Friday, 23 November 2012

Grätzer lives!

Finally. I finally got to try Grätzer. A proper one brewed from the right malt, hops and yeast. I wasn't disappointed.

Last night was the launch of the Grätzer and Grodziskie I've been involved with. It all hapeened remarkably quickly, this project that's so dear to me. It's just a few months ago that the idea of brewing an historic beer together popped up at a chance meeting in Bierkoning between me, Michiel (of Jopen) and Sebastian (of Freigeist and Monarchy of Musselland). And now here they are. Real living, frothing beers.

I couldn't be more happy with them. The Grätzer combines smoke and hop in just the way the old texts describe. Light and refreshing, but full-flavoured, too. A knockout session beer that you can drink and drink and drink. You'd never think it was just 3.3% ABV from the taste. The Grodziskie is ismilar, but the willow bark somehow cancels out part of the smoke, making it seem hoppier. But another great slurper.

 The launch in Wildeman yesterday was a lot of fun. Especially the drinking bit. Lots of familiar faces showed up. I even got a round of applause for my talk, all 6 minutes of it. Yes, just 6 minutes. That's uncustomarily brief for me. (Anything under an hour is brief. I'm very hard to stop, once I get going.)

You'll have to be quick if you want to try them. There wasn't a great deal brewed and all of it has already been sold to shops and distributors. Wildeman currently has both on tap, but I've no idea how long they will last.

Disclosure time. Obviously, as I was involved in the making of this beer, I have an interest in it. I had a few free beers at the launch; one free beer and a hamburger at Jopen when it was brewed. 


Bailey said...

Congratulations! Let's hope it excites plenty of interest.

(*narrows eyes suspiciously* Any sauces with that burger? A little pot of mayonnaise you're not mentioning?)

Ed said...

Free hamburger too, eh? This celebrity beer historian thing is getting out of control.

Ron Pattinson said...

Bailey, it did come with chips. I don't do mayonnaise on my food.

Martyn Cornell said...

Chips without mayonnaise? They won't let you into Belgium if you admit to that sort of perversion.

Jeff Alworth said...

I was recently at a pub in Lovell, Maine that listed a bottle of "Grodziskie" for $14. This particular pub had a confounding habit of not including the brewery name. We tried to order it, but it had already sold out, never arrived, or something. The waitress knew bupkis about the whole thing. But I was thinking of you...

mirogster said...

Ron. I was fortunate to get my four letters in there, and having 2 'pints' of those beers.
I'd like ask you, for confirmation only, was Gratzer more hoppy or was it Grodziskie?
I got such impressions. Maybe it was poured wrongly for me?
Btw did you tasted some offlavours (I got 'slighty' rotten eggs taste) in Gratzer as well?.
Could it be some infection already, or it's just my distorted palate? :)
Btw those beers are really amazing (even if spoiled a little bit laready :( ).

Ron Pattinson said...

mirogster, some said the Grodziskie tasted more bitter, because the willow bark seemed to cancel out some of the smoke flavour.

I haven't tasted any off flavours in either the Grodziskie or the Grätzer, bottled or draught. No-one else has mentioned any off flavours to me.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mirogster, where did you try it? Was it draught or bottled?

mirogster said...

As I said, my senses could be completely wrong the other day (I had almost the same temp as the beers :)). And I tried it from the tap at Wildeman.
Damn, today I'm doing another round (to Bierkoning this time) to grab few bottles, just to make it sure.

Ron Pattinson said...

mirogster, how did the bottles turn out?

I have mine on the living room floor - maybe 2 metres from where I sit - and don't refrigerate them before drinking. I've not noticed any off flavours.

Derek Walsh, a man with a much better nose than me, said both draught versions were "clean". He's also someone who gives his real opinion.

mirogster said...

Hi Ron,
It took me ages to reply, but finally, here it is... :)
I had bottled (I actually ended up buying 2 crates of both ;) and draught versions.
IMHO bottled are better. As I mentioned previously, I'm not some sensory expert, just simple guy, loving beer ;p - but those beers from the tap...hmmm there was something strange at Gratzer.
Bottled version don't have it, I'm quite sure about that.
So, both beers are very tasty, nice balanced with interesting / intriguing character coming from smoked wheat and yeast.
Now, as I mentioned, I've bought few bottles and I'll present them soon, to few of my Polish beer geeky friends :).
Some of them already, either are brewing homebrew versions and/or tasted original Grodziskie - back then in '90s.
So far, I got feedback concerning appearance - Your version is much cloudier than the real thing. The real thing was much, much clearer. Not without reason, was also called a Polish champagne :)
I asked fellow called Zgoda about taste, mouthfeel etc. (also commenting here on other entries about Gratzer/Grodziskie - he had tasted the original btw.). And personally, out of my modest experience - I can say it's very close! :)
Anyways Ron, congratulations - excellent project, I'm really happy that I had opportunity to taste "final effect" of hard work - Yours and Your friends :).
Those will be a real treat during hot days in the summer :) Thanks and cheers !

PS. One more thing. About willow bark. At what point of the brewing process was it used?

BrianW said...

I brewed a Gratzer on Wednesday with 100% Weyerman smoked wheat malt and a ton of Saaz hops. The malt has a much lighter smoke aroma than their smoked barley malt. I'm already planning on a second batch made with home malted and smoked wheat. No willow. The OG was 1.050 (a more 19th century strength)

The recipe I used was a combination of the version in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing book and the Discover World Ale Through the Ages recipe. I used a German top-fermenting yeast (WLP036--Dusseldorf Alt yeast, which I also just used to brew a Kottbusser, also from Randy Mosher's book).

Then on Friday I went out to dinner here in Boston and the featured beer at the restaurant was Fritz Briem's Grodziskie/Gratzer! I was totally shocked. The beer didn't blow me away, but I was glad I tried it (even though they were charging $15 for a 16 oz. bottle!)

I'll let you know how my version turns out after a month of lagering to clear it up. If you're planning on coming to Boston this year I'll get you a bottle. And the Kottbusser too.

Ron Pattinson said...

BrianW, I quite liked the subdued smokiness of the Jopen Grätzer.

I'll be in Boston 16th - 22nd February.

Erlangernick said...

Coming a bit late to this, but I'm excited to try bottles of both, despite my skepticism of the combination of Hopfen und Rauch. What's the deal with the 4% on the label?

Ron Pattinson said...

Nick, the labels were printed before the beer had fermented.