International Berliner Beer Festival 2013

This weekend I will be attending the International Berliner Beer Festival – also know as the Beer Mile – to sample some of Germany’s most famous and delicious brews, as well as many other well-known beers from abroad.

New to the festival this year will be a tent showcasing a handful of US craft brews, including Ballast Point (CA), Dogfish Head (DE), Founders (MI), Epic (CO), FIrestone Walker (CA), Boulevard Brewing (KS), Lexington Brewing (KY), Maui Brewing (HI), Odell Brewing (CO), Oskar Blues (CO), Cisco Brewers (MA), Green Flask (CA), Rogue Ales (CA), Sierra Nevada (CA), Shipyard Brewing (ME), Sixpoint Brewery (NY), Stone Brewing (CA), Victory Brewing (PA), and Woodfour (CA).

This is not the first year that american craft beer has been present at the festival. However, this is the first time the festival has advertised a craft beer tent as the main attraction. According to the official website, the Berlin Beer Academy, who is sponsoring the craft beer tent, claims that it is the biggest exhibition of US craft beers of any beer festival in Europe, and they even plan on expanding it next year.

It will be interesting to see how these american beers will be received by the crowds of germans flocking there this year. Berlin is abuzz with craft beer right now, as the local craft brewing scene is beginning to pick up steam with micro-breweris sprouting up here an there. Being an american and living in germany,  and having experienced both german and american beer culture, as well as tasted my fair share of german and american beers, I can say with absolute confidence that American beers will hold their own.

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Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager

Dont let the name fool you, this one is not the same as the so called “King of Beers” found in virtually every store in the USofA. Although they happen to share the same name, Budweiser Budvar is from quality incomparably better than its Us counterpart.

Budweiser Budvar is brewed in the village of Budweis in the Czech Republic and, therefore, does not officially qualifying as a German beer.  Although, if we go back in time – say about 150 years – what is now the Czech Republic was once part of the German Empire, so in a way you might say that Budweiser Budvar and German beer share a comm tradition. Indeed, one can find many similarities between Bohemian/Czech Pilsners and German Pils . That being said, I still believe this beer needs to be documented and appreciated, deserving to be showcased alongside the great German beers. (From time to time I will include other beers from around Europe) Budweiser is best known for its lager, and it is one of my favorite beers due to its crisp hoppy taste. The Dark Lager is one of my favorite beers on the shelf at the moment. I simply cannot get enough of it. It reminds me of Sessios Dark Lager back home.

Without further ado, I give you the beer:

.5 liter bottle poured into my Ikea chalice

Appearance – The color is dark crimson-brown. It has medium carbonation that produces a sturdy initial head which quickly dissipates leaving nothing but a few patches of bubbles on the surface.

Scent – Wow, what a beautiful, sweet, dark chocolate like aroma. Hints of coffee can be detected as well.

Taste – Like a traditional bohemian lager, it has very bitter taste, nevertheless you can still taste the sweetly smoked grains. This aspect gives the complexity of an ale.  Floral hop accents can not be detected. Overall, very well balanced.

Mouthfeel – Very full mouthfeel. On the other hand it does not have enough carbonation for my tastes.

Drinkability – Very easy to drink. This beer is better for sipping than a normal lager.

I give this beer a solid B