The beer list for the Chapter Arts Maibock Festival has been released. Oddly, this isn’t apparently available on their website, which now has a Maibock page. The list is courtesy of Jordy Harris from the Grill & Barrel. I won’t steal his thunder and re-post it, so if you want to see the list you can find it there. What I will say is that it looks respectable, with a robust course of German favourites from the likes of Paulaner, Augustiner and Weihenstephan, plus a few less travelled beers like Schofferhofer and Pfungstadter.
If Jordy has posted the full list, and Chapter Arts aren’t holding anything back, then there appears to be 25 beers available in total. In my last post announcing the festival I said that last year it could have been anywhere from 30 to 100 beers. My memory was understandably hazy. However, on hearing that there were 25 beers this year it felt like a reduction. So I dug out last year’s beer list. In 2013, there were 40 beers.
This year the beer list is split into light beers, dark beers and wheat beers. Compared with last year’s menu there’s a telling gap – the “Oddities” section, which accompanied last year’s selection of light, dark and wheat beers.
German beer is a finely tuned array of well-crafted beers, no doubt, but all that pils and helles becomes much of a muchness after a while. It’s those oddities that break up the samey-ness of German beer festivals, the bocks, roggenbiers, rauchbiers, kolschs, and even the modern hybrid IPAs, that really make the event special. Last year these were present with gusto, a total of 15 oddities that also tincluded hree beers over the 6% mark. This year there are no such strong beers.
Even so, while it’s a diminished range, it’s still a helluva lot more German beer than you’re likely to see in one place without leaving the country. Some of them I know, many I don’t, so here’s the top five I’ll be looking out for. Regard these as ‘bookies favourites’ rather than sure fire tipples. The beauty of these events is that if you throw preconceptions to the wind and choose at random you may well discover some of the most wonderful beer you’ve had in a long time.
The Maibock Festival runs from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25. Times vary. See here for details.
Five German Beers to look out for (descriptions copied direct from the beer list)
- Pfungstadter Export 5.3% – A very fine example of the Dortmunder style and one of the most enjoyable Export beers. Much richer in flavour than a pilsener.
- Frankheim Alt 4.8% – A well rounded, deeply malty dark beer with a nice hop bite.
- Dom Kolsch 4.8% – An excellent example of the Cologne brewing style. Refreshing flavour, very slight bitterness, some black pepper and good malts.
- Pfungstadter 1831 Schwarzbier 5.3% – A black lager which possesses a deep aroma of plums and roasted nuts. The flavour is sweet, with caramel notes dominant.
- Weihenstephan Dunkel Wiesse 5.3% – Smells like a fruit-garden, tastes like sweet bread, bananas, oranges and clove. This is a work of wheat beer art!