When I first started this blog, I think I had it in my mind that I would only review beers I haven’t had before, or at least were fresh in my mind. It only seemed fair.
But when I took a sip with this guy staring at me…
…I knew I needed to review at least one old friend. And besides, it’s been a while since I reviewed a beer, so here we go.
Appearance: See for yourself.
Almost black, light brown head, exactly as I remember. I believe this was the first beer I saw poured by putting the glass over the bottle and over-turning, and I did so tonight, and got a great pour.
I was a bit proud of myself…
Scent: Dark malts, kind of sweet. It was weird when I stuck my nose in it because it reminded me of some of the high-alcohol beers I’ve had, but without the syrupy notes nor the tell-tale signs of a needlessly high-alcohol beer.
Taste: Sweet, malty, smooth. The malts definitely have that coffee/chocolate/however you describe dark malts flavor, but it isn’t overwhelming like a stout or even a porter. It tastes exactly like what a doppelbock should; it isn’t trying to break new ground, and isn’t giving up the old ground. It’s just a fine brew.
Quality: Reinheitsgebot. It means it has four ingredients, nothing more, nothing less. It’s a purity law, and this beer follows it. I don’t drink it and think I’m getting something fancy, but I know it’s high quality stuff. Like a hand-made rustic table made by grandpa; it’s not RH Lee and it’s not IKEA, and it some ways it’s better than both.
At least for my palate.
Drinkability: I thing the one thing I didn’t realize but I should have is that the bock family are lagers, not ales. Most people, when they think lagers, think pilsners and/or island lagers, and that is a damn, dirty shame. I was horrified and ashamed that my favorite style a beer was a lager because it has become ale-elitist in the American craft brew scene. A tour guide at a brewery I like a lot said that lagers aren’t complicated likes ales, implying that they were fine for drinking a few but if you really want to be a connoisseur, you have to be drinking ales as your favorites.
It’s simply not true. Anyone who has had more than one doppelbock can tell you that lagers can be just at complex as ales; they just are much, much easier to drink. Ales don’t finish nearly as smooth as lagers, which can lead so some subtlety that lagers may not be able to match, but are also a lot harder to enjoy.
I say boo the ale snobs; doppelbock is an amazing style of beer that doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the face of its less enjoyable and more arrogant dark brother.
Stout. I was talking about stout.
So for drinkability, if you want to get someone into dark beers, doppelbock is a great place to start, and Korbinian is a great doppelbock to choose.
And $3 for 500ml ain’t bad at all.
Overall: This beer is my bar, and it has been for a long time. Anything under it is not my speed, anything over it better have a reason for being so damn fancy. Now I can’t give it an A+, though I really, really want to, because I’ve had beers that were better, and I can’t deny that. But this is just like an old par of jeans or driving grandpa’s pickup or writing in this blog: there absolutely better jeans in my drawer and better trucks in the world and better blogs on the internet, but these are mine and they are good and I love them.
Unbiased: A-. I’m trying to find something wrong with it, but I can’t. But maybe it isn’t perfect.
Biased: A. Which is just fine. I’m not perfect, either. But Weihenstephaner makes a good beer and I do good funerals. So I was told today.
Kind of an odd ending, but I find myself contemplative today. I did a funeral for a man who shared an enjoyment of simplicity, hard work, and his grandchildren with my grandfather. Neither man was refined, sophisticated, or fancy in any way, and yet they were beloved.
I don’t know if my understanding of this beer is correct, I don’t know if I get how monks think as they do their work, but something about this beer strikes me as unique, complicated in its own way, but simple and easy despite its internal complication. It is easy to drink, but it is also easy to pick up differences between this beer and its counterparts. It isn’t perfect, it probably has a weakness my nostalgia won’t allow it to see, and I’m rambling on and on about a beer, but I just find it perfect, at least for tonight.
To memories, good nostalgia, and seeing happiness despite a bit of an internal struggle.