Monday, 7 September 2015

Braustolz beers

Another day, another brewery from the former DDR.

And from a town that sort of exemplified the DDR, it being the one they changed the name of: Karl-Marx-Stadt, or Chemnitz as it’s once again called. I’m still getting used to the name Chemnitz, even after 25 years. Hardleers, is what the Dutch would call me. (Not sure what a correct English translation of that would be.)

Friedrich August Kupfer founded the Feldschlösschen Brauerei in 1868. It was an early example of the new Lager breweries established in the North of Germany. The breweries which would sweep away the old top-fermenting styles of the region. Later it adopted the name Braustolz.

As a relatively large business, Braustolz left private ownership in the first round of nationalisations in the 1950’s and became VEB Brautolz. At the time there were five breweries in Karl-Marx-Stadt, of which one other, Schloß was also nationalised  and three privately owned, Einsiedler, Germania and Reichenbrand. Surprisingly, both Einsiedler and Reichenbrand are still in business.

In the second round of nationalisations in 1972, all five breweries were grouped together as the VEB Getränkekombinat Karl-Marx-Stadt. Lumping together all the breweries in a region into one group was a feature of the late DDR.

In the 1990’s, Braustolz was bought by the Kulmbacher Brauerei. One of my least favourite in Franconia, if I’m honest. Though it has continued to operate the brewery in Chemnitz. It currently produces beer under the brads Braustolz and Kappler (named after the part of Chemnitz where the brewery is located). It brews around 150,000 hl a year. This is their current range:

Braustolz beers in 2015
Beer style OG Plato ABV
Braustolz Helles Lager Helles 9.7 4%
Braustolz Pilsner Pilsner 11.1 4.9%
Braustolz Landbier Helles 11.7 5.2%
Braustolz Schwarzbier Schwarzbier 12 5.2%
Braustolz Spezial Export Export 12.1 5.4%
Braustolz Bockbier Dunkler Bock 16.1 6.6%
Braustolz Doppel-Caramel Doppel-Caramel 0.0%
Kappler Braumeister Export 5.2%
Kappler Festbier Festbier 5.4%
Braustolz website

A couple of interesting beers in there. I’m amazed that they still brew Doppel-Caramel, though it can’t be the same as the DDR-period version, as that contained some alcohol. The Helles Lager has a very odd gravity for a German beer. Being under 11º Plato, it doesn’t count as a Vollbier. Though the high degree of attenuation means that it’s probably almost the same ABV as their old Hell.

The Pilsner and Bock are most likely the beers that have changed the least. Landbier is a popular, but essentially meaningless, name. All sorts of beers of different strengths and even colour have the name plonked on them. I guess the idea is to make it sound like an old-fashioned country beer. Schwarzbier also tells a story. I can’t recall there being any example, other than Köstritzer. There may have been, but I’ve never even seen a label for one. The style has grown in popularity since reunification and many breweries in Saxony make one.

Brauerei-Adressbuch, 2014/2015


Phil said...

On the town name signs for Manchester it used to say "Twinned with Leningrad and Karl-Marx-Stadt". It didn't actually say "So that's us for you" underneath that, but it should have done.

Did you see my report from the former East, btw?

BryanB said...

There's also Turm-Bräuhaus Chemnitz now, though as is typical for German brewpubs all it seems to brew is a Hell and a Dunkel (actually a Kupfer).

I've a soft spot for Kulmbacher as it also produces one of my favourites - Kapuziner Weißbier Schwarz. It's not easy to find though, sadly.

Elektrolurch said...

I like the Braustolz beers more than the Kulmbacher ones.Einsiedler is not bad as well. And, "Landbier" does not even indicate if bottom- or top fermented..

Anyway, Helles at around 4%abv. are still way more common in the former DDR than they are in the rest of germany- is there any reason for that?
And- of the Doppelcaramel still brewed which contain alcohol, are they somewhat close the "originals" from the DDR period?Any ideas?

Ron Pattinson said...


I guess the weaker Helles in the East is a leftover from the DDR days. They were never as strong as the western versions.

I wouldn't know about Doppelcaramel, as I've never tried one.

Anonymous said...

Wierdly, I'm often in Chemnitz, but seem to be an Einseidler sort of guy and have never tried Braustolz. Will do next time I see it. Anyone know a source of it in Berlin?

Speaking of Einseidler, they do a nice couple of beers, but to be honest once you get a good one from over the border in Czech, then they don't seem so great anymore. I'd still drink them of course though :)