More Please! Allgauer Brauhaus – Altenmunster HefeWeizen

20150929_191109Along with Adnams, Aldi are another bunch of characters that get far more exposure on than a lot of their peers…and that’s because they keep surprising me with unusual and surprising beers whenever I go there.  Oh, and they stock Bratwurst…

God, you haven’t lived if you haven’t had Bratwurst with a big old glass of wheat beer. (my mouth is now awash…)

This time around at Aldi I found some of this Altenmunster Wheat Beer…and it’s in a swing-top bottle WITH A LABEL THAT COMES OFF EASILY: you brewers just don’t realise how much that means to us home-brewers.

Some brewers think that home-brewers are spoiling their sales.  Complete bunkum – where else would we get our inspiration and a vast supply of bottles for us to put our beer into?

The Altenmunster bottles are so good that I’d happily a couple of cases…and it’s also a happy coincidence that it’s a very tasty beer too!

Altenmunster Wheat looks the part, it’s a nice example of the style with a lovely thick, unctuous and foamy head.

The aroma is lovely fresh and bready, with the balance slightly tipped towards the clove than the banana; and it’s quite delightful.

Taste-wise, it’s beautifully refreshing with a very slightly tart edge.  The mouthfeel is solid and creamy with good light wheaty maltiness.  It’s a very fine example of the style.

As mentioned above, I’d buy this regularly…but alas and alack, Aldi only carried Altenmunster briefly for a few weeks before it abruptly stopped.

Gah!  Please Aldi, start stocking this beer again.  I love it and it’s lovely bottles.  I even like the cheerful monk on the label…

The Good Ale: La Goudale – Abbey Beer

20151017_194513No, I know it doesn’t.  But any excuse for a cheap pun…

Right.  So I bought a load of these bottles in Aldi last Christmas – because, quite honestly, it’s better to pick up a reasonable foreign beer for virtually nothing there, than browse through shelves of uninspiring “brown beer” in the other supermarkets.

When are the mid-range supermarkets going to start stocking some interesting beers?  I’d rather that they stocked less and more interesting, than more of the same “brown stuff”.

Anyway.  As I said, this beer’s not available anywhere at the moment (not that I know of) but it might well be soon.  (In fact Aldi, if you ever read this: you’re more than welcome to send me a case of the current week’s/month’s new beer and I’ll do you a write-up – how generous is that?  Or, if you want advice on what to stock, send me some samples I’ll happily test them for you and recommend…one can dream)

Anyway (again) La Goudale Abbey Beer arrives in a glass leaving plenty in the bottle (it’s 750ml…hooray!) and has a bright amber body with a fine running bead and a nice foamy head that fizzles away maybe a little too rapidly.

The nose is vital, lively and phenolic.  There’s a little orange juice (not the zest) with cereals, a bit of malty goodness and a faint ozone note on the end.

It’s a hearty mouthful, with a full Belgian effect that hits the roof of your mouth as a choir hits the roof of a cathedral. Orangey malts pair with a zingy carbonation to drive a full malt sweetness home.  Riding in on the back edge are more orangey malt notes and a refreshing up-in the-attic dryness that makes your mouth run with saliva – meaning you have to get on and drink more.

It’s a refreshingly head-destroying 6% but doesn’t taste like it; there’s not a hint of hot alcohol.  It could probably do with being even stronger, but I’d fear for my sanity if it was…

Marvellous and an absolute barn-storming bargain of a beer.  If you see it, buy it on sight.

As I said, this beer was bought last Christmas from Aldi, so I’ve no idea whether it was a one-off or whether La Goudale brew it regularly.  Have a look at their site and see if you can work it out:

Brakspear: Bitter


Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby provide you with full disclosure: this is one of my favourite beers in the world, ever.  There I’ve said it.  I’ll do my best to be even-handed, but it’s going to be difficult.  I might run out of superlatives.

Brakspear Bitter pours a really nice conker brown, with a very healthy effervesence.  The head is lacy white and long-lasting.

This bitter doesn’t have a complex aroma by any means, but that’s of no importance; it’s solid.  Solid malt, malt and more malt; a light flinty minerality does poke through here and there, whilst a little hoppiness peeks over the top and around the edges.

Upon tasting you get a beautifully solid slab of bitterness to chew on, this is backed up by perfectly judged malty and toasty notes.  On the after-taste a second strident dose of bitter rides in to clout you roundly and give you something to think about.

You really wouldn’t know that Brakspear Bitter is only 3.4% ABV, as it’s that well-made…and as it’s not too strong, you can drink more of it.  Hooray!

Folks, this is a study in the style of the English bitter, along with Adnams Bitter I consider it to be one of the de-facto standard bitters by which others should be judged.

Brakspear even make their bitter in a special way, using the “double-dropped” fermentation method.  Read all about it here:

As if all of the above wasn’t enough, I can buy 500ml bottles of Brakspear Bitter from my local Aldi (in Banbury) for 99p a bottle.  Yes, I’ll repeat that…99p a bottle.

It’s an absolute bloody steal at that price.  I buy them ten at a time.  Aldi: I think I love you for that.  Brakspear: I love you for being you.