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October 2, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer Will Be Beer

Everyone knows Germany is famous for its beer. However, in New Zealand, the chances are that if you pick up a green bottle with an umlaut in its name, it’s probably a bad imitation made in Auckland.

Fortunately, this deficiency of actual German beers was noticed by an enterprising local beer guy called Dave (a lot of beer guys are called Dave). He took it upon himself to import some good honest German beers.

Waldhaus Privatbrauerei is an ancient brewery in the heart of the Black Forest. Recently celebrating its 175th birthday, Waldhaus boasts some serious pedigree. They make a range of traditional styles, including two Pilsners. Diplom Pils (4.9%) is the beer that Steinlager wishes it was: straw coloured and crisp as a freshly printed five Euro note with a beautiful slightly grassy yet not skunky German hop character. On the other hand, Ohne Filter Extra Herb (4.9%) is the unfiltered, extra hopped version of Diplom. Don’t be put off by the cloudiness (remember, chunky bits are flavour): not filtering this beer rounds out the flavours and the extra hops gives it a little more bitter weightiness.

Almost every discussion of German beer usually harps on about Bavarian purity laws. I don’t want to get into all that now (that’s another column), except to say that it’s 99 per cent bollocks. Those laws were designed to stop the brewing of wheat beers. Thankfully, they failed and five hundred years later, we can enjoy Waldhaus Schwarzwald Weisse (5.6%). This is a deliciously yeasty brew, with all those subtle banana and clove characters that we’ve come to love. Or if you prefer, you can have a Schwarzwald Weisse Dunkel (also 5.6% and yes, that means ‘white dark’ in German). Similar to the Weisse, this beer has subtle dark caramel malt flavour edging into the mix.

Perhaps my favourite Waldhaus beer is the Radler. Some readers may remember the story of the DB/Green Man legal stoush. Without rehashing all that (searching ‘radler’ on any NZ news site will tell you all about it), this is a genuine trademark-infringing cyclist beer. Loosely similar to a shandy, it’s drier and more complex than dumping lemonade into tap lager and a hell of a lot better than the syrupy Monteith’s crap. At 2.7% it’s highly quaffable (or as I like to descibe it ‘choppable’) and won’t get you drunk. A 500ml bottle rarely lasts me more than fifteen minutes.

Waldhaus beers are available from Hop Garden, Hashigo Zake, Regional, Island Bay New World and a few other spots around town. Give it a go if you are feeling Germanic.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Dave says:

    Free Radler!!

  2. Dylan J says:

    ‘Free’ in this sense is meant as a verb. No one is giving away free beer…

  3. The Real Dave says:

    Certainly not me! >:-|

    “Freedom Radler™” has a price……..

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