Tag Archives: Germany

154. Ayinger Celebrator

There are countless Scottish beers on the list which we’ve yet to track down. It’s also long overdue that I should pay a visit to the Official Threehundredbeers Mother, who lives somewhere in the middle of Scotland that I couldn’t necessarily point to on a map. It’s time to hit the road again.

We’ll break up the journey by stopping off in Edinburgh for a couple of nights. It’ll be a nostalgic sort of visit, as I spent five penniless years in Edinburgh as a student, slightly longer ago than I’m entirely comfortable admitting to myself.

The city seems to have a thriving beer scene these days, with The Bow Bar enjoying a particularly good reputation. Where better to tick off a couple of fine Scottish ales?

The Bow Bar, Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Of course, I’ve made all of this effort to get to Scotland only to walk haplessly into the middle of the Bow Bar’s “German Bier Festival”, with the pub currently boasting a terrific tap and bottle lineup of rare and delicious German treats.

Happily enough, the bottle menu includes Ayinger Celebrator, a strong Bock-style beer from Aying in Bavaria, one I’ve struggled to find in London so far. So no complaints from me.

Ayinger Celebrator at the Bow Bar

As a Bock, this is technically a lager, although you wouldn’t know it to look at it. Celebrator pours dark and thick, with a modest tan froth, sticking to the glass as you gently swirl it around.

Maybe I’m just excited to be on holiday, but this seems to me to be lovely stuff. There is a detectable hint of lageriness in there somewhere, but it’s hidden well by rich, sinister toffee and caramel, dried fruits such as dates and raisins, and a potent, warming hit of booze.

German Bier Festival Menu at the Bow Bar

The 6.7% payload is well-integrated though. The malting is rich and sweet—enough to remind me of those Scottish ales that I came here for in the first place—and there’s a lasting, slightly smoky finish. What a complex beer this is, and one to take your time over and savour. Happy days, and a completely unexpected find for the project.

This is a great pub, too. I never drank in the Bow Bar as a student, but it’s the sort of place I’d barely leave if I lived nearby these days. Thanks, chaps.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brauerei Aying, Aying, Germany
Style: Bocks
Strength: 6.7% ABV
Found at: The Bow Bar, Victoria Street, Edinburgh
Serving: 330ml bottle

128. Jever Pilsener

Time for another visit to Germany. Well, to a pub in South London, to be more accurate. But Zeitgeist is a German-run pub with a good range of German beers that aren’t always easy to find elsewhere, and it’s a very pleasant place to while away a quiet weekend afternoon.

Jever Pilsener is fairly accurately named: it’s a Pilsner, which the Germans spell Pilsener and it’s from Jever which, I learn, is the capital of the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Jever Pilsener at Zeitgeist London

There are no surprises in the looks department, with Jever Pilsener pouring a standard lagery straw-like colour with a hearty dose of white froth that hangs around tenaciously.

It smells kind of lagery too and a little malty, though there’s a distinct whiffiness typical of a beer that’s spent a fraction too long exposed to daylight, which can occasionally be a problem with green glass bottles.

This one tastes alright though. Still, Jever Pilsener is in many ways your standard continental lager, and there isn’t a great deal more that one can say about it. It’s a high quality example of the style, certainly. It’s relatively complex, well-balanced, and there’s quite a pleasing crisp, dry citrus aspect to it that’s quite moreish.

Not that a second bottle was a foregone conclusion, as the gassiness so typical of the style soon became slightly tiresome, and quite frankly there are more interesting beers to be sampled at Zeitgeist.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever, Jever, Germany
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 4.9% ABV
Found at: Zeitgeist, Black Prince Road, London SE11
Serving: 500ml bottle

125. Duckstein Original

The last Alt beer that we came across—Diebels Alt—turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I think that’s still the only example of this venerable German beer style that I’ve actually tried, so this one should be interesting.

Duckstein Original Cap Detail

Whilst Alt beers are more typically associated with the Düsseldorf area, Duckstein Original hails from Hamburg. Well, in truth this bottle comes from the internet, and I’ll admit I know almost entirely nothing more about the brewery. We’d better crack on and drink it.

