20 Jul 2009

More than expected

Stefan, a.k.a Quack-Duck, is a fellow beer enthusiast and, for some time, beer blogger from Germany. A couple of months ago I met him and his friend whose name a I can't remember (sorry) to spend a very pleasant afternoon drinking and talking about beer.

Stefan brought me a sample of one of his favourite beers. Tettnanger Coronator, which he gave me wrapped in compliments. Now, my friend knows his beer, and knows it well, specially the German stuff, and I don't think he's the kind of guy who spreads compliments like the wind spreads seeds. So this was sure going to be a beer that I would really like. Right?

Right?

Kronenbrauerei Tettnang is located in the region where the Tettnang noble hops are grown. Something like Pivovar Žatec in the Czech Rep. Their Coronator, a Salvator - oops! Dopplebock(*) - with 7.2%ABV pours a pretty dark shade of ocre and it's topped by a compact head that doesn't last too long. The nose is greeted by notes of dried fruit, plums, apricots, and strong caramel, but it all feels fresh and summery. The mouthfeel is silky, full bodied without being too dense. It's a beauty that caresses the palate. It's a quite complex beer, too. It's not too intense at first, it goes in with mild caramel and fruit, grows with black sugar and ends slightly dry with a touch of cherry conserve. Of the relatively high ABV, there is no news while you drink it. A wonderful beer, one of those strong lagers you can drink one after another, only to regret it the day after.
At no time I felt a strong presense of the Tettangner hops. Not that I can identify them, but I didn't feel a lot of hops at all, and I don't think they will use any other kind. Unlike the pale lagers from Žatec, here I see it as a good thing. The beer is a wonder of balance. The hops here work like an aromatic herb added just in the right amount to a sauce, it doesn't take centre stage, but still helps to finish up the product. Anyway, I couldn't help but think that one of those "innovative brewers" so celebrated by many would have been very tempted to ruin this beer by turning it into a Hopfenbombe.

Another thing I couldn't help but think while I enjoyed this beauty is that it wouldn't have been too out of place among those Baltic Porters I tasted in March. In fact, with 7.2%ABV is very likely that Tettangner Coronator is fermented at 18° Balling, which would put it in the Porter bracket for the Czechs. Interesting how styles can sometimes be so relative.

Thanks Stefan. You were right. Tettangner Coronator is a fantastic beer. I would say it's the German I've liked the most so far. Doesn't anyone want to import it?

Na Zdraví!

(*)Before Zacherlbrauerei, today Paulaner, hijacked the name Salvator was a beer style, not a brand.

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2 comments:

  1. Glad you liked it! Next time I can bring you some more beer from southern Germany! See you! qd

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  2. I'm heading over to Berlin in two weeks for the big beerfest there. Generally I'm not into stronger beers (Kout and Master 18 excepted), but I'm tempted to keep an eye out for this one...

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