Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus Weihnachtsbier, (Christmas Beer) from the Black Forest, Grafenhausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Date: December 24 , 2018
The Story— It’s Christmas Eve and we wanted to feature a beer Europeans would be drinking tonight. But in truth, we’ve never been to Germany for the Christmas season, and we had to dig a long way back in our records to find a good regional Christmas beer. This is one we loved. Sadly, we think the brewery discontinued the beer in the 1990s — perhaps it was too similar to their Märzen.
Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus started about 200 years ago as a monastery brewery but is now is owned by the government of Baden-Württemberg. We’re not Socialists and I’d hate to see government ownership of most breweries (not even the East German Communists went that far!), but brweries like Rothaus in Grafenhausen as well has Hofbrau Munich and Weihenstephen in Freising, Germany set a standard for other breweries to match.
While Rothaus now brews with state of the art equipment and distributes rather widely beyond its Black Forest home it still has some local charms. Its Guest house with comfortable modern rooms is on our short bucket list. We’d like to go there for although we’ve had a half dozen of their beers, we haven’t had one since the new brew kit was installed and all our tastings have been at a bit of a distance and in bottles.
Wekhnachtsbier means “Christmas Beer” and they’re brewed all over. Germany, but seem especially ubiquitous in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. A Christmas trip to Bavaria is one of our first goals when and if we retire — markets are cute in small towns and massive in the cities and there are dozens of Christmas brews that never make it outside city walls. We picked this one up in 1983 at Getraenkemarkt Maruhn, a remarkable beer store in Pfungstadt, (near Darmstadt) Germany. For decades Maruhn has offered a stunning array of beers in, considering the challenge, pretty good condition.
The Beer— Our notes from 1983 are skimpy, to say the least. This trip was one of our first forays into beer hunting and happened before we did our first Brickskeller tasting. We were, in short, rank amateurs. We believe it was a light amber color and though not spiced, definitely sweet and malt accented. It was a long way from France and Belgium in style if not in distance. The brewery seems to push its Märzen during Christmas season these days and our guess is that the Weihnachtsbier was similar enough to be deemed redundant.
Value — Excellent, though as we mentioned, our experience was a long long time ago.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
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