Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Hoslten Three

These certainly aren't the only three Holsten brews but they are the only three sold in New Brunswick. All three are quite good and very cheap. Not a bad choice at all when served at the correct temperature. I like these beers and can design also: it seems very German and I like how similar each can looks and yet each can be easily distinguished from the rest so you know what you are picking up.

Holsten Premium (Germany - Hamburg) 5.0%

A dry hops and fairly malty aroma - sweet as well. Some fresh green hints.

Malty flavour with more of a hops character than I expected, though not extremely hoppy. Bitter flavour with a malt-house touch and bit of apple - a toasted bread and bitter finish. Holsten Premium tastes like it is higher in alcohol than 5%.  A shade paler than full gold in a glass.

A nice hops flavour that is greenish but still dry in the Euro lager style. The hops is dry as mentioned and while slightly musty it is also greener and fresher than many Euro lagers. Now the question is: is Holsten Premium hops character different than other Euro lagers because they used a different variety of (or just more) hops or did this can simply reach the shores of NB & my mouth faster? Hard to say.

All in all, a Euro lager with more hops and a more bitter flavour than most and that tastes more boozy than it actually is.

Holsten Maibock (Germany - Hamburg) 7.0%

An sweet slightly appley, malty aroma with hints of dry, musty hops and alcohol. A full gold colour in a glass with a full head. Very sweet, distinct fruit tones and the alcohol comes through quite, maybe even too, clearly when served cold. A little closer to room temperature and the alcohol seems to mix better with the rest of flavours rather than dominating them; roasted yet blonde tasting malt tones. A nice tasting strong beer when served warmish. Served cold, the alcohol plays too much in the forefront to the detriment of the other flavours.

Holsten Festbock (Germany - Hamburg) 7.0%

A sweet, somewhat appley, roasty and sticky aroma of figs. Initially very sweet with maple and caramel but it soon became dominated by more fruit (especially apple) and roast malt flavours with some faint wood notes; still quite sweet but not overly. Quite red in colour in a glass. Its high alcohol content delivers a chest warming finish.

The combination of sweetness, apple flavours and high alcohol result in a beer that is somewhat sherry-like. For a beer that is strong and cheap Holsten Festbock isn't bad at all. Where some beers in this class (cheap and strong) are simply alcohol delivery devices, I find Holsten Festbock to be quite good: not overly sweet, a nice blend of flavours and the warming alcohol feeling seems to bring it all together not push the flavours apart {like it does in some other cheap and strong ales}. Should definitely be served on the warmish side of a lager-serving temperature to ensure you can taste the other flavours over the alcohol.

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