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Gratzer Tasting - Denver

Discussion in 'Mountain' started by joshclauss, Feb 8, 2013.


Does a sour and smoky beer sound...

  1. like barbecue vomit?

  2. like the collision of two flavors only intended for the stomach lining of a porpoise?

  3. like the whole world has listened to your deepest desires and responded with this one creation?

  4. like the endless siren's call of a new beer that you must try?

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    For the last month or so, I've been picking up commercial Gratzer style beers because it's a unique beer style that's making a little bit of a comeback. I've never had a Gratzer, and depending on how these turn out, I may never again. But, I have three that as far as I know are the only three available in our market:

    Grimm Brothers Sooty Brother: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/23076/74529
    Freigeist Abraxas: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/10574/56817
    Professor Fritz Briem Grodziskie: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/23495/75608

    I may be missing one (Andre, am I missing one?), but this is all I've ever seen and they've basically all recently shown up.

    I'd love to get together at a tap room that will allow us to open them. Prost, maybe, keeping with the German theme, but I've never asked them if we can share bottles. Sometime this weekend or next, and welcome other people from the community to come join.

    Is anyone interested in joining me on this expansion of the mind and palate while immersing ourselves in the cultures of Ze Germans? Just taking a straw poll of who and when. I would say, considering the size of the bottles (all in the 16-22 oz range) that a team of 5 should be able to bring this ship to port.

  2. b0rderman

    b0rderman May 18, 2010 Colorado

    you got anything that tastes like blue moon?
    highlifeCO likes this.
  3. Prospero

    Prospero Jul 27, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    like barbecue vomit, but hey i'll try anything beer once.

    do you know is it brewed with peated malt or just smoked wheat malt? (i presume the later) i don't do peat.
  4. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    I'll give it try or 3. Domingo and Rob2654 may know a bit more about these
    joshclauss likes this.
  5. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Can't imagine there's any peated malt, but the more updated versions of these beers you never know. We Americans do some weird shit.
  6. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    This post is definitely quietly whispering Domingo's name.
  7. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I also want to bring some cheeses to said event. Also hoping this is kosher at a local taproom. If all else fails, we can do Crooked Stave.
  8. RuckusDu

    RuckusDu Mar 23, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Aren't all new beers a sirens call?
  9. scray24

    scray24 Mar 12, 2008 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Have been looking at brewing one of these and could bring some Gose to share and possibly some homemade kraut....
  10. nogidrew86

    nogidrew86 Aug 16, 2010 Nevada

    Trade for westbrooks gratzer!
  11. scray24

    scray24 Mar 12, 2008 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    i was trying to get their gratzer and gose a few months ago and the brewer (or apprentice) responded that they haven't brewed them in a while and they weren't readily available. I've dropped him a mail to check back with him.

    Specifically - "Hey, Just some info. Gose and Lichtenhainer we both bottled a while back and were only like 50 cases each. Maybe there is some around but most are gone. Gratzer was bottled bit had issues so it was never released. Gose and gratzer will be made again. Im sure the Lichtenhainer will be as well but not 100% sure"
  12. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Sounds cool. I'm lazy.

    Honestly, I wanted to just side-by-side Sooty and the Professor, but then I saw Freigeist, so now it's a party. If someone has a Gratzer that's less available, I'd be happy to have them bring it. I'm going to start just with what's on shelves here.
  13. Steve_0

    Steve_0 Mar 14, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I would be down depending on when you want to do it. I can bring some other brews, as well. Palate cleansers perhaps?
  14. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Just saw this - I'm in :)
    From what I know of the style, it's kind of dead...a la the German porter and to a lesser extent what native Roggenbier is becoming. There are some obscure places producing it in small towns, but those are the only production versions I've ever heard of. I've had the one from Grimm, but not the other two. I have had a little experience with the Prof. Fritz beers and last I heard, since he is non-Reinheitsgebot he doesn't even distribute in Bavaria even though he's based out of Freising, right down the road from Weihenstephan.
    Freigeist is doing some crazy stuff...at least for a German brewery. I heard some stories about upstart German breweries marketing IPA's toward women and I think they might've been one of them.

