Tasting Notes: Holsten Festbock

So summer is finally here, and as the temperature in the north begin to creep up to somewhat near pleasant, for those few brief months of warmth each year, and you’d probably develop quite a thirst as you survey the early summer landscape. So today after a pleasure walk to the local ale vendory I came home with a half-liter of strong German ale, as brown as it is golden. I was feeling in a festive mood, so why not take a festbock out for a spin. This being a celebration and all, I decided to kick it medieval and bust out the specialty half-yard-o’-ale glass of  knights and knaves.

Now seriously every single beer tastes better from this glass, even cheap factory macro-brews, you might want to look into adding it to your bar-ware collection. Rather than engage in a traditional chug-a-lug until receiving a great blast in the face of beer, that you are expected to do with a yardie, this glass is perfect for turning a pint from a drink into an experience.

Ok so the beer was Holsten Festbock, a 7.0% strong dark beer, manufactured under the strict ospices of the honoured German Purity Law of 1516, the true measure of a great civilization I suppose is having an archaic law pertaining to the honest craftsmanship of beer. The pour was definitely enhanced by the half-yard, the ruddy, burnt-copper ribbons of beer, effervescing through the creme-brule-coloured froth. It took about a half minute to settle, leaving a clinging veil of lace as it retreated. Heck that was a show in-and-of-itself. The bouquet was reminiscent of heavy chocolate, marble rye bread, perhaps even a pumpernickel, with a hint of molasses.

The taste was of dark caramel, with just the punch of tart-black-cherry, notes of chocolate and malted barley and maple syrup, it finishes with prune and black-strap molasses and not a trace of alcohol. This was the kind of beer that you want to hold in your mouth and swish around your cheeks, pretty much the exact opposite of how you are supposed to drink out of the half-yardie but man was it good. If you are having a fiesta anytime soon you might want to search this out, it comes totally recommended.

But maybe you are one of those local, craft-brew-only kind of wankers, and you have some sort of problem with the way the Germans have been making their beer to exacting standards for centuries, you might want to give Waterloo Dark a spin, a highly comparable craft brew though it is only 5% and thus not quite as festive as the festbock either way the complexity of flavours is well worth the $2.25-$2.75 price range per pint…

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