is definitely enjoyable by itself. Sort Guld is quite creamy.
Flensburger (Flensburg)- Another North GermanPils. Flensburger is also quite popular here in Luebeck, but I don’t like it. It is heavily spiced and has a grassy taste. Maybe it’s just too strong for me. Does have a very nice, lacy head, though. Has a bitter, unpleasant aftertaste.
Krombacher (Kreuztal)- Pils. Krombacher is usually my beer of choice here in Luebeck. While not my favorite beer, it is my favorite widely available beer. Krombacher is quite creamy, doesn’t have the grassy smell of other North German Pils, and has a solid character. Has a good, solid taste and the right level of carbonation. Enjoyable from bottle or glass.
Warsteiner (Warstein)- Pils. At the beginning of my year here, I liked Wasteiner a lot. I’ve grown to like it less, though- it lacks the flavor of other Pils and is simply too watery. That was probably its appeal at the beginning of the year, though- a little weaker in intensity than other beers, it’s a good one to start out with. Very light, pretty thin.
Wolters (Braunschweig)- Another very good Pils. Unfortunately I’ve only tried one, and that was from the bottle, but I’d welcome the chance to try another. Not widely available. Has a distinct, solid taste- a mix between herbal and sweet. Does have a fairly strong, herbal smell. I would not call it a light beer, but certainly drinkable. Not very carbonated, as a result feels a little heavier than expected, but nevertheless refreshing.
5.0 (Braunschweig)- Another party beer. Extremely cheap, only sold in .5L cans, 5.0% alcohol. The brand makes four types- Pils, Weizen, Lemon, and Export. I haven’t tried the Lemon or Export. The Weizen is pretty bad, it’s quite weak. Weizen should definitely not be drunk from a can. The Pils is okay for the price. It has a solid flavor, but it’s nothing special. Don’t seek it out unless you specifically want cheap beer.
Wikinger Bier- A very weak beer that’s served in a very funny looking 1L can with a Viking on it. Funny to look at, but as far as beer goes nothing special. Okay, I’ll even go far enough to say it’s bad.
Jever (Jever)- North German Pils. I hate Jever. From the bottle it’s terrible. Just throwing it out there. I’ve had it a few times, and it’s always tasted terribly skunked. I’ve also had Jever from tap, that was better, but still not my favorite beer, and still had a skunky smell. Jever has an incredibly strong, herbal taste and a bitter aftertaste. It’s worth trying, though- I do know a few people who swear by Jever, and it is certainly unique.
Loewenbraeu Oktoberfest (Muenchen)- This is an Oktoberfest beer and very good. I really like the beers from the Loewenbraeu brewery. It’s simple but solid and drinks smoothly. Very refreshing. Has a dry aftertaste.
Loewenbraeu Triumphator (Muenchen)- This is a doppelbock beer with a surprising 7.6% alcohol. I’ve only had it from tap, but from tap served cold it was hands down the best beer I’ve had here in Germany. The beer is a red copper color and it doesn’t have much of a head. The taste is very complex but perfectly balanced- it has a disguised fruity taste and also hints of pepper. Smells like malt and toffee. Has a medium body and a rich taste. Once again, a very good beer.
Franziskaner Weissbier (Muenchen)- A Weizen, typical of Munich. A very well known brand. Not as good as Loewenbraeu, but still a solid beer. Considerably carbonated and keeps a nice, creamy head. Crisp and smooth.
Richmodis Koelsch (Richmodis)- I’ve only had one Koelsch, and it was from the bottle, warm. Nonetheless, it was pretty good. Not my favorite beer, but definitely something worth trying. Has a dry, sort of smoky flavor. Not something you can drink too fast.
Koenig Pilsner (Duisburg)- Pilsner. Actually the first beer I had here in Germany. A good, solid beer, but not my favorite. A pretty light beer- I enjoyed it at the beginning of the year for the same reason I enjoyed Warsteiner, I think. Very smooth, but not much flavor, slightly bitter, medium carbonation. Slightly smoky aftertaste. Good, but nothing special.
Bitburger (Bitburg)- North German Pilsner. I’ve only had one of these, too, and I’m pretty sure it was skunked. It was bad, and had almost a chemical taste. It was pretty heavy. That being said, Bitburger is a very popular beer here in Luebeck. Sorry I can’t give a better review.
Paulaner Premium Pils (Muenchen)- A good beer, but weak compared to North German Pils. Light, dry, crisp. Well balanced. Actually a very good beer, just… not my favorite. Worth trying, though.
Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel (Muenchen)- I’d seek this one out. Is a very nice looking beer. Nice and creamy. Smells good, has a nice head, drinks smoothly. Tastes of hefe and berley with a hint of something sweet. Leaves a pleasant wheaty aftertaste in mouth. Definitely worth trying.
Erdinger Dunkel (Erding)- A very dark beer, and very good. Another one I’d seek out. Very dark and cloudy, has a caramel smell. Has a crisp bite and a yeasty finish. Tastes good right from the bottle. Has a very beer-like taste, with few additives. Another one of my favorites.
Tucher Pilsener (Nuernberg)- Weak for a Pilsner. While not bad, there are so many other good Pils that this one isn’t worth seeking out. The bite is just a little too strong, the flavor is just a little too bitter, the aftertaste is just a little too lasting. Skip this one.
Tucher Weizen (Nuernberg)- Much better than the Pils, but doesn’t really taste like a Weizen. Has a very distinct character, malty and citrusy at the same time. Again, don’t drink this beer looking for a Weizen. Enjoyable nonetheless, feels good in the mouth, has a nice carbonation. A good beer for grilling.
Beck’s Ice / Lime / Whatever else Beck’s has for mixes- Way, way, way to sweet for me. I get a headache and a bellyache from just one of these things. Basically just sugarwater.
Radler- Not actually a beer brand, Radler just means beer and lemonade. Good for grill parties, drinking after working, etc. Enjoyable, refreshing, and best when cold. It’s beer an lemonade, for God’s sake… it’s got to be good! Krombacher has a nice variety.
Cab- An acronym for Cola and Beer. Also too sweet for my taste. Nothing special.
Schoefferhofer Grapefruit- I’ve heard it described as a “breakfast beer”. Schoefferhof Grapefruit is a mix of beer and grapefruit juice and is by far my favorite of mixed beers. Fruity, sweet, and very good. One is just enough, more is too much sugar, but one is perfect and refreshing.