Respect. You have to respect the history of beer in order to really be able to appreciate where we are at now. The Germans and Belgians have been brewing since before those damn Italians sailed the ocean blue in 1492. By the way, respect to those damn Italians for their brew craft lately, but back to my point.
While the frickin’ Belgians were pioneers in barrel aging, the Germans were the first to say “quality is better than quantity”. They went as far as to pass a purity law called the “Reinheitsgebot” that if brewers failed to comply with it, would have barrels of beer confiscated with no compensation. You gotta love the spirit of it all, and respect that level of “Don’t f@#$ with our past time”.
The first German brew I ever had you ask? Honestly? It was probably St. Paulie Girl or Becks. But years and years have passed since I’ve succumbed to a green bottle and the German beer that blew my mind for the first time was a Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen. One sip and my mind was a flutter with sausages and wenches while the malty aromas and copper-like color worked better to wake me up than that damn Italian espresso. Seriously, I have nothing but respect for those d….. What was I saying? Ah yes, the flavor was slightly smokey and the body was just heavy enough to not feel like a meal of proteins in your stomach. This beer was created for a celebration, and that’s what it tastes like, a party in your mouth. Yep, I went there. The 5.8% ABV is geared for mass consumption which is fine by me and it falls at 7.5/10 on the UrD scale. (Side note, get some raw sausage and use some of this beer to cook it. Do it.)
After that, it was almost exclusively a German affair for quite some time. Paulaner Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, Erdinger Hefeweizen, just about anything I could get my hands on. I then started to open my mind a bit more and venture out into other countries offerings. Belgium of course and their signature yeasty taste profiles were like a reward for making it through a hard day. Duvel was always a good choice out of Belgium along with Chimay, Canada had Unibroue and I even liked Kronenburg from France. Italy’s Peroni was actually decent at the time and my world was erupting with options that eventually led me back to the U.S. of A.
So my search comes full circle, back to where I started on that faithful night when the only beer I wanted was a Fat Tire, which of course they do not ship to Hawaii (yet). After numerous strike outs at liquor stores and grocery stores alike, we finally stumbled upon a hole in the wall, high endish wine and spirits shop with a decent selection of import brews, known as “The Liquor Collection”. This is where the clerk informed us that our journey for the elusive New Belgium beer was over, so we decided to try a variety of the imports that I would soon come to adore.
The message is respect. I would not have the appreciation I have today for the craft if it was not for the CENTURIES of beer coming out of Germany, Belgium and any other country that dares to challenge my palate with their brews. Stone Brewing Company setting up shop in Berlin is an ultimate tipped hat to the history there. So every now and then grab a German beer for your nights beverage of choice, and as always with great respect, PROST!