The beer selection in my local supermarket can be a little bit boring, I must admit. It tends to stock the same selection of beer month in, month out, with a few extra ones appearing at Christmas time. Imagine my surprise and unbridled delight when, a week or two ago, I discovered a completely new beer which I had never tried before, which even originated from my favourite Munich brewery, inconspicuously placed between the known and the very well-known stuff on the shelves.
Augustiner Bräu, which traces its history as far back as 1328, is arguably Munich's finest surviving brewery. There are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, their beers tend to be of high quality. Second, it is the only one of Munich's big breweries which is still privately owned. Third, there are lots of lovely beer gardens where you can enjoy their brews on a warm summer’s day. Fourth, they haven’t changed the labels on their bottles in more than 20 years. Fifth, they supplied the beers that I enjoyed, somewhat excessively, at last year’s Oktoberfest.
The Doppelbock (double bock) style of beer is a style of beer that originated in Germany when the monks in various monasteries simultaneously realized that they where starving and in dire need of something a bit more nourishing than water to sustain them through the ridiculously long fasting period known as Lent. Therefore, they invented a new beer, full of malt, flavour and alcohol, which could be used almost as a substitute for bread and certainly as a substitute for famine-induced madness, but came in fluid form and was consequently allowed to be consumed. This style was eventually picked up by several German breweries, mainly in Bavaria, and developed into what is now recognized as the Doppelbock style.
It is hard to overstate how wonderful this type of beer really is, but I will nevertheless give it a try. Imagine that you’re in a restaurant with more Michelin stars than tables, and that you’ve just received the second course, which happens to be a concoction of all your favourite ingredients. Sharing this meal with your favourite person, you take a bite and realize that this dish is by far the best thing you’ve ever tasted, blending the flavours of the ingredients to ultimate perfection. Even then, should the waiter pour you a Doppelbock, you’d immediately forget the meal, your favourite person and the astronomical bill once you've taken the first sip of this lovely beer. Put simply, it’s like multiple orgasms in a bottle.
|The beer mysteriously disappeared before the camera could take the picture|
There are many breweries that brew this type of beer. Given the introduction to this blog post, you won’t be surprised to learn that Augustiner is one of them. However, the brewery that lays claim to brew the original is another Munich institution, namely Paulaner. Their beer is called “Salvator”, which allegedly is Latin for “yum”, and this has caused most of the versions brewed here in Germany to adopt names that end with “-ator”. There are, to name but a few, a Celebrator, an Optimator, a Terminator, a Consecrator and an Alligator. The one I just enjoyed, though, is called “Maximator”, and the second thing that won’t surprise you is the fact that I enjoyed it very much. It is brown, malty, slightly sweet, beautifully balanced, has a wonderfully rich and smooth mouth feel, and finally an aftertaste that lingers longer than a Libyan leader. If only Mick Jagger had had a Maximator in the fridge then perhaps he’d have got some satisfaction after all.
OK, I realize that I like beer ever so slightly more than the average person, and I’ve also written this unrestrained celebration of a beer with a very strong bias caused by being under the influence of said beer’s alcohol, which clocked in at a respectable 8% or so. All I can think about when I’m not concentrating on finding the keys on my keyboard, which have mysteriously decided to move around randomly, is that I would really like another one. This may take a little while since the shop won’t open for another 10 hours or so. I think I’ll go and pitch a tent outside, just in case a queue starts building as soon as I post this. Good night and sleep tight!