Has Anyone Ever Had a Zwick’l? (A review of Veldensteiner Zwick’l)

It’s not often that I get to taste a beer that’s of a beer style I’ve never tasted before. Here’s the BeerAdvocate description of a Kellerbier/Zwick’l bier:

A rather old, rare, and unique German beer style, Kellerbiers are unfiltered and unpasteurized lagers that date back to at least the Middle Ages. The beer is matured, unbunged (beer is exposed), in deep vaults. The final product is a smooth, naturally cloudy beer that’s rich in vitamins (from the yeast). Hop bitterness can be high and alcohol will vary. Zwickel Bier is similar to a Keller, but not as pronounced.

Sounds like a nice after-work beer. Let’s give it a shot.

I know a lot of people love these swing-top bottles, but I’m not a fan. They don’t really hold carbonation as well as a crown cap, and they tend to pop off and explode if the beer hasn’t been babied. Just a personal preference. Anyway, this one didn’t explode on me but it did start to foam up a bit. Poured into my half-liter Weihenstephaner mug and the head actually spilled over the side of the glass a bit. Whoops. Dark dingy orange/brown body with a thick white head made up of big bubbles. Head dissipates quickly. Lots of carbonation in the beer but not so much protein.

Smells sweet, “lagery,” with that slight caramel note that you get from sweeter German lager. No real hops to speak of. Slightly grainy. Tastes clean, with a nice golden malt character and a sweet earthy aftertaste. It’s been stored well if it is aged “un-bunged,” as there’s no sourness or off flavors at all. Significant yeast in the bottom of the bottle — when I pour it in I get a lot more bready and yeasty notes. It’s a bit pricey here in the States ($4.99/bottle) but I could see drinking something like this regularly if it were made locally and inexpensively. Not sure why this style isn’t more popular, unless it’s just the need for extended cellar times.

Beyond the Pour grade: B+

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About danieleharper

Chemist, rationalist, skeptic, feminist, and deeply humanist. Podcasts about Doctor Who and social justice at oispaceman.libsyn.com.

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