Duckstein Original

There’s that warm chestnut colour again, and a smallish tan head. The aroma is dark and fruity, and unexpectedly reminiscent of a Belgian-style Trappist Dubbel such as La Trappe Dubbel.

That comes across in the flavour too. It’s lower in ABV though at 4.9%, and so a great deal more gluggable than a Dubbel, and very refreshing. It’s a great winter beer all the same, with that fruity warmth from the malts and slightly spicy notes from the subtle hops. There’s added complexity from the beer being matured over beechwood chips.

A very nice beer, all in all, and again it strikes me that it’s a real shame that you very rarely find this style of beer on tap in the UK. I think people would like it.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Duckstein, Hamburg, Germany
Style: Alt and Amber Beers
Strength: 4.9% ABV
Found at: Beers of Europe
Serving: 500ml bottle

122. Paulaner Salvator

Without doubt, Lowlander has been a valuable ally on this journey. I’ve found several beers there already, and we haven’t quite exhausted the impressive beer menu just yet.

While many of Lowlander’s beers tend to be Belgian or Dutch, this one from Munich in Germany has recently appeared on the menu. It’s a Bock, and while I still don’t fully understand what that is, I know it’s technically a lager, though nothing at all like the usual pale Eurofizz.

Paulaner Salvator at Lowlander, London

Paulaner Salvator is in fact a Doppelbock, so it weighs in at a quite respectable 7.9% ABV. I’m told that it’s brewed with wheat, though it doesn’t appear particularly cloudy. Instead it’s a warm, rich chestnut colour with the slightest trace of caramel froth on top.

It’s lovely stuff, being smooth and deep with unctuous toffee and butterscotch flavours and sultana-like fruit. There are spicy notes too, similar to those found in a rye IPA.

The full body and richness remind you that the beer was originally brewed by Franciscan monks to sustain themselves through the period of Lent, and only later sold to the public to raise funds for the monastery.

For its fairly hefty alcohol payload, it’s surprisingly easy drinking and slips down a treat. All in all, Paulaner Salvator is a very pleasant change from the usual, and a beer I’m sure I’ll be enjoying again before long.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei, Munich, Germany
Style: Bocks
Strength: 7.9% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

111. Berliner Kindl Weisse

It’s been quite some time since we ticked off a beer from the Wheat Beers section of The Book, and even longer since we tackled a sour beer. Thankfully, the magnificently cornucopial BottleDog have recently had Berliner Kindl Weisse, a sour German wheat beer, in stock.

Berliner Kindl Weisse

I learn from Official Threehundredbeers German Correspondent Carmen that in Germany this kind of beer would typically be enjoyed in the summer, and mixed with herbal or fruit flavoured syrups. It’s certainly summer here, but I wouldn’t know where to find woodruff flavour MIXcups in this country.

Maybe it’s better to simply find out what the beer tastes like first anyway.

I’m also informed that “Kindl” is a regional term meaning “child”. I dread to think what the well-meaning party poopers at the Portman Group would make of that, not to mention the charming little picture of a thirsty looking toddler on the label.

Berliner Kindl Weisse

Berliner Kindl Weisse seems an unusually golden straw colour for a wheat beer, but then I’m reminded of the Kernel’s Berliner Weisse version of their London Sour, which was much the same colour. There’s a healthy dose of white froth that disappears quickly.

To smell, it’s a pungently sour beer, and I certainly can’t imagine the aroma or indeed the taste appealing to children. It’s a relentlessly dry beer, which complements the face-puckering sourness well. The result is hugely refreshing.

It’s light and effervescent too, quite unlike the cloying, musty Belgian-style wheat beers such as Hoegaarden. No, this is in a different league. There are notes of vanilla ice cream, sherbet and citrus fruit, without being in any way sweet.

I like it a lot, and I’m not sure I’d want to flavour it with fruity syrups at all. Perhaps one day, purely for research purposes, but otherwise this is definitely a beer I’d buy again to keep in the fridge ready for a hot afternoon.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Berliner-Kindl-Schultheiss-Brauerei GmbH, Berlin, Germany
Style: Wheat Beers
Strength: 3.0% ABV
Found at: BottleDog, Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X
Serving: 330ml bottle

94. Diebels Alt

This bottle of Diebels Alt is the second beer from that Beers of Europe case I mentioned when we met Švyturys Ekstra. It’s also the first beer to be covered here from the Alt and Amber Beers chapter of The Book.

