Beers I've Tasted in Germany While on My Vacation There
After shopping for curtains and other fixtures for my
friend’s new apartment the next day, we went to have dinner at Hofbrauhaus Munchen.
Their main brewery and beer house was in Munich and we were at the Hannover
branch. I tried a half pint of their dark house beer, while Michael had 2 (!)
pints of the pilsner. Needless to say, he was quite tipsy but still with
faculties intact by the time we left the Hofbrau. We ended up sleeping at his
apartment since Emy had trouble driving in the dark and couldn’t make it back
Being just a domestic beer drinker and not a big one at that, the cheaper the beer, the better for my budget. How’s a 36 pack of Tecate, Budweiser, or Miller’s Genuine Draft for $19.99 sound? Well, that’s the kind of beer I drink in the U.S. So when I found the opportunity to visit friends in Germany which is known for its beers, I decided to try as many as I can while I was there and hoped my liver survived the taste tests.
First, let me tell you I don’t know from bad beer to good. Being originally from the Philippines, I’ve had San Miguel of course, and Red Horse which is more of a malt liquor. Years ago, the Philippines also imported Carsltrom beer, so I’ve tried that too.
If I remember correctly, the first one I tried was in Hannover and it was a Czech beer – the original Budweiser Budvar, which my friend Emy’s son Michael offered me at his home. It was definitely a lot more full bodied than the U.S. Budweiser, and to my untrained taste, more hoppy. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it.
The next couple of beers I tried came out of a hotel vending machine in Berlin, which was a total surprise for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in the U.S., but then I don’t go out much. The first one was Bitburger which I brought up to my hotel room, but couldn’t open because I didn’t have a bottle opener. So I went back down to the lobby and asked the desk attendant where to find one. It turns out, it was attached to the vending machine with a string. I asked if it was okay to open the beer bottle in the lobby and the attendant said, it was no big deal because beer is just like water in Germany. I brought the beer back to my room and drank it while eating a piece of cake that I bought from the KaDeWe store earlier. Well, that Bitburger didn’t quite hit the spot so I went for a second bottle which was a Berliner. The vending machine had those two beer choices with alcohol and two which were alcohol free. My impression of the Bitburger and Berliner was that they had more taste than my cheap domestic beer.
While still in Berlin, we stopped by some kind of street fair where I tried Erdinger beer with my first bratwurst. I ordered the smallest possible glass which was 1/3 liter since I didn’t want to be walking around town in a tipsy state. While at the fair, we met a couple of young Mexicans (bf & gf) who were travelling all over Europe, and talked with them for more than two hours.
The next day, we had time to kill after visiting an Anne Frank exhibit and while waiting for our train to Hamburg, so we stopped by a beer house and I ordered Weihenstephan dark beer. Half a liter this time.
When we returned to Hannover, we stopped by a grocery store before going home and bought a bottle of Paulaner and Grevensteiner. The Paulaner really took me for a loop. When I took the first sip, it tasted like any other beer, but upon swallowing, the taste changed to somewhat sour/sweet. And this happened on every sip.
The next day, we tried the Grevensteiner and that was probably the most full bodied beer I tasted while I was there. Somewhat like San Miguel but without the pungent follow through. Emy said this was her favorite beer.
|Oettinger lime beer|
|Schofferhofer lemon beer|
At dinnertime, Wolfgang brought out a couple of low alcohol citrus beers named Oettinger Radler and Shoefferhofer Zitrone. Very tasty, kinda like what my cousin used to mix back in my college days which she called shandygaff – half beer and half 7-Up.
I was picked up by Liza’s husband Sven the next day and was driven to his home. There Mama Becca was waiting and we had lunch. Along with lunch came yet another beer called Eibecher. I had two bottles which is normally my limit for a day. But, this was not an ordinary day.
We hanged out in the backyard, then had early dinner, after which we went to visit a very old town, so old that the buildings were leaning against each other to maintain stability. After visiting the town, my hosts which now included Irene and her husband Matthias, decide to go to a local Hofbrauhaus. I finally found what I was hoping for: a sampler of 4 glasses of Fritzlarer with 11 ounces each of the house beer, a wheat beer, a dark beer, and a summer seasonal beer. I sipped slowly trying to detect the subtle differences. I finished half of each before going around again to finish the second half. By this time, I thought I’d be drunk as a skunk as I have exceeded my daily drink limit by at least 2. But surprisingly, I was still able to walk straight and touch my nose with each hand with my eyes closed. So, my companions didn’t have to carry me back home after all.
I stopped by McDonalds and ordered an apple strudel to go which I took back to the hotel. I stopped by the bar and asked the bartender if they had any bottles of beer I can buy to take back to my room, and she said, I can take the mug that they had, and thus had my last beer in Germany, a half pint of Krombacher drank with apple strudel from McDonald’s.
|I bought this from Trader Joe's after I got back to the U.S.|
Having developed a taste for German beer, the American beer I drank upon returning back home tasted very bland, so I checked the internet and found that some of the beers I drank in Germany were sold at specialty wine/beer/liquor stores like Total Wine and BevMo. I did find a 6 pack of Henninger at Trader Joe for $5.99 so I bought it. The first can tasted bland but the second tasted more German, so I’d say it wasn’t bad. I also saw a 4 pack of Bitburger for $4.99, but I think I’ll go to Total Wine next time because they are selling a 4 pack sampler of Paulaner for about $10, you know, the one that changes taste from tip of the tongue to swallow.