The latest beer review by Jeff Evans
GIESINGER MÜNCHNER HELL, 4.8%
Now 15 years old, Giesinger is an upstart in Munich brewing. Its development and expansion from a garage operation to a €20 million site has been financed largely through crowdfunding and now it stands as a serious rival to the long-established six other local breweries. What’s made this growth possible (apart from money) in such a hotbed of brewing is the simple quality of the beers, which are now available in the UK via Euroboozer.
The selection ranges from a 3.8% schankbier (light lager) to a bock called Munique at 6.6%, but my favourite is this Münchner Hell, which ticks every box on provenance and style. Green-golden coloured in the glass, it drinks light, crisp and slender-bodied, with lots of floral and herbal notes from the abundant hops, which really take over in the tangy, herbal finish. It’s a classic hell that beats the much-vaunted local competition at their own game
HALL & WOODHOUSE BADGER MASTER STOAT, 5%
Hall & Woodhouse has rebranded its range of premium bottled ales recently and, for good measure, thrown this new beer into the mix. Described as a coffee stout, it presents a huge inviting aroma of coffee, toffee and wafer biscuits that lovers of a good caramel latte will quickly appreciate.
The taste falls mostly on the sweet side, with a mouthfilling caramel smoothness, but there are also little bites of coffee bitterness for contrast. A touch more caramel on the swallow quickly gives way to dryness in the finish, where some sugariness lingers but loses out to roasted coffee notes and the bitterness of dark, almost acrid grains.
This is a bold, flavoursome stout that a lot of people will like very much.
HIVE MIND NECTAR, 4.5%
There’s a line that was once used to advertise Sugar Puffs cereal on TV: “Tell them about the honey, mummy.” It could equally be used for this beer.
The Hive Mind calls it a honey pilsner and, while you really have to like honey to get the most out of it, this is a pleasant enough drink even if, like me, you’re not a big fan. As you might expect, the palate is sweet and smooth, with a velvety texture and loads of floral honey notes. Thankfully, there’s also a decent bitter balance from the hops and the sweetness declines nicely in the drying, increasingly bitter finish so that it avoids becoming cloying.
The honey is so dominant that it’s hard to discern just how good the base beer might be, but as a package it delivers what it sets out to do and will have plenty of takers.
ROUND CORNER LE DREAM, 5%
Brewers need to think seriously about whether to brew a kölsch. This style of beer from Cologne is notoriously delicate and will not suffer fools gladly. Good thing, then, that this attempt comes from two breweries with the nous to pull off such a move.
It’s a collaboration between Round Corner, known for its ales, and Braybrooke, a lager expert – which helps, given that kölsch is a sort of hybrid beer, fermented largely like an ale but then cold-conditioned like a lager. The name of the beer reflects the breweries’ shared Leicester postcode.
It’s very good, too, pouring a light golden colour and offering aromas of floral hops, sweet pale malt and – as astutely declared on the can – an unusual suggestion of wine gum. That odd discovery becomes more apparent in the constantly drying taste but without detracting from the bittersweet character of tart, herbal hops and choice grain blended together. Herbal hops have the final say as sweetness fades in the finish