Diebel Alt - cap

Which is terribly exciting, not least because I don’t really know a great deal about the style at all. I know that Alt is a German style, and a little light reading tells me that it’s predominantly brewed in and around Düsseldorf, just as this one is.

Interestingly, it turns out that the Alt style predates the widespread proliferation of lager in Germany. That’s intriguing, because one tends to associate Germany strongly and almost exclusively with lagers such as Kölsch, perhaps with a few strange wheat beers thrown in for variety.

Which has me wondering what we’re in for. We’d better give this a try, then.

Diebels Alt

Diebels Alt immediately surprises me by coming out of the bottle remarkably dark. Held up to the light, it’s a really deep copper colour with a creamy white head.

In fact, it looks more like an English bitter than anything I had expected from Germany. Perhaps I shouldn’t have chilled this one overnight.

The beer smells deep and malty, a little like an ESB, but with a faint hoppy aroma that becomes distinctly peppery when you get your nose right in there.

And it tastes pretty blooming good, to be fair, especially after a long day at work. It’s dark and slightly sinister, with those peppery flavours coming through strongly and complementing the plentiful rich dried fruit notes. There’s a tiny hint of orange too, again reminding me of an ESB, in particular Fuller’s.

There’s a big old bitter finish, and a very modest degree of fizz, so despite being full of flavour, Diebels Alt is hopelessly easy-drinking. You never seem to see beers like this on tap in the UK, but it could be a great session pint, particularly served from a keg.

Well I never. That was all a bit of a pleasant surprise, and I wouldn’t mind another just now. Still, there was another Alt in that case, so I imagine we’ll be seeing that one in these pages before long.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brauerei Diebels, Issum, Germany
Style: Alt and Amber Beers
Strength: 4.9% ABV
Found at: Beers of Europe
Serving: 500ml bottle

88. Köstritzer Schwarzbier

It’s long overdue that I should make my first visit to the Holborn Whippet, a craft-focused beer and food pub in Sicilian Avenue.

I’ve been a big fan of the Whippet’s sister pub, the Pelt Trader on Dowgate Hill, since it opened while I worked in the City, and who I know happen to keep this beer on tap continuously.

However, the Pelt Trader is closed on Saturdays and Threehundredbeers is thirsty, so to the Holborn Whippet it is, for a pint of this slightly rare, yet reasonably-priced Black Lager from somewhere deep in the German countryside.

Köstritzer Schwarzbier at the Holborn Whippet

Poured from a tap embedded in a brick wall behind the bar, Köstritzer Schwarzbier looks more like a stout than a lager, being such a deep red colour that it appears black until you hold it up to the sunlight, with a thick tan head.

And yet a lager it is, being cold-fermented, while it gets its colour from being made with roasted malts, just as a stout is.

The first taste is smooth, sweet and malty, with very little in the way of hop bitterness. The beer is full of big date and dried fruit flavours, with a noticeable burst of what I can only describe as lageriness at the end.

Finally there’s a slightly roasty, bitter finish courtesy of those dark malts. The result is broadly similar to a Vienna lager, such as Brooklyn Lager, but with all the flavours turned up a bit.

There’s a lot going on which, when combined with the unfamiliarity of the style, makes for a slightly odd beer experience. It’s very drinkable, but perhaps a little too rich for me to want to drink more than a pint or two.

I can’t see this one becoming a regular favourite of mine, but I’m glad I’ve had the chance to try it, and so big thanks to the Holborn Whippet for stocking a beer that very few other bars do.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei, Bad Köstritz, Germany
Style: Black and Dark Lagers
Strength: 4.8% ABV
Found at: The Holborn Whippet, Sicilian Avenue, London WC1A
Serving: Keg, pint

73. Augustiner Hell

Perhaps I missed a trick by not covering this Munich-brewed lager during October. Or at least during Oktoberfest, much of which—in a rare departure from the traditional Teutonic common-sense approach to matters—is in September.

