We were treated to a very special meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House the other night. On a flying visit to the UK to judge in the International Brewing Awards in Burton-on-Trent, Hans-Peter Drexler, brewer at world famous Schneider-Weisse found time to keep us entertained.
And entertain us he did. With 30 years in the business, he knows a thing or two about the industry and beer generally; as well as possessing an unrivalled knowledge of wheat beer. Topics covered included the conservatism of Bavarian drinkers, the threat from the off-trade and what the future holds.
Of course, some beer was sampled. There were seven samples in all, coupled with German sausages and sauerkraut and finished off with smoked cheese.
Most people come to Schneider-Weisse in Britain via the Kristall variety but this is where it all started. Twenty years ago, this was still accounting for over 90% of sales. Mahogany coloured, it’s a very pleasant mix of banana, nutmeg and clove.
This is a 7.3% pale golden weizenbock. Quite refreshing; the Nelson Sauvin did a good job in balancing out the expected wheat flavours.
I’ve had this before and it’s a cracker. An 8.2% wheat doppelbock, it beautifully combines the best of both worlds; wheat flavours and a powerful citrus-pineapple hop kick.
This is another of the original Schneider beers and comes in at 8.2%. Ruby coloured, it had liquorice, plums and roast flavours. I didn’t care for it really as the buttery element dominated too much and I don’t like that in darker beer.
This was an 8.2% barrel-aged version of the above. Much richer and with vinous flavours, it was a big improvement.
A dark, reddish-brown beer that, at 12%, isn’t for the faint hearted. Tasty with very rich flavours with Christmas cake perhaps being the best analogy.
This 12% head-spinner was matured for 15 months in Pinot Noir barrels. It split opinion. The crowd that only have to hear the words “barrel-aged” to go into an onanistic frenzy loved it. Others just left it. I drank mine, but was left unmoved by its mix of wood and vanilla.
Thanks to Hans, the folks at James Clay and everyone else for a very interesting evening.