Sunday, September 27, 2015

THUMBS UP FOR RATSHERRN BEER

The whole reason I've been writing about beercationing in Germany and Belgium of late is because I've got this new-ish job where the central HQ is located in Hamburg, Germany. I've had to go out there a few times lately. Unlike days of yore where I'd spend my post-work downtime looking for bands to see or record stores in which to shop, I'm quite content with making sure I'm up on whatever locale I'm staying in's beer culture and local beer-centric leading lights (breweries, bottles & bars).

In Hamburg, that's RATSHERRN. This is now my third trip to town, and my third trip to their brewery restaurant ALTES MÄDCHEN BRAUGASTHAUS, and I'm pretty impressed by the place & by the beers themselves. (You can read my original report here). It's clear they've taken to Ratsherrn in Hamburg; all over town there are restaurants & beers who've hung out a Ratsherrn shingle saying, "Just Craft. Real Taste.". They've got a stranglehold on "craft beer" in this town of over 1.7 million people, and by gum, Ratsherrn pulls it off. 

By and large they make German "purity law" beers with a few curveballs and extra hopping here and there, with some nods to the US West Coast. This isn't the place for bourbon barrel wild ales, I'm afraid, but they're an outstanding purveyor of the sort of imperial pints that you'll wanna order over and over again. When it's great - like their ZWICKEL, which is amazing, and which I had again last week - it reminds one that no matter how many FedEx boxes and bottleshares you've got lined up for the coming months, sometimes a hardy trio of excellent beer over dinner can be the far more enjoyable experience, style points & street cred be damned.

Last week I was most impressed by, that's right, their PALE ALE, which I had poured from a bottle at a nearby Italian restaurant. Biting, crispy and really malty, Ratsherrn Pale Ale was about as fruit-forward/citrusy a pale ale I've had in some time. It really helped cement for me just how revelatory this purveyor of killer craft beers must be in Northern German cities, places that have enjoyed good beer for millennia, yet never anything quite like this. You go to Altes Madchen, and the place is totally packed to the gills. Hamburg folks are voting with their wallets, and they're voting Ratsherrn. 

(Thanks to Neubierig.de for the photo, since I wasn't snapping any last week)

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