Sometime's a beer can do so much that it demands your attention, imploring you to take another sniff before you sip, and urging you to take your time with said sip, to better savour the details of the brew. Other times, a beer does so very little, telling you - well, nothing at all. This is that beer.
It is Bayreuther Aktien Original, and it is apparently a Dortmunder Lager. As far as I know, I've never had a Dortmunder before, and I don't think I even know what it is.
Anyway, this one was new to Bradley's so I decided I'd give it a go. It's sister beer, a Zwickel, seemed a much more interesting prospect but was unfortunately sold out at the time. Besides, it's been a while since I've had a real thirst quencher, what with the failures of Shepherd Neame and the relative sippers that are my current house beer Torpedo and the Anchor Porter. Homebrewers will definitely appreciate the swing-top bottle, and may also appreciate the lack of any branding on the white stopper.
As for the beer itself, it pours exceptionally pale, looking quite thin and watery as is fills the glass. Upon inspection, it shows a decent golden colour with a nice foamy head and produces an aroma worthy of any mass-produced lager - sweet grains and the slightest hint of hops, in this instance indicating a citrus character. This is more or less replicated on the palate, with a biscuity, malty opening turning to a light lemony finish, and doing so as quietly as possible. It's certainly not very flavoursome, and I can't even say it does it's service as a cheap, satisfying, thirst-quenching lager because it just wasn't cheap.
To bulk up this sorry post, I've included some other Germans I've recently revisited from earlier stages in my palate's education.
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is very highly thought of, and understandably so, when you consider the brewery's heritage. Like Schneider, they seem to have a strong hefe pedigree that carries a lot of weight among beer drinkers. Surprising, then, that I've only ever had it once. This time around, it was absolutely splendid, producing all of the typical Bavarian wheat beer characteristics to great effect and with particular attention given to the strong banana note on the aroma. It's full bodied and bloody satisfying, being fruity by the bucketload while having a clearly discernible malt backbone often lacking in the style. Of course, I recommend it.
The other beer I decided to try again was Doppel-Hirsch, of Der Hirschbrau in Sonthofen. I wasn't expecting much from this beer the first time around, even seeming to think it had a poor reputation. I don't know where I got that idea, but one thing's for certain - I love this beer. Having recently re-evaluated Paulaner Salvator to good effect (post coming soon), I thought this was going to compare rather unfavourably, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. This malt-bomb is everything a Doppelbock should be; rich, sweet, deep and indulgent yet drinkable. Bonus points for the lovely labelling and swing-top bottles. Again, I recommend this, especially seeing as it appears to be one of the cheaper Doppelbocks in our shops, something that doesn't show in the drinking experience.
Here's hoping some Ayinger Celebrator appears at hand sometime soon.