Upsetting My Forefathers

Eno Sarris, January 28, 2014

My passport says I'm German, but my beer fridge says I'm American. I did come to this country many years before I had my first beer, so maybe it's not a surprise.

It isn't quite right to say that I've turned my back on German beers completely. Part of the reason for BeerGraphs' existence is that I felt that pilsners were getting short shrift from ranking systems and that there should be more emphasis on ranking within style. So you have pilsners to thank for Style+.

And I have some semi-regular German beers in my rotation. One of my favorite beers of all time is the Pinkus organic Ur Pils -- I just really enjoy the dirty pilsner because it's refreshing but has taste. You can have many of them, especially on a warmer day, it won't tire you out, but it's not nothing. And I remember my beer drinking in Germany fondly. On our last trip to the country, my wife and I enjoyed many fine German pilsners.

I can't remember the name of one of them, or I can't remember them specifically.

And so, this past weekend, when my wife and I took the child to a local biergarten -- Gourmet Haus Stadt in Redwood City -- some of those thoughts came back to me. Weihenstephan Anno, Gaffel Koelsch, Aechte Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Radenberger Pils... I asked for tasters, I tried. I knew my German forefathers were looking down on me with frowns. I tried again. I reached for an old favorite because it was all I really wanted.

Koestritzer Schwarzbier. Lovely and nutty, especially on tap. Well-balanced, easy to soiffe.

When the bratwurst and potato pancakes (with applesauce!) arrived, though I needed another beer,  I turned my back on my heritage. Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge, for eight bucks, paired so well with my food that I didn't care.

Not my fault the Germans are stuck trying to perfect the wheel. I'd rather try the new stuff.

With a notable exception.

Koestrizter Schwarzbier

Appearance = 3.5/5

Dark, with a nice head of foam at first. Good lacing, as you can see from the header. Can't see the bubbles, really, but it's not black black, more of a dark malty brown, reddish in the light. Almost black.

Smell = 4/5

Malt bomb. Malt malt malt, some roast. You might think you were about to drink a stout.

Taste = 5/5

Great malty roast, some sweetness, could be vanilla. Some nuts. But it ends grassy and light. Thick and thin.

Mouthfeel = 4.5/5

Thick and thin again. Thick up front, finishes light. Cream then crisp.

Overall = 4.5/5

The king of they dark lager style. My German family would scoff if I called this the best German beer I know, but what can I say. I am who I am.