    Anywhoo - where and when? I don't really have many obscure German beers left at the moment, although many of the better ones can be found on store shelves anyway. I do have one of those funky decanter-like bottles of Gose, though.
  15. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I just want to get these out of the fridge. Tomorrow midday or next weekend is what I'm shooting for. Who could do tomorrow, noonish, at Prost or somewhere around downtown?

    Also, does anyone have a good relationship with Bill Eye or at least his contact info? I'm sure he'll love it, and I'm happy to start the conversation.
  16. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    The hope is if we can have it at Prost we can use their Pils as a palate scraper.
  17. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    I think you can speak with Bill just about any day of the week over there. Problem would be license, methinks.
    Next Saturday works for me...if that matters at all :rolleyes:
  18. arminjewell

    arminjewell Feb 12, 2009 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I would be down Josh, this weekend is tough though, if its next weekend I'll be there!
  19. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Talked to Bill at Prost. He's all about it, and we can take the private room. I'm thinking 12 or 1pm. Who's in?
  20. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    What day, monsieur?
  21. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Whoopsie. Saturday, Feb. 16th at noon or 1pm. Could be later, I'm just throwing out a time.
  22. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    Sold. I'll be there with bells on...minus the bells (is this getting old yet?)
    gklover1 likes this.
  23. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Sure - I'm good for the 16th. I'll bring along that Gose and I'll scan the shelves for some random other German faves, too.
  24. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Because it's you, I'm interested to see what you'll bring. Overall, though, I don't think we should bring too much beer, and we should thank Bill by buying a lot of Mass glasses of Prost libations.

    I'm excited! Should be an awesome environment.
  25. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    By the way, let's go with Noon on Saturday, 2/16.
  26. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    Is that the Gose that comes in a bottle suited to clubbing baby seals? Cuz I was going to bring it, but go ahead...and I'll sip on some Prost goodies!
  27. jpmclaug

    jpmclaug Jun 6, 2008 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Abraxas isn't a gratzer. The bottles I've seen on the shelf here are different than what's on the BA pic but it says its a Lichtenahainer Weisse(which basically means a smoked berliner weisse I believe).

    Also there is a ton of the Westbrook Gratzer on the shelf here in SC now. They just released it again in the past few weeks.
  28. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    It'll be fun. I don't plan on bringing much...considering where we're having it after all! I'm thinking maybe Aventinus (either the normal or Eisbock), a Mahr's U, a Weihenstephaner hefe, and either a Korbinian or Celebrator. If we're splitting those among more than 4-5 people, we'll be fine even with the Gratzers and some Prost goodies. Short of pounding masses of doppelbock, German beers are pretty safe. Besides, I'm know for bringing tiny tasting glasses and pounding water anyway. Keeps me in line.
  29. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Stylistically it's pretty damn close and that may have been what they were going for considering what Freigeist is trying to do. Not too many smoked wheat beers made by German brewers. Just there as a comp.
  30. Bardwashrind

    Bardwashrind Jul 1, 2008 Colorado

    Leave it to Mr. Clauss to pick such an obscure style to focus on for a tasting. If there is a chance to hold it off and attempt to get a bottle of the Westbrook, it just might be worth it. Their Gose was great to have in a line up last summer and this sounds promising.

    I do think there is at least one other bottled Gratzer from Oklahoma: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/4707/78002
    It's availability is unknown.

    I did find a few other bottled examples that might be down right impossible to obtain:

    Smoked wheat beers should be quite common:



    The Abraxxxas from Freigeist might not technically say "Gratzer" on the label but I'm not sure another beer gets any closer than that.

    It could turn into an obscure German styles tasting as I'm sure the range would be a little larger than what we are looking at.

    Joy Wine and Spirits has bottles of Mahr's amazing Ungespundet http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/428/2412

    I was also told that Prost's next seasonal will be an Export Lager (Dortmunder?). Would be amazing if we could convince Bill to let us try some pre-filtration. @Domingo I'm sure you can speak better at just how life changing beer at it's source being served like this can be….

    I'm in for whatever happens.
  31. jpmclaug

    jpmclaug Jun 6, 2008 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I haven't really seen much on what exactly differentiates the styles but I do agree their descriptions sound familiar.

