Today’s little refresher is Warsteiner, a German lager. For me it’s more of a trip down memory lane than a journey to flavour country. My first encounter with Warsteiner was the summer of 2005 when I was on holiday in north Italy.
It was a beautiful mountain town with nothing to do but cool off in the river. In the evening we’d sit on the balcony, looking out across the mountains while drinking amazing wine that cost 2 Euros a bottle.
We bought the wine, along with lush Italian meats and cheeses, from the town up the road. It was a hot, dusty hike from where we were staying and about halfway there was a well placed taverna. The only beer they sold was Warsteiner, an indication of beer’s second class status in Italy (certainly at that time).
Setting is everything. It came served in a stonking stein glass; it was a thing of beauty and my favourite glass until its inevitable demise (the locals were stoic but soft hearted; we tried to buy one and they gave us two for free). The beer was crisp and sweet, with just the right amount of bitterness to cut through the dust and dirt of the road.
This bottled version, picked up from an artisanal boutique called Tesco, is floral and grassy on the nose, with a sweet body that becomes a bit lagery (that is, slightly cheap tasting), before bowing out on a lingering, gentle finish of earthy hops. A tart gooseberry flavour added a little excitement when I wasn’t expecting it, but otherwise it was a pleasant if slightly bland whistle wetter.