In fact, this one had been sat around the kitchen for a while before I noticed the Mindestens haltbar bis Ende date on the bottle. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds fairly sure about it, so we’d better get a move on.


Behind that quite handsome, ornate label sits a predictably pale, golden lager with a thinnish head of white froth which doesn’t hang around.

On cracking open the bottle and pouring, there’s a strong waft of a beery, slightly stale aroma that’s neither alluring nor especially offputting.

There isn’t a great deal of flavour of course: German lagers tend to be made for drinking by the Steinful and getting heartily yet pragmatically sloshed in the Bierkeller rather than savouring slowly by the fire.

There’s a sort of maltiness in there somewhere, along with some strangely sharp-tasting fruit notes, but not even the faintest hint of hops, at least to my palate, which admittedly is more accustomed to gigantic American-style IPAs and whatnot.

All in all, Augustiner Hell isn’t an unpleasant beer by any means, and might be quite refreshing if drunk chilled in the Biergarten in the Munich sun, but it’s hard to get excited about this one.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Augustiner-Bräu, Munich, Germany
Style: Pale Lagers
Strength: 5.2% ABV
Found at: City Beverage Company, Old Street, London EC1
Serving: 500ml Bottle

52. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

Every so often, along comes a beer that takes me far outside my comfort zone. This is just such a beer, and I have very little idea what to expect.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier hails from Bavaria, Germany and is a smoked beer. Smoked beers are made much like any other, except that the barley malt is infused with smoke from wood fires prior to mashing.

I’ve very little experience with this style of beer, beyond having once accidentally ordered a pint of Anarchy’s Smoke Bomb, which was so over the top as to be rather charming, and Beavertown’s much more subtle, and remarkably smooth, Smog Rocket.

Let’s see how this rather authentic looking beer compares to those two upstarts.


On cracking open the bottle, there’s an instant, ominous smoky aroma, and I’m reminded strongly of Lapsang Souchong tea. The beer pours a sinister and not entirely appetising dark greyish brown colour.

It tastes absolutely awful, of course. The use of smoke is in no way restrained, providing an unpleasantly bitter taste that sticks in your mouth and nose for hours afterwards. You can’t taste the underlying beer, as its flavour is completely obscured by the smoke. Apparently this one started life as a Märzen, but there’s no way of knowing that without reading the label.

The experience is reminiscent of sucking on charcoal or a burnt log, which is not my idea of a good time. The brewers have tried to tame the smokiness a little by upping the sweetness, but it just muddies the flavours and makes the beer sickly and cloying.

I’m sure there’s a lot of love and craft goes into Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, and the brewers are no doubt extremely proud of it, but it isn’t to my tastes. To be frank, if it weren’t for my dedication to the 300 Beers challenge, and to both of my readers, this one would be going down the sink.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brauerei Schlenkerla, Bamberg, Germany
Style: Smoked Beer
Strength: 5.1% ABV
Found at: Utobeer, Borough Market, London SE1
Serving: 500ml Bottle

47. Bitburger Pils

It’s time to add a new category to the site, as we come to try our first Pilsner so far. In this case it’s a Pilsner not from Pilsen, or even from the Czech Republic, but from Bitburg, Germany.


Bitburger Pils pours a dark golden colour with an almost negligible amount of white foam. What there is doesn’t stick around for long. There’s a toasty malt aroma with the faintest whiff of hops.

Bitburger is slightly fuller-bodied than is typical for a lager, and better for it. A good malty backbone is present to underpin the nicely balanced bitterness and sweetness, and it’s all followed by a long, dry finish.

I’m secretly enjoying this one more that I tend to expect from a lager. Bitburger is a very gluggable yet satisfying beer. Whilst I wouldn’t pass over a good ale or stout for it, this is a very pleasant beverage to drink straight from the fridge on a summery evening like this one.

Another enjoyable beer, and there will be a few more Pilsners along in due course, including some actually from Pilsen, so it’ll be interesting to see how Bitburger measure up against those.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH, Bitburg, Germany
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 4.8% ABV
Found at: Bossman Wines, Lordship Lane, London SE22
Dispense: 330ml Bottle