Another tribute to August Schell. It’s their 150th anniversary. To help celebrate they released a series of special draft-only beers, some based on recipes culled from the archives. They asked beer drinkers to vote for their favorite. An amber lager received the most votes and became the special anniversary release, Hopfenmalz. Here’s my notes:
Augusts Schell Brewing Company, New Ulm, Minnesota
Style: Amber Lager
Serving Style: 12 oz. Bottle
Aroma: Grainy, toffee, and caramel malt complemented by herbal and citrus hops; tangerine and peaches.
Appearance: Dark orange-amber. It appeared lightly hazy at first but cleared as it warmed. Full, rocky, off-white head that stuck around, ultimately falling into a light film of bubbles on the surface.
Flavor: Malt dominates; rich, toasty, caramel, and brown sugar. Assertive but not over-the-top bitterness balances, without overwhelming the malt. Hints of dark fruit; figs or raisins. Hoppy light fruit notes as well. The tangerine and peach from the aroma return. Herbal hops compliment like a sauce on the main course. This beer reminds me of an English bitter, but with more intense flavors and a crisp lager finish. Many clearly articulated parts that form a solid whole.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, but with a mouth-filling, weizen-like character, almost chewy. Medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: Rich and mysterious, yet utterly drinkable. Nice complement of caramel and herbal/fruity hops. Reminds me of cooking. In fact, this is a beer made for food. My neighbors are grilling and the aroma of grilled meat, smoke and the beer are melding perfectly. This would go great with grilled meats, roast turkey, or even a caramel desert.