Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 14 News List

German brewers hop onto flavor bandwagon

By Carolyn Beeler  /  AFP, BERLIN

“The classic German beer drinker was almost alarmed, they said: ‘We don’t want juice, we want beer,’” said Elisabeth Seigner, head of hop breeding research at the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture.

Now, demand for the new hops exceeds supply, Seigner said.

With a local version of flavor hops now available, larger, more traditional breweries are beginning to try them. Meinel Brewery, in the small Bavarian town of Hof, has been family-owned since its founding in 1731.

About half of the beer brewed there is still Pilsner.

However, in 2010, brewmaster Gisela Meinel-Hansen and three local female brewers started making two limited-edition seasonal versions of “Holladiebierfee,” sold in champagne bottles.

“We have a goal, we want to bring women to beer. This beer is our ambassador,” she said.

This winter’s nut-brown chocolate porter, with flavors of coffee and red berry, uses the new “Mandarina Bavaria.”

Even traditional Hofbraeu, whose Munich beer hall is a tourist favorite, now brews a beer with German flavor hops.

As beer consumption declines, the new varieties allow German hop growers to capitalize on brewers’ experimentation.

“Three, four, five years ago it was a completely different opinion from brewer to brewer,” Lutz said. “Now, I think all brewers and hop growers think we need all the varieties.”

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