    I've had the Westbrook Gratzer, Lichtenhainer Weisse and the Abraxas. I'd say Lichtenhainer and Abraxas are way more sour than the Gratzer. I haven't had any other Gratzers though. I might have to pick up the Fritz Briem one to see how it compares. As for Westbrook's Gratzer, I don't really think it is sour at all.

    One of the funny things about the Gratzer is that Edward(owner/one of the brewers at Westbrook) said he has never had another Gratzer before so he's not really sure how it compares to others.
  32. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    From what I understand, the determining factor in Gratzer is the presence of smoked wheat malt, which isn't commercially produced. Andre, I'd assume the Aecht Schlenkerla is regular wheat malt and their house smoked barley malt, which is actually how a lot of people have revived the style. I'm not sure if this is what Professor or Grimm did or not, but I've heard the Grimm Brothers version is all smoke like it sounds the Westbrook is. Who KNOWS what the shit HaandBryggeriet does.

    I'm fine with us kinda calling this a German Weirdness tasting - I mostly just need to clear out the beers that are taking up my girlfriend's precious fridge space. I am definitely interested in those Mahr's beers. I've seen them at Joy, and really it's only a matter of time...

    I can reach out to Bill and see if he'll let us get filthy on some Dortmunder. Depending on that, and someone's ambition to get their hands on a Westbrook Gratzer (I'm shipping out 4 trades this week, so I don't), we'll revisit this whole discussion. But for now, let's plan on 12 noon, Saturday 2/16 at Prost. Sound off with your interest so we can get a head count.
  33. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I think the Shlenkerla weissbier is getting its smoke from the standard beechwood smoked barley and and addition of normal wheat malt...maybe even normal Weyermann wheat malt since they're across town. I'm not 100% sure, but I could probably find out. All of their beers are brewed on the same equipment except their ungespundet. The helles tastes smoked, but is just getting a little of it residually.
    I'll see about grabbing some of those Mahr's beers at Joy this week. Of the German beers than make it to the US, I think Mahr's is probably the best. I'm not sure their "U" holds up all that well from a bottle, but I've got my fingers crossed. Their imported helles and pils are still top notch, so that gives me hope.
    I'll definitely be there!
  34. Bardwashrind

    Bardwashrind Jul 1, 2008 Colorado

    I got a lead on some Westbrook Gratzer and their 100% Brett Lichtenhainer. The only problem is they won't be retrieved until this coming Thursday. Any chance the tasting can be posponed a week for everyone? I don't want to mess any plans for others but these bottles would be quite appropriate.
  35. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard May 19, 2005 Colorado

    I'm in. If we do go for the 23rd that would coincide with my 40th Bday pub/brewery crawl...that I have yet to plan.
    But the 16th is sooner, so that's cool.
  36. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Any weekend from now until April should be fine for me.
  37. joshclauss

    joshclauss Oct 31, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    We can of course push it back. I do, however, have an email in to Bill to see if we can pull some Dortmunder straight off the line this weekend. Hopefully if he's gracious with his time he won't mind the rearrange.
  38. rekrappy

    rekrappy Feb 2, 2006 Colorado

    I'm far from an expert on this style o' beer, as the only one I've had is the Choc, but we did some research last summer on it and even had a recipe written up. Then it was shelved, but I'm hoping to make one for our Tap Room in the next few months. Because I'm a sucker for smoked beers.

    From our research, Gratzers/Grodziskies are made using oak-smoked wheat malt, while the normal smoked beers of Bamberg are made with beechwood-smoked malted barley. Beechwood-smoked malted barley has been available for years. Weyermann also started making oak-smoked what malt last year, which is why we started looking into Gratzers.

    I don't know of any other style that specifically calls for oak-smoked what malt, and I don't know how much of the stuff Weyermann is actually making, but it's still on their website. As long as they're willing to make more, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw a few more Gratzers in the near future. At least in brewpubs/tap rooms...

    Andy Parker
    Barrel Herder
    Avery Brewing Company
  39. quine

    quine Feb 15, 2011 Colorado

    I'd love to join this also, if there's still room! I recently tried a smoked berliner weisse and it was damn interesting. I'm not sure if I have any German weirdness to contribute, though :(
  40. Domingo

    Domingo Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    German weirdness is a borderline oxymoron anyway :) Short of a few random styles, they're pretty orthodox.
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