Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Veldensteiner Trilogy

In my ongoing quest to try 365 new beers in 2011, I picked up three beers from Kaiser Bräu, a (yup, you guessed it) German brewery.  All three beers, labeled as 'Veldensteiner' came in 1/2 liter flip-top bottles for $4.99 at Bet-R.  After some quick research I learned that Kaiser Bräu... uh... is German.  And their website is in German... and I don't speak German.  I would say that I should learn German, but I generally prefer Belgian beers, and they usually speak/label in French.  I'll survive.  In other news, these will be the first pictures on the blog from my new iPhone4... better quality?  I think so.

And here you have them... the Veldensteiner Original Later, Weissbier, and Landbier.  The typical tasting order for any range beers is to go from lightest to darkest, so I started with the Original Lager.

Good looking pour for starters... clear golden color (blah) but a huge head, lots of carbonation, and really good retention.  This is definitely what a lager is supposed to look like when done right.  The aroma is pretty bland... the straw, grains, and just a hint of hops don't impress me a lot.  The taste was a little better, with more hops and grains and less grassy straw flavors.  Unfortunately by the time I finished the half-liter the beer was starting to get warm, and this one did not get better as it got warmer.  Most lighter beers don't, but a lot of stronger beers do.

My Rating: C+

Up next was the Weissbier.  It's actually not two "s"s in there, but a funny German character my keyboard doesn't know.  Just like the lager, this one was a great looking beer!  As you can see it's a cloudy yellow-orange color with a huge bubbly white head.  This one had a good aroma as well, with a definite citrus and spicy note on top of the wheat base.  The flavors are typical of a wheat beer... bananas come through strong, spices as well, the wheat is there, and just a hint of hops on the end.  This is definitely a step up from the lager, and a very nice beer.

My Rating: B+

Last up was the "Landbier" and honestly I don't get the name either.  I'm not sure where the "Land" comes in or what that means in German, but this one is a Munich Dunkel Lager, which basically means they use a large amount of Munich malts to give it a darker color and heavy malt presence without making the beer too strong or venturing into the realm of stouts or porters.  This one only clocks in a 5.4% abv, so it's only a few notches about typical pale lagers, but the flavor is impacted significantly.  It's a darker beer, as expected, with a deep red to brown color to it.  Large head like all these Veldensteiner beers have displayed.  The aroma is rich and malty, even boozy despite the low alcohol levels.  Caramel and roasted malts come through, almost like a doppelbock.  Unfortunately the taste doesn't come through nearly as strong.  It's dominant on the roasted malts, and really thin.  Still not a bad beer, but the aroma really had me hoping for more.

My Rating: B

And with that, I'm up to 5 in my goal, 1/73rd of the way to the finish line.  Of these beers, I'd recommend the Weissbier to anyone who likes a good wheat beer... the other two can be passed on for better options.

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