Recently I got to travel to Germany. This was my 9th visit, and my first visit during the Spring. Now for those of you who have been following the blog for a while, you know I don’t value German Creativity when it comes to beer. Don’t get me wrong, when a German brews a pilsner there are very few comparisons to to it. They have been brewing their traditional styles for hundreds of years. This is about diversification of styles. In Germany it is really easy to find about six to twelve styles of beer. I am used to hundreds of styles! Thankfully there is Gruthaus.
My perception of German craft beer changed though when a friend sent me a bottle of Pumpernickel Porter from Gruthaus Brauerei in Münster. You can check out my review of that beer here. Now word got back to Gruthaus’ owner Philipp Overberg and he agreed to do an interview with us which you can check out here. Knowing how much I craved for German Perfection in a craft beer style Philipp was kind enough to ship me some samples of his best beers, and none of them disappointing. This young creative mind, sloshing through a world of pilsners is redefining what Germany Beer means!
Gruthaus Grut: Myrica Gale 1480: Before the advent of hops, brewers used Grut to flavor their beers. Grut was an herb mixture, often containing juniper. Münster was very well known for it’s Grut. Gruthaus patterned their beer after an old recipe from 1480. It is flavored with juniper and caraway. This soft, tan beer poured with an ample head. It was a hazy straw gold in color. It had a soft champagne and bread like flavor. The body and mouthfeel came off as a farmhouse style beer; ample but gentle carbonation, light on the tongue and moderate bitterness. It had a gentle fruitiness like a good Kolsch. It left little aftertaste. This beer would pair well with any type of seafood, but especially white fish. Cheeses with heavy earthy flavor would also be a good match and the beer would make an excellent pallet cleanser.
Next up we have Gruthaus’ Überwasser-Alt. Alt is another traditional beer style. The name Alt translate to “Old”. After the advent of lagers many traditional beer styles began to be labeled as Alt. This Alt has been modernized with Citra and Amarillo hops to give it the unique fruitiness a more traditional beer would lack. This hazy yellow/gold beer pours with the Germanic familiar white foamy head. It has a strong tropical fruit aroma. This beer has a thin mouthfeel, but a sticky fruit taste caught between a banana, pineapple and strawberries. It is followed by a punchy bitterness from the Citra hops. Again, the beer finishes with a clean pallet. This beer would pair well with spicy foods, pork, and sharp cheeses, like aged cheddar.
I saved the best treat for last. Bockwurst Bock. If you can see a theme with the previous beers, Philipp likes to take traditional German styles and put a unique twist on them that is all his own. Bockwurst Bock is no different. Bocks are a traditional beer made in the Bavarian region for spring time. Gruthaus brews this beer with smoked wheat, but wait there is more. The wheat is smoked at a local Münster butcher shop, write in the room where the sausages are being smoked. The amalgamation that Philipp then makes is one of the BEST smoked beers on the planet. This hazy amber beer with a slight orange hue pours with a thick head that is soft tan in color. The beer is sweet an smokey in aroma and taste. I might also have picked up a feint aroma of apples too (and not the off flavor of green apples). The smokey flavor is followed by a bouquet of hoppiness. The smoke flavor is not overpowering and lingering like in other smoked beers, and this beer finishes smooth. There is a little aftertaste of smoke and hops, but like I said, it lingers for only a little while. It also has ample carbonation for a dark beer. I would double down on the smoke flavor and pair this with anything you can pull out of a smoker, and while you are at it, pair it with some smoked cheese. Oh heck, pair this one with ANYTHING. It is THAT good.
Special thanks to Philipp for giving me a reason not to drink yet another pilsner on my last trip to Germany! And if you, the reader, ever find yourself in Münster make sure you visit Gruthaus. Tell them the Beerploma team sent you. Until next time! PROST!
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