Tickers weep. I'm about to tell you about a beer I've had
and you'll never have. This is an exclusive and I just stumbled across
it. More or less.
Before going to Munich recently, I had hurriedly printed
off some stuff about craft beers in Munich. Mostly just where to buy it, or drink it,
but among the restaurants and pubs, there were two new breweries listed - both just with addresses and
little else. They were served by the same S Bahn station, so, with my companions, we
thought, "Why not?" and set off. The one we were really aiming for was Brauerei Im Eiswerk
which was supposedly a small offshoot run by Paulaner, one of the
Munich giants. We found it easily enough, in a quiet yard behind the
huge Paulaner-Hacker Pschorr Brewery, but it all looked a bit closed. As we
nosed around, a door opened and my friend John explained the purpose of
our mission to the charming young lady (one of the brewers as it turned
out) that opened it. She fetched another gentleman who turned out to be the
Head Brewer. He explained that the brewery produced a number of exclusive
beers which are sold to the public by pre-arranged collection once or twice a month.
It wasn't open to the public other than that. Ah well.
Brewers though are princes among men. The brewer thought for a moment and said "Would you like to come in and I'll tell you a bit about what we do here?" "Yes please"
we chorused. The brewery is in an old building which was where they
produced ice to allow round the year brewing many years ago. Herr Martin Zuber is the Brauemeister and his
aim is to extend the range of beers brewed by Paulaner by
re-interpreting or extending existing styles and by using different
techniques or hops. The main thrust seems to be
promote more passion about the beers they produce and to generally stimulate interest in beer and brewing. Herr Zuber who spoke excellent
English of course, then talked us through what they brew and showed us
the remarkable and expensive looking stainless steel kit on which he brews his range of beers.
As he warmed to his theme, he seemed to make his mind up. "We could maybe taste some of the products?" he suggested. We were very happy to go along with this and were treated to snifters of all the beers. Starting with Josef's Special,
a brown ale of 5.2%, named after Joseph Pschorr, a renowned member of
the famous Pschorr brewing family, which was creamy and smoky, then a Maerzen 1881
named after the year the Ice Factory in which we stood, was built, thus
allowing brewing to take place at Paulaner throughout the year.
Previously brewing couldn't happen in the summer months as beer would
spoil. This Maerzen, weighing in at 5.7%, is styled on the forerunner
of all Oktoberfest beers. It had sweet malt, caramel notes and a
smooth, elegant finish with some hops.
In a different mode altogether was Weizen Bock Mandarin
(6.9%) . This is a wheat beer made with top fermenting yeast and hopped
with Hersbrucker, Hallertauer and Mandarina Bavaria, which imparts
apricot/peach, mango and mandarin notes. The beer is also dry hopped
with Mandarina. It was slightly alcoholic with peachy fruit, tropical
mango notes and a touch of orangey mandarin. Quite delicious. Then the
alcohol was upped with Bourbon Bock (9.2%), described by
the brewer as a a Triple Ale Bock. The beer undergoes a triple
fermentation and is then stored for 3 months in oak bourbon barrels
giving it a hint of sherry, dried fruit and vanilla. It was very
warming and silky. Last up was a real treat. An Eisbock of
around 20% abv (I can't quite remember) which was liqueur smooth, thick
and lasting in the mouth. It kind of reminded me of 7 star Metaxa
Brandy. It would be a great nightcap.
We asked Herr
Zuber about himself and the Paulaner-Hacker Pschorr set up. He trained
as a brewer at Weihenstephan and used to be Head of Production and
Quality Assurance in the main brewery. In addition to his duties in the
Ice Factory, he has the responsibility nowadays of overseeing all of Paulaner's 30
odd breweries abroad and has to visit them to ensure quality. A tough job, but someone has to do it I suppose. He is a big hop fan and of course we
asked him, among many other things, about whether he'd like to brew an
IPA. "Well" he said, "I have in fact done so, here in this brewery, just to show others we can do it".
But he added you won't likely ever see a Paulaner IPA released on general sale from Paulaner- HackerPschorr, as the aim of the
Ice Factory is quite different. He again paused and thought for a
second. "Would you like to try my IPA?" Er. "Yes please"
we chorused. So we did. 100% Cascades and perhaps at the less hoppy
end of that particular spectrum, it was nonetheless a unique tasting
experience. It won't ever be released and when the keg is emptied or
goes stale, that will be that.
I have said before, brewers are generally lovely people who like to
talk about beer, but this was above and beyond that. Herr Zuber was
kindness itself, giving an hour and a half of his time to four complete
strangers. It never ceases to amaze me that beery folks are the best.
But it shouldn't really, should it?
and Hcker Pschorr don't compete against each other any more, but
rather, complement beer ranges which are separate brews and mostly
different. That was an interesting part of our visit to me at least. The top photo is Martin Zuber and the other one a not very good photo of the lovely little stainless steel Eiswerk Brauerei kit. We did go to the other brewery mentioned in my first paragraph. It took me back to my younger beer hunting days. More on that another time.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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