They have a bit of a cult following, the Rothaus beers. Perhaps that explains why they cost over €3 when they arrived in Dublin. The branding is retro and the bottles have had more than one trip through the brewery, but is the beer inside as steadfastly old-fashioned?
Well obviously I've no idea how German beer tasted back in the good old days -- you'll have to ask Ron about that -- but Rothaus Pils definitely shows that some time has been taken over it. Never mind the Hopfenextrakt on the ingredients list, the hop flavours in this beautifully rich gold lager are fresh, green and slightly spicy. They're balanced by a big sweet malt base, laid on thicker than you might expect for a mere 5.1% ABV. Best of all, the carbonation is low, allowing the smooth heavy beer to glide over the palate and slip down the throat spreading hop goodness along the way.
A tough act for Rothaus Märzen Export to follow. I'm not sure if it's any darker than the pils. It's only marginally stronger than it at 5.6% ABV. I was expecting big breadiness, but it's much more subtle than that. It's heavy, smooth and really satisfying to drink, but it's hard to pin down anything distinctive about the flavour. A little bit of dry grain, some mild alcoholic heat, but not a whole lot else stands out. From my limited understanding of these styles I'd guess it's far closer to being an Export than a Märzen.
On to the Rothaus Hefe Weizen, an opaque bright orange shade and is as breezy as it looks. None of your heavy banana notes in this 5.4% ABV package, just some zesty orange and a light gunpowder spice at the back of the throat. Another smooth easy-drinker, this.
The Pils is the standout beer for me, but it's understated end-to-end quality with all this lot. If you're looking for a house lager in particular, these are worth buying in by the case.