Winter Beer Day 2014


The Craft Beer Day series of events returned to the Lagerstrasse location on the 22nd of November with a promoted focus on winter beers. Despite the advertising the selection of winter beers were actually limited, but there were still plenty of interesting beers to sample. Fourteen brewers were present for the event with several coming from Berlin. There were also some familiar brewers with event staples Schneider Weisse, Aarhus, and Ratsherrn. Besides the main draw of being able to sample 10 cl and 30 cl pours for €1 and €3 respectively, the event also had workshops and live music.


The event space was already getting crowded when we showed up 45 minutes after it opened at 2:45 pm. Entrance was €3 with a €5 deposit for a Teku tasting glass. Booths dispensing beer were divided into two separate rooms connected by a small tent on one side or a hallway where the bathrooms were located. The tent also had some picnic tables set up for people to eat food and drink at. Unfortunately they were also occupied by several chain smokers. It made the small area smokey and generally not conducive to beer tasting. One of the rooms with the beer booths also had a stage for the live music. While the music played the room stayed less populated and the other began to overflow. Background music is a fun addition, but live music pumping through a PA system didn't really work.


My tasting journey started with Thirsty Lady from Heidenpeters. It was an impressive beer and a great way to start the event. It was full of flavor, low in alcohol content and easy to drink. Next I decided to head over to the Schoppe Bräu booth in hopes of trying their XPA X-Berg Pale Ale. Unfortunately they didn't have any with them, and I was told it wouldn't be ready until next week. The man at the booth suggested I try their Holy Shit, a DIPA. It had way too much alcohol and not enough of anything else to notice in the flavor. Next despite my general dislike of Ratsherrn I decided I wanted to have a sample of their West Coast IPA. It was bland and nothing like the famous brew from Green Flash or one of my personal favorite west coast IPAs, Sculpin. I was about done with the hoppy beers but decided to give the Heidenpeters American Pale Ale a try. I asked for a full glass, but there were some issues with the draft system, so I received a generous €2 pour instead. It was really good and more balanced than the Thirsty Lady. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I do believe it is what the German's would describe as lecker (well if Germans like hoppier beers at least).


My foray into samples of hoppy beers was a mixed bag, so I decided to delve into some of the darker beers available hoping to hit on several exciting options. The name Spent Maple Walnut Stout was enough to make me want to try that beer from Bierfabrik. It was okay, but I couldn't detect any maple or walnut in the nose or the flavor. I decided to have a sample of Black Monster from Aarhus next. It got my mouth headed back in the right direction with flavors of malt, chocolate, and oak. The event really started to fill up as the clock ticked past 5 pm. I decided to have a full sample of the Single Batch 4 Russian Imperial Stout from Coisbo. It was one of the better beers I tried at the event, and I found a little bit of cinnamon in the flavor. It was about time to leave, but I needed to have one more sample before I went. Schneider Weisse was pairing their pours with chocolate and this was the perfect way for me to end the event. I had their Aventinus Eisbock with a bit of chocolate with sherry in it. The chocolate and beer went amazingly together. The intense alcohol flavors were muted a bit by the chocolate and allowed the very bold and complex tastes to really shine. A part of me wished I would have just sampled all the beer and chocolate pairings from Schneider Weisse, but since I have had all of their beers before, it seemed like my time would be better spent sampling some new brewery's wares.


Overall I enjoyed Winter Beer Day, but I found the event to be way too crowded. There was a lack of seating and high top tables for taking notes or placing your beer. Walking around became difficult as the event went on and getting samples was at times even more arduous. People understandably want to talk and stand leaving others weaving through a wall of people to get to a few taps. The event has grown too popular for the event space, if it is too cold for the courtyard to tempt more patrons out of the two rooms. I'd also like to have my glass rinsed between pours, and as always I think free drinking water should be available. Despite the drawback of lack of space I will still attend these events as it gives me an opportunity to  sample a wide range of beer. I just hope next time I can actually move.









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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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