Monday, July 25, 2011

Beer of the Month - July

The beer of the month for July is Bitburger Braugruppe's Premium Beer {4.8% abv}. Before our European vacation took place on July 6th, I went to a local beer store and picked out a few new brews to try out. One of my pick-ups was Bitburger Premium Beer. When you see package marketing stating #1 Beer from the exporting country (Germany in this case), you typically take it with a grain of salt and move on; Fosters has been advertised as the biggest Aussie beer ever, in the US, but if you were to ask an Australian about good local beers Fosters would never come up. Now I understand there are probably twice as many beer varieties and brewers in Germany as there are music bands, but the point is Bitburger had a strong presence when we visited Germany this Summer. While in Nürburg, staying at the Dorint hotel, the in house restaurant had Bitburger Premium on draft.

Bitburger, as the biggest draft beer supplying company in Germany, understandably has a history as deep as the day is long. First origins of the now stout Bitburger Braugruppe go back to 1817 with the starting of a small brewery by Johann Peter Wallenborn. Over several generations, the company continued to change hands between descendants of Johann and continued to grow in popularity, even outside of its native Bitburg, Germany. Fast forward to 1909, Bitburger started selling one of their first pilsner brews (Original Simonbräu German Pilsener) and later secured a fresh water well which is still key to the quality of their products today. During WWII, Bitburg was bombed and the brewery was just about destroyed. Once the war was over, the three brothers who owned the company, Theobald, Hanns and Bert Simon rebuilt the factory. Bitburger flourished and by 1978, they were exporting their full-bodied brew to the United States.

Getting home to compare the US-purchased Bitburger Premium Beer, to the lovely drafts I had in Nürburg, Germany was definitely interesting. Anyone who's had a good beer in the bottle then had it on draft (or vice versa) knows there's a different feel to the draft due to carbonation levels amongst other things. In this case I was comparing a bottled export to draft in its home country. I won't go as far as saying the difference was night and day, but they varied noticeably. That said, Bitburger Premium Beer in the bottle is incredibly smooth, with refined carbonation and a great hoppy orchestra performing for your palette. This beer is light blonde in color and is a great drinking beer for the full-bodied hop connoisseur. Think of it as a better Heineken with less bitterness. Rather than 12oz bottles, six packs of Bitburger come in 1/3 liter (11.2oz) bottles. This makes little difference when it comes to enjoying a cold one. 2.5 stars.

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