We have 12 lines of beer and we switch up most of the lines after we run three or more kegs of a beer through. Here's what's on tap at the moment and a lot of general German beer info.
Franz Hefewiezen - this is a classic Munich made blonde wheat beer. The name hefe weizen means cloudy wheat beer. Why is it cloudly? Because unlike other styles of beer, they do not filter it very much. They use a special yeast in this style of beer that gives a fruity flavor. This is a classic beer.
Paulaner Weizn - Paulaner is a Munich based brewery, which means they are one of the only breweries allowed to sell beer at Munich's Oktoberfest. This beer is the one Paulaner serves in Munich during Oktoberfest. Over the years, the beers at Oktoberfest have become lighter in color and body. The Munich breweries still make the original amber version, but that is mostly for export to the rest of the world (including us). So this beer is what you would get if you went to Oktoberfest in Munich in the present day (well, actually the near future, since Oktoberfest is over for this year).
Spaten Premium Lager - Spaten is another Munich brewery. This beer is a Munich Helles style lager. Helles means light, as light in color. Originally all of the Munich breweries made a dark lager, or a dunkel. Many still do, though dunkels are hard to find these days, even in Munich. This beer, a helles, is a very nice light little beer. It won't hit you over the head but it is very subtle... subtly, quietly wonderful. Sometimes you want big and loud; sometimes you prefer soft and quiet. This one is for those quiet moods.
DAB - DAB is a dortmunder style lager from the city of Dortmund. The name is an acronym, the D is for Dortmunder and the B for Brewery (Brauerei). What does the A stand for? Good question, let me Google it now. The A is Actien, which means joint stock, or more than one owner.
- Here from Wikipedia is a very detailed description of what makes a Dortmunder an unique style of lager: "The beer from Dortmund is a pale lager influenced by the golden beer from Pilsen known as Pilsner, though is mainly labelled as Dortmunder Export. Like all other pale lagers the beer is a pale gold colour, with a moderate bitterness from the noble hops, a lean, well attenuated body, and a crisp carbonation. The local water contains a fairly high amount of sulfate, which gives the beer's taste a slight element of sulfur and bring out the hops – see Burtonisation. It also contains more calcium carbonate (chalk) than average which tends to give a sharpness to the flavour of the hops. Brewers use less hops to avoid the harsh hop notes, giving the beers a subtle emphasis on the malt flavours." Long description short: like a Munich helles, but a little hoppier in the Pilsen tradition.
This is probably a good point to mention that each town in Germany tends to make a specific style of beer, and all of the breweries in that town usually only make that style and that style is usually only available in that area of Germany.
- In Dortmund they make dortmunder; Dusseldorf makes alt; Berlin makes berliner weisse; Vienna (OK Austrian but still German for our purposes) makes Vienna lager; Bamburg makes rauchbier, and Munich makes helles, dunkel, marzen (fest), hefe wiesse, and dunkel weisse. So if you go to a bar in Germany, you may only find 1 or 2 styles of beer. In Fox Chase, you may find as many as 12.
- Why are the beers different from town to town? Various reasons including local taste preference, mineral content of the water, what types of hops grow well there, and the style of malting they do there.
Sly Fox Royal Weisse - this is a locally made hefeweizen. Sly Fox is one of the really great local breweries that we are so blessed with here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner - a classic pilsner, which is a golden lager. This one is more Czech style than Munich style.
Left Hand Oktoberfest - I haven't had this one yet, and will need to rectify that ASAP. From the description, it seems to be the more authentic style of fest (which is more popular for US brewers). Since is it from out west (Colorado), I expect it will be a bit hoppy.
Troegenator - this is a doppelbock style beer from Troegs in Harrisburg, another giant among our local breweries. Doppelbocks are dark, somewhat strong lagers, brewed as "liquid bread" to keep monks ticking during times of fasting. This one is based on the legandary doppelbock from the monastery in Andechs, which is a must take s-bahn ride if you are ever in Munich. This a wonderful year round beer that gets a little lost in the shuffle, which is a shame since its great. This beer will not be a stranger on our taps.
Bells Oktoberfest - this fest comes from Michigan. Unlike most US made festbiers, this one is made in the modern German style, so it is lighter in color. I had one this afternoon, a very solid beer.
Manayunk Dunkel Lager - I wrote above about hard it is to find dunkel beers in Munich anymore. Happily they are a little less elusive here in Philadelphia. This one (from over in Manayunk) is a seasonal beer, which means it is not made year round, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Victory Festbier - Victory is another giant among our many great local breweries. They really do everything first rate. This beer was one of their original beers from way back when. It is a beer that is around because it's a winner. It is a US-style festbier in that it is amber in color and a quite a bit hoppier than the German versions. For an American palate, this really works.
Flying Fish Oktoberfish - Oktoberfish is one of my favorite beers and I always eagerly await it's brief appearance every year. This beer is both very malty and very hoppy, a wonderful balance.
Hopheads who have been asking for an IPA... well IPAs ain't German, but we have heard you and have something really cool in the works, just for you! Well you and anyone else who wants to buy some. We should have an announcement in a day or two. You will get the hops you want and we'll stay within our theme of all German style beers.