India Pale Ale - Bad Köstritz, Germany
Köstritzer is Germany's biggest non-lager, non-Weizen brewery and part of the Bitburger Braugruppe. Its famous Schwarzbier is sold all over the nation and is, without doubt, the country's most popular brewery for this style. Alongside a Kellerbier, it opted (in spring 2014) to produce two new lines as part of a "Meisterwerke" (Masterpiece) series: a Witbier and a Pale Ale.
Pale Ale is growing in popularity in Germany: whilst many craft beer breweries have been making it for years, Köstritzer is the first large brewery to launch a product like this in the German marketplace: a hard environment for a population obsessed with fizz, Pilsener and coldness.
Colour (10) 8
An elegant bronze-brown with a decent amount of CO2 despite a slight cloudy look.
Nose and Taste (20) 18
Very intense and fresh hops that remind of citrus and freshly-cut grass. Lychee and Grapefruit are in there too and the body is very clean and smooth with a fitting bitter, hoppy finish. Despite its effective refreshing edge, the beer is also warming and malty enough to appease even the drinkers of the darkest beer.
Appeal (10) 9
Very round and, whilst undoubtedly a Pale Ale, this beer appeals to the drinkers of hoppier lager too(Jever, Becks and Flensburger). The image of the brand is unscathed and, as a specialist brewery, this product feels like it belongs to the Köstritzer range.
Drinkability (10) 9
Refreshing, long and attractive, the final bitter notes are kept in trim so that the next glass will slip down just as well as the first.
Overall (50) 44
A very well made IPA, better than even some of the bottled efforts from England and Scotland. In its being a tad milder than some of the beers from Braufactum or Meantime, it appeals on a much larger scale. Unfortunately this was a short-term project and, after having spoken to someone from Bitburger, it isn't confirmed as to whether this product will continue to exist in the future.
about the score
I've chosen to split up the score with a final result of up to 50 points.
Colour (10) - here I'm looking for a defined appearance in the glass: bold but realistic pigmentation, clean cut lines, carbon dioxide structure and how long the head holds.
Nose and Taste (20) - the most important category, here I'm after unique aromas and how well they work with eachother. I'm looking for defined, complex elements of taste and smell - beers without a clear structure and crafted aromas won't score well.
Appeal (10) - trend, popularity and the values of the brand are most important here: there are extra points for things like organic, locally-sourced herbs and choosing to opt for a new direction rather than following the mass-appeal taste.
Drinkability (10) - the long-term drink-appeal: is it likely that you'll buy this beer again? Is it easy to drink? Is it rewarding? Complicated beers should be accessible and rewarding, not just unique.