Tag Archives: Germany

Sierra Nevada Riegele Oktoberfest. 

Sierra Nevada

Chico, CA

In collaboration with

Brauhaus Riegele

Augsburg, Germany

Get excited about this one. Sierra Nevada and Riegele have teamed up for an Oktoberfest beer which they’ve been touting for a while. Sierra has never made a bad beer and Riegele is one of the best German houses that is not often seen Stateside. 

The color is surprisingly light, straw with more honey than copper. A crystalline white head appears but sinks quickly. Steady fine carbonation maintains a nice lace though. 

The nose is more Riegele than Sierra, but as a fest beer, that’s a good thing. Some sweet biscuit notes and not a lot of hop to start. However, a faint Noble grassiness lurks in there somewhere. 

The mouthfeel is as expected – full with no cloying. That delicate effervescence is perfect, exciting the palate without overwhelming the senses; it carries the flavor gently. A touch of honey and lemon hit first but even out with some chewy bagel breadiness that turns crispy before rounding out with a flicker of cut grass that finishes with that lemon that kicked things off. 

You won’t find a better fest beer made here. Coinciding with the start of football season, this beer makes the departure of summer bearable. 


Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfenweisse

Kelheim, GER/Brooklyn, NY

This is the collaboration between Hans-Peter Dresler of Schneider Brewery, and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. They have made a weissebock but have added American hops, namely Amarillo, Cascade, Palisades, and Willamette. This brew was one of Draft’s Best Beers of the Year.

Hopfenwiesse pours a burnished yet hazy gold, darker than straw and maybe with a hint of orange like a setting sun. The clarity is actually pretty good, but without the bottom of the glass and the yeast flocculation.

A high white head sits atop the beer, collapsing to a fine layer, but leaving behind some dense lacing.

The nose has the expected banana aroma, but it is fainter than you might think. There are richer, earthier smells in there, too. There is vanilla, and even a bit of stone fruit like over-ripe peaches. This is probably the citrus and pine hops mingling with the bubblegum and coriander of the wheat beer.

The mouthfeel is excellent, full but not overly creamy; clean, but not thin. Initially, you get some hops, rising very quickly as wintergreen, but giving way even faster to a coriander vapor, and a slightly sweet, very rich twang that hints at those stone fruits. The finish is less hoppy than you might expect, though it nicely tempers the fruity chewiness that hits the sides of your tongue.

Overall, you know this beer packs a punch – you can taste it in the trippel-like quality of the swallow. This is one to sample if you can get your hands on it – it can appeal to the beer snob, the wheat beer fan, and fans of Belgian beers (even though it’s a “Bavarian” brew). It won’t satisfy hopheads looking for a dose of Brooklyn’s medicine, but they should appreciate it’s bold mastery of the secret of steel.

Shiner Frost

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX

The Dortmunder style was initially brewed in Dortmund (!!!), Germany, for the city’s coal miners. With the popularity of Pilsner, the once darker Dortmunder gave way to a paler sample.

The pour is a very rocky, sudsy head which soon dips down to the surface, even in this kolsch glass which often puffs up the foam. The color is straw with just a touch of deep gold , like a summer morning. The clarity is beyond excellent, like a pilsner, but not quite as pale.

Steady carbonation is uneven, both larger globules and fine, widely-spaced pearls from the inside out.

The nose is very malty, even sweet like cotton candy and burnt honey. Some faint powdery citrus notes – like Tang or powdered Gatorade – come through just slightly and hopefully hold some hop pop.

The mouthfeel is good, and the first sip gives a softer malt presence than initially considered. However, it is certainly not absent and rides smoothly over the tongue with a mixture of soft vanilla and hard water. There is a taste of mineral water to the brew, very much like a crisp pilsner, but with slightly more malt body.

The finish is all tangy hops, with overtones of pepper and spices like rosemary and parsley. It is a very nice crisp finish to a beer that is surprisingly full-bodied. I wouldn’t say it is necessarily complex, but it is not uninteresting. Certainly, this is a quaffable beer that you can enjoy a few of. It may just be the Welsh in me, but I really like this beer and you don’t need to have gutted it out in a coalmine to enjoy it.

Koenig Pilsener

Duisburg, Germany

I tried this one a few months ago. The supermarket evidently had a huge shipment is as they had tons and tons of half-liter-can four-packs. I picked up four pack and gave it a whirl.

A beautiful white head is billowing and leaves a very nice lace. The color is straw with steady carbonation and good clarity. The nose also has some hints of straw and hops, probably Saaz. The first sip is very clean with a faint metallic taste that is, oddly, not unpleasant. The hops are evident through the grassiness which lends an odd, sourness through the swallow. It would be a good session beer, as it is a crisp, low-ABV pils, but the strength of the grassy notes in the finish might be tough to deal with in excess. This beer might be best when paired with a meal (like a classic German pretzel with mustard) which might make the green tartness a welcome palate cleanser.