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Posts Tagged ‘Paulaner Beer’

Paulaner: Pils in a can, Weizen-Radler and Salvatore – A Bavarian Rhapsody!

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 31, 2021

I recognize that you might be confused.  Yes, you did come to the right blog.  Why am I, a local beer guy, that used to run our local brewery tour company writing about German Beers? Let me explain. I receive a lot of offers to write about food related things.  Most offers go straight to the trash can.  However, when an offer catches my eye or provides an opportunity to learn, I will accept a product to write about.  If I don’t like it, I don’t pretend to do so and the content shows it or more often I decline to write about it.  In this case, I replied back twice to two opportunities from Paulaner and I ended up at least twice removed from my promised deadline. In the case of Paulaner there are four reasons why I said yes: Memories of my youth, a Covid-caged wanderlust, a love of history, and well, duh, free beer. Well, nothing is free, writing about these beers took several hours as well as dedication to objective research.  (Side note:  The return address on each package sent to me listed a contact with the last name Stout – how appropriate).  I’m glad I said yes to my offers, because I like these beers.

Let’s start with memories of youth.  Back in the 20th century, before the second wave of craft brewing began, finding a Paulaner in a local beer shop or restaurant was a sign of luck and persistence.  The act of drinking a real beer from Germany was downright progressive.  I spent some time in Germany after I graduated from college drinking my share of Paulaner in Munich.  Paulaner was hard to find in Ohio “back in the old days”.  Today, Paulaner has a Beer Finder, which means you are one click away from discovery.  Just type in your zip code, click search and Bam!, beer.  In the case of my zip code, 37 locations have Paulaner products within 10 miles of my house. The finder even lets you drill down to which type of beer you want to find, so I typed in Paulaner Weizen-Radler to find 4 locations.

My next reason for saying yes to Paulaner, I love to travel. Parenthood combined with Covid means I’m lucky to leave my house to go pick up a pizza. Drinking a Paulaner, in a very small way, transports me to Germany for a few moments. Any beer definitely connects you to the place it was brewed through the water used, the people that crafted it and the tradition they follow. The Paulaner brewing tradition goes back to 1634.  There is some deeply hidden component of my Scottish / German ancestry that resonated with these beers (Scottish – Free, German – Beer) but more important to me was the history of the brand itself.

On the history front, Paulaner offers plenty of history, about 400 years worth.  The oldest (still operating) brewery we have Columbus is Columbus Brewing Company which has all of 40 years. Paulaner was started by monks in Munich.  When the monastery had leftover beer it was given to the poor or served in the cloister pub. In 1773, a monk commonly known as Barnabas started to brew for the order and developed techniques that were quickly adopted throughout Europe.  There are some beers named in his honor to this day. Paulaner beers were served at the first Oktoberfest celebrations and are still poured to the masked, socially distanced masses today.

Whenever I drink a new beer, I consult our local sage of fermentation, Pat Woodward of Pat’s Pints. Pat KNOWS beer.  He is a chemistry professor, home brewer, trained beer judge and prolific drinker. He has also traveled extensively writing about beers all over the world.  I found a few of his posts were helpful in my research for this review so the student (me) texted the master (him) to get some thoughts on the Paulaner Salvatore I dropped off to him.  I will include some exclusive Pat’s Pints content on the Salvatore later.

My next thought was to contact a real German.  Constantin is my former Clintonville neighbor who returned to Germany in 2019.  I contacted him for his spin on Paulaner but I made a critical error, I forgot that “Connie” is from Hamburg and living there now. In Germany, beer drinkers are fiercely locally loyal.  A real Hamburger would not be caught dead drinking a beer from Munich, unless they were in Munich.  Connie did say that if he was in Munich, he would drink a Paulaner and that is about the best compliment to be expected in this situation.

I had a brainstorm after this.  What is the next best thing to a German living in Munich?  In my case it was Cameron Lloyd, American brewer at Endeavor Brewing and Spirits.  Cameron received his brewing training in Germany so when he was not making beer, he was drinking it in travels around the country.  Although Paulaner brews massive quantities of beer, as in millions of hectoliters, much more than most German breweries, he said their quality is well respected.  It makes sense that Paulaner would distribute to 70 countries around the world, due to the uber-loyalty to local brands in each of the German states, their only way to grow is to sell outside of Germany.

Having completed my baseline investigation research, it was time to start drinking.

I started with the Paulaner Weizen-Radler (Non-Alcoholic).  This is a Hefe-Weizen with the alcohol removed (well most of it, less than .05% ABV (alcohol by volume) blended with lemon juice.  Paulaner brewed the first non alcoholic Weissbiers in the world and the radler originated in Germany, so I had high expectations for this non alcoholic malt beverage.  I was not disappointed.  This transported me to sitting in a beirgarten in Munich without the threat of a hangover or the monotony of a layover.  The Weisen-Radler was a pleasure to consume, as much as I loved it, I did to share some with my wife.  She liked her sample and was disappointed we did not have more.

