Friday, June 30, 2006

Beer O'Clock: Hofbrau Munchen 'Maibock'

Beer O'Clock comes to you once again courtesy of the fine chaps at Real Beer -- who I'm happy to say are now running boutique beer tours around Wellington. Just the job for an involuntary long weekend. This week, Stu steps up to the bar:

The World Cup has had me, like many others, thinking a bit about Germany.

Germans are up there with the biggest drinkers in the world; take from that whatever you will but they certainly have a fantastic choice of beer to drink. Rather than drink the same old red can of bland alcopop all year, Germans seem to have a beautiful and quite distinct beer for all the different seasons (though, ironically, the have the ghastly Budweiser for their World Cup).

In late winter and early spring they release their bock beers: strong malty, and usually dark coloured, nutritional lagers that have been brewed and lagered through the winter. By the time they've been drinking these bocks for a month or so they feel like something different and so they roll out the paler, and more assertively hopped maibock.

I'd seen Hofbrau Munchen range around the supermarket shelves for a couple of months but thought it was probably a bland tasting over-marketed lager (possibly even equine filtered, like many of the beers in supermarkets seem to be). When my less cynical half brought the Maibock home I got an extremely pleasant surprise.

Pouring a vibrant copper and lightly carbonated, this bock has a mild nose of pale and lightly toasted malts with a subtle spicy hop presence (lager yeasts, for those who don't know, are usually supposed to showcase the beers ingredients rather than themselves). Mostly sweet in the mouth but with a lovely balance brought about by the light bitterness of continental hops and dry nature of the toasty malt.

On tap at The Malthouse the Maibock is even better: the stylish earthenware stein (sadly, without the traditional German barmaid) reveals a far fresher, big biscuity malt aroma. You may well find it unusual but it is certainly most delicious, and far too easy to drink for it's hefty 7.2%.

Put on your best pair of lederhosen and get on down to The Malthouse now. Otherwise pick some up at your local New World or good bottle store and drink it in the safety of your own home (where you can wear whatever you like).

LINKS: German beer styles
Reinheitsgebot
Boutique beer tasting tour -
Wild about Wellington

TAGS: Beer_&_Elsewhere, Wellington

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