Do I really need to say any more? News of this upcoming Christmas release is slowly getting out. I for one couldn’t be happier. It’s not that I think Schlenkerla needs to do any tinkering to improve its product – Märzen from the wood is a perfect 5.0 beer for me. I drank it all summer long and I loved every single drop. (Especially the last one during Sandkerwa on the Obere Brucke at sunset). (Another aside: if a big cask blows after 8pm, they usually wheel out a small cask to do them for the rest of the night. These are the woodiest ones and therefore the best).
Part of why I am excited is because they are such good brewers. We have become accustomed to the best old country brewers offering limited ranges, or ranges where they really only excel at one or two things. True, they are great because of their experience and that experience may not translate to a broader range. Even at Schlenkerla the Weizen and especially the Lager are kind of lame. But then, you won’t see anybody drinking a Lager at Schlenkerla because they all know better. But I digress. The beer is always perfect, every damn time. That’s because the good folks at Brauerei Heller, up there on Obere Stephansberg Strasse are exceptionally good brewers. If they applied this considerable talent to making new brews, it stands to pretty good reason that the beer world can only benefit from such endeavour.
Consider this, when Andreas Gänstaller at Beck-Bräu in nearby Trabelsdorf set out to make a smoked bock “not like Schlenkerla” it was a massive challenge. Yet, brewing talent and creativity prevailed. It was not assumed that killer smoked bock took only one form. Indeed, Gänstaller’s Affumicator is a whole new type of smoked bock, entirely different from Schlenkerla’s and just as amazing. Now, if the people who made the original, benchmark smoked bock decided to one-up themselves, you know that the beer world is in for its second new killer bock from Bamberg Kreis this year.
Oak smoked malt instead of beech. 8% abv, much stronger than the regular Schlenkerla Bock. And they’re putting this on the wood at the ausschank in December? Dude, I need to book that ticket.
The sad truth is, though, that even though this is one going to be one of the beer world’s most anticipated releases all year I will probably miss it. It will make it to the US, but I bet by the time I do the same at the end of January I’ll be SOL. Damn. Somebody in Seattle needs to save me a keg.
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