20 October 2011

Rot' 'n' Hell

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.

16 comments:

  1. You're spot on with 'understated' -- not in-your-face like Jever, just clean, well made and with solid character.

    I'm beginning to think I might actually like hop extract, especially in lagers. (Although it makes me uneasy when the hopping is *only* from extract as per the cheap German beers sold in Aldi.)

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  2. They are good beers and I've drank them at source. At nearly 3 quid a pop though, not sure I'd like to buy them by the case.

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  3. Me neither. But my trade contacts tell me there are people out there who would.

    Actually, I don't think I've bought a case of any single beer since I was a teenager.

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  4. Anonymous11:20 a.m.

    My friend's brother-in-law lives beside the Black Forest and this is his local brewery. When my friend and his wife visited he got a taste for this and was delighted when it arrived here. Delight quickly turned to shock when he saw the price - he'd brought home 2 12-bottle cases of it from his holiday for €10 each!

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  5. Gah, that's not meant to be anonymous, it's meant to be me.

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  6. Ah yes, microgirl: your real name.

    Hello!

    I really don't understand why this is more expensive than other German beers.

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  7. Excellent pictures as always TBN, and that's a very nice looking glass for the Pils. Where did you pick that one up?

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  8. That's a Warsteiner glass given to me by Barry when he left Dublin for Germany. They grow on trees out there, apparently.

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  9. Märzen: a bottom-fermented beer between 13.5º (Bavaria) or 13º (Baden-Württemberg) and 14º Plato. Nothing to do with colour or any such nonsense (as some style Nazis seem to believe).

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  10. I was assessing it on breadiness. I measured it at 8.6º Hovis, which is well below the line for the style category.

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  11. I absolutely bloody love the pils. Not sure I detect as much hop in it as you suggest, but it's brilliantly drinkable none the less. Top stuff.

    BeerBirraBier.

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  12. They do have a bit of a cult following, but for good reason, I think. I've been buying by the crate, as for apres demolition beers, it's far superior to the usual Bitburger or Distelhauser (ugh), but also good value. Well, about 12 or 13 Euro for a crate of 24 bottles :) Birgit Kraft, indeed!

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  13. Living in north Baden, I should have mentioned that that's another reason for a cult following. Heimatstolz runs strong around here (even if 180km from the brewery, but it's still Baden) :)

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  14. I think it some what forgotten that is not just the big boys who use Hop extract


    A hop forward brewing company like Russian River used it for Blind Pig and the Pliny's

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  15. Barry -- Distelhauser as in from near Wuerzburg? Or is there another brewery with the same name? (We really liked their beers although, other than the wheat beer, we've not had them from the bottle.)

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  16. That's the one, Bailey. I live close enough to Würzburg, that a neighbour works there and drives a Distelhäuser van :)

    Most people I know don't like it so much. I find the Pils a little... harsh and plasticky. Still trying to pawn off the remains of a crate I bought in summer :)

    Oblivious, funny you mention that. I often get a flavour I don't like from beers with extract, but I don't get that from Rothaus Tannenzäpfle/Pils at all. Mmmm.

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