Friday Beer Review

Friday, January 25, 2008

Well finally it's going to happen. I've been stymied at every turn by flaky cable modems, busy work schedules and holidays (which are extended a bit for me since my birthday is Jan-5th). After all this time, though, I'm finally going to get the beer review I've had written for nearly three weeks up.

Though it's a little less timely now, I was inspired by the latest issue of BeerAdvocate magazine. This latest issue was all about "Top 25". Top 25 Beers, Top 25 Beer Bars, Top 25 Belgian Beers... etc. So I decided to find something from one of the top 25 lists and review that, until I realized that in my little backwoods backwards hick town, finding one of the 25 best beers from anywhere would be damned hard... but I was wrong. I stumbled upon a gem: Aventinus, the #4 German Beer.

Aventinus is a Weizenbock, one of two styles that I casually group together into "Dark Wheat Beer". The other style is Dunkel Weizen, which is more technically a "Dark" wheat beer, as WeizenBock is a "Strong" wheat beer. Either way, these styles are fairly similar in that they are dark colored beers made from predominately wheat malt, with very light Noble Hops for bittering, and fermented using a Weizen yeast, the yeast that gives us the funky clove and banana flavors. This is a style of beer that is made mostly in Germany, I've not had too many American examples, and I wasn't overly impressed with them. Only three more of these two styles made it into the "Top 25 German Beers" list; #6 Plank Bavarian Heller Weizenbock, #11 Weihenstephaner Heffeweissebeer Dunkel (my spell check is going nuts at this point) and lastly #25 Weihenstephaner Vitus. I've had the first two, and they're pretty good, but they can't hold a candle to Aventinus!! So on to the Nitty Gritty:

Aventinus pours like a Belgian, kind of frizzy and frothy. Middlish dark creamy colored head recedes slowly and leaves a thick covering of foam and a good thick ring. (I have pictures, but I'm at work so I'm trying to be fast) Light shows through deep amber edges with a dark, ruby-brown middle. Beautiful stuff, makes me thirsty all over again just thinking of it (/Sopor pours another cup of green tea to hold off the urge to run home for beer... doesn't work very well/)

My nose was kind of stuffy when I was drinking this, but I could smell hints of banana over a base of musky wheat and dark fruit, prunes and figs.

Aventinus is absolutely incredible, marvelously rich and complex. Up front is dark fruit like plums, and Mission figs. The stinging of the fizzy CO2 gives way to cloves and banana esters overlaying a deep dark whole wheat bread flavor that nothing else on earth can replicate. The interplay between the spicy clove and sweet banana esters and the rich musky wheat bread is masterfully balanced and very delicate. It makes me want more and more. I know the hops are there, I can just taste their balancing bitterness in the delicate lingering aftertaste.

The body is smooth, almost slick but not at all thick, very pleasant on the tongue and broken up by the lively, but not too strong carbonation.

An incredible beer Aventinus is. By all rites the best beer of it's style, and the fourth best beer from Germany. A 1 pint 6.9 fluid ounce bottle can be had for around $3-5, and I think that's a HELL of a deal.

Since I don't have pictures, I'll give you one hint to help locate this at your local beer mecca. It's in a brown bottle with purple label and gold or silver (can't remember now) writing. At the local beer mecca that many of you frequent, it should be in one of the first three coolers on the back wall. Maybe even the fourth, but pretty close to all the big bottles on the left.


Smitty 3:15 PM  

Great review sopor.

I had this or the first time, believe it or not, about a year ago and was astonished. I have never been let down by any other beers from this brewery.

Rickey Henderson 10:43 AM  

Nice stuff--that sounds downright awesome.

Sopor 12:03 PM  

So here's a funny tidbit too... I've been having problems with my internet connection, but being the well-trained IT man I am, I couldn't figure it out...

Then my girlfriend did, I had a bad network cable =(

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