Wednesday, November 14, 2012

(Distant) Happy Memories of Amato's Beer Tasting - Part IV

Well, I have to finish what i start (especially beer), so it's time i finished reviewing the multitude of beers I studiously drank some weeks ago at Amato's.

Where was I? Ah, Franziskaner Weissbier!

At long last, I get to this beer with high hopes.  615 years can't be wrong, and it didn't fail to impress.  Having once tried in the distant past, I had fond but faint memories of a fine beer.  I took one drink, which begat another, and I wondered out loud what that familiar taste was.  "Bananas", said the wench lady behind the bar table, and because it tasted good, bananas were good.  Some might run a mile hearing bananas mentioned in the same breath as beer, but having tried it, it was like they were meant to be together.  Not at all sweet, it was finely balanced, but had those great qualities of a fine head and smooth, pleasant aftertaste.  The best beer of the day.

What could possibly be better?  Franziskaner Kristalbier, of course!  The same beer, but filtered!  And yet...

It was not as good.  A fine beer, to be sure, but somehow the filtering removed not only the solids, hence cloudiness, but the taste as well.  No more bananas.  Surprisingly, this was disappointing.  This would probably more please the average punter, but beer is not water, and beer need not be clear to be fine, healthy, and pure.

That reminds me of a story my dear departed father once told me of his European tour of 1976.  In particular, Germany.  Dad went to visit his childhood pen friend, and upon meeting her father, Carl, they proceeded to the pub, as you do.  Dad, not speaking much German, and Carl not speaking any English whatsoever, proceeded to communicate through their common language - beer.

Asked what beer to be served, Dad shrugged his shoulders as if to say "any", but more likely "i have no idea what you are talking about".  After a couple of carefully enjoyed mouthfuls, Carl turned to Dad and tried to ask what he thought of the German beer he had been served.  Not readily understanding what was said, he eventually figured out that he was asking what he thought of the beer.  Perhaps realising that he could say anything as Carl did not speak a word of English, he replied..."water".

Carl looked at him blankly, trying to figure out what the reply meant.  "Water"?  Water.  A look of horror then appeared on Carl's face.  "Wasser?!  WASSER!!!?!  Thirty years of post-war reconciliation up in smoke.  Dad, perhaps foreseeing pitchforks, laughed and assured it was only a joke.  Nothing twenty pints couldn't fix, apparently.

Anyway, back to the beer.  Following one of the great beers was always going to be difficult, so I tried another German beer, Stiegl.  Clean and crisp, it was somewhat generic, and watery.  Uh-oh, there's that word again.  Just joking, my pitchfork-wielding Deutsch friends!

My virtual beer tour of the world continued, to the first table which I passed on my first round.  This table had beers from Spain and Cuba!  First up was the Estrella Galcia from Spain.  I didn't know what to expect, only that it might be similar to Mexican beers as its most obvious inspiration.  But no, Corona this was not.  Not a lemon or lime wedge in sight!  That of course is a good thing, as it indicates that the beer is confident in its own taste, not requiring fruit to give it some taste.  It had substantially more depth, was slightly cloudy from memory (or was that my brain that was by this stage cloudy?), and was refreshing and well-balanced.  A worthy beer.

Next, Cuban beer.  What could I expect here?  Rum-laced?  Bitterness that tasted like Cuban cigars?  The Bucanero Fuerte (translated to "strong Bucaneer") sounds like a great name for a beer.  What could possibly go wrong?

I partook.  Alcohol wafted from my nostrils.  The room swirled.  Angels sang.  The only thing clear by this stage was the haze that enveloped my being.  A beer indistinguishable from rum.  How apt.  My sobriety has indeed been pillaged.  No more beer tasting for me.  "At least until tomorrow", I slurred.

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