Next, I moved on to the 1 pint, 9 fluid ounce, Paulaner Pils in a can.  This beer has been off the North American radar for some time.  After years of living under the shadows of mega hopped beers of the US IPA wars of the 2010’s, the Pils (Pilsner) returned to the US market in November of 2020.  The canned Pils comes in four packs. The ABV on this is 4.8% so it is very sessionable as a smooth drinking, palate pleasing all purpose beer. Pat’s Pints provides a good insight into this style he describes as the “rock stars of the lager world.” (It should be noted that while Pilsner originated in the Czech city of Pilsen, it was Bavarian brewer Josef Groll who created it there in 1842). Today Pilsners are ubiquitous as the dominant beer style around the world.  However, we have lost our appreciation of what makes this style so good because it has been dumbed down through decades of macro-level mass production (Budweiser). Drinking the Paulaner Pils did remind me of what I like about well crafted Pilsners. It was true to style, well balanced and epitomized the Paulaner motto of Gut, besser, Paulaner. (Good, better – Paulaner).

Last, and absolutely not least, I sampled the Paulaner Salvator (Double Bock). This comes in a 11.2 fluid ounce bottle with an ABV of 7.9%.  Having led brewery tours for seven years, one of the most common points of confusion came up when discussing bock beers.  They are not as common around town today, but many older beer drinkers fondly recall the bocks of their youth and those memories have faded over time. In a barley shell, Bock is essentially a lager beer that is darker due to the type of malt selected. This makes for a rich, hearty beer.  A double bock even more so with a bit more alcohol to boot.  The Bock name, derives from the style of beer that started in the northern German town of Einbeck.  As the style traveled south to Bavaria, it was misheard as ein-bock which means Billy Goat.  Concurrently Northern Italian monks found their way to the Munich to set up a monastery.  During Lent, they were not allowed to eat solid food so they started to make a lager that was darker in color using what is now often called Munich malt.  This created a darker color, a higher alcohol content with a much needed caloric boost in the beer to sustain them through the lingering days of winter.  When the monks provided some leftover bock as alms to the poor, other local brewers were outraged and started to write letters of complaint.  This dark beer push back occurred in 1634 which is considered the birth of the brewery and why the Salvatore style is strongly associated with Paulaner.  The monks originally called their creation “blessed father’s beer” and “holy oil of St. Francis,” before changing to a simpler latin term for savior – Salvator.  I’ll be turning the tasting notes over to Pat’s Pints for this beer, the bottle I drank taught me that my alcohol tolerance has declined steeply during Covid.<

Paulander Salvatore Tasting Notes from Pat's Pints:
What is the sensory experience associated with the modern iteration of this historic beer? Visually the beer is tawny brown, with reddish highlights. Running somewhat counter to my expectations for a German Doppelbock, the beer is slightly hazy. I lean in for a smell and am greeted with the aromas of caramelized sugar with background hints of fig, plum and a bit of booziness. Enough with the prelude, it’s time for a taste. The rich caramel flavors come to the fore, accented by dark fruits, something in the vein of black cherries or plums. Peeling away the layers of flavor I find something suggestive of nuts. The beer sports a medium body, not as thick as the flavors might suggest. For a beer that clocks in at nearly 8% it’s dangerously drinkable, but there is a subtle warming sensation that lingers after the first few sips. The overall impression is that of a flavor-packed winter treat, one that might just get you thinking of sugar plum fairies. Despite the perceived decadence it still retains a surprisingly high level of drinkability, just right for pairing with a hearty winter meal.

Backtracking to wanderlust, my post procrastination has allowed me to add a bonus for my loyal readership.  Paulaner is sponsoring a contest to win a trip for two to Paulaner’s Salvatorfest,  March of 2022 in Munich.  This annual festival celebrates Paulaner’s / Munich’s Stark biers (Stark being strong),  it is the oldest beer festival in the region even predating Oktoberfest. For second place, ten people will win six Paulaner glasses and a scarf.  I hope to win this trip because I really need to get out of the house.  If, not, I would be happy to see one of you win (feel free to take me as your number two).

If you are looking for Paulaner beers out and about it may take a while for old time fans to find them.  The company launched a new bottle style and labeling last year (it looks really good) which includes the Paulander name embossed on the bottles.  I am still a local drinker so when you pick up a 4 pack or six pack of Paulaner grab another six pack of Land Grant, Seventh Son, Outerbelt, Wolf’s Ridge, Endeavor, Sideswipe…… you get my drift.  Our local brewers still need our support and you could all use a drink so doubling up on your beer supply is a good way to go for 2021.

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