You can call me Beercules! – Schönramer Brewery

Schönramer Bayrisch Pale Ale

After taking a closer look at the Brooklyn Brewery in the last article, it is all about a traditional Bavarian brewery this time! Besides a lot of traditional beer styles Schönramer Brewery now is producing  modern interpretations of international beers, too. Of course, that was reason enough for me to try some of them!

 
 

The first brewery in the small South Bavarian village of Schönram is mentioned 1622, but it is suspected that the real first brewery was even older than that. However, the Schönramer Brewery is owned by the same family since 1780. In 1852 Anton Köllerer and his wife even built an own chapel for the brewery, so that the workers were able to do their prayers on Sunday and could get back to work quick.

Besides that much tradition the beers are nowadays brewed with modern equipment, to ensure a consistent quality, while being as environmentally friendly as possible. Apart from that the brewery tries to keep as much tradition as possible. For example only old Bavarian malt varieties are used in production, even though they yield less, they have a milder taste. Also the aromatic hops used for the beers come from Bavaria and on top of that no additives are used in the production of the special beers.

Talking about special beers: the brewmaster of Schönramer, Eric Toft, has his roots in America. So it is hardly surprising that with all that Pale Ale hype going on at the moment Mr. Toft had to create a pale ale of his own, so he started a special collection. This collection now contains a special pilsner, called “Grünhopfen Pils”, an India Pale Ale, a Bavarian Pale Ale and an Imperial Stout.

For my review of the Schönramer brewery I concentrated on the Bavarian Pale Ale, the Imperial Stout and the Saphir Bock, a double beer only brewed from Saphir hops. Nonetheless, you should check out their traditional beer varieties as well. Schönramer is supposed to produce the best Pilsner in Germany, at least this is what Mixology magazine once claimed.

Schönramer Bayrisch Pale Ale

Schönramer Bayrisch Pale Ale
Alcohol: 6,4%
Original  Wort: 14,5° Plato
Bitter Units: 45 IBU
Malt: n.N.
Hops: Mandarine Bavaria
Price: 6,90 € / Litre
Appearance: cloudy, light yellow
Nose: pungent ripe pears, malt, slight note of exotic fruits and raised pastries
Taste: bitter and malty, ripe mangos and other exotic fruits
Rating: 3 (out of 5)

The Bayrisch Pale Ale is different from other Pale Ales I tried so far: It has less fruit flavours and therefore it tastes more bitter than beers with more IBU. This means that Bayrisch Pale Ale tastes more like a normal Bavarian beer than a modern Pale Ale and that is exactly what it is intended to be. However, I quite like powerful exotic fruit aromas in a Pale Ale. Due to this I could not give the Bayrisch Pale Ale a higher score than three.

Schönramer Saphir Bock

Schönramer Saphir Bock
Alcohol: 8,0%
Original  Wort: n.N.
Bitter Units: 48 IBU
Malt: n.N.
Hops: Saphir
Price: 6,90 € / Litre
Appearance: cloudy, very light yellow
Nose: fruits and malt
Taste: noticeable bitter, cereals with a lot of malt, spices in the aftertaste
Rating: 2,5 (out of 5)

This seasonal beer from Schönramer was quite impressive. It is only brewed with Hallertauer Saphir hops and at the back of the bottle Schönramer themselves describe this beer as being two-faced. Actually “two-faced” might be an euphemism… Nevertheless, there was nothing much going on in the aroma, only when tasting it it revealed its true character. Had it tasted more of exotic fruits, you could almost have counted it as a double IPA. It was very bitter, with a lot of malt aroma going on. My friends described it as being too strong, and having a spicy aftertaste. Like with the Bavarian Pale Ale this means that it is what it was supposed to be and again this does not quite suit my taste.

Schönramer Imperial Stout

Schönramer Imperial Stout
Alcohol: 10,0%
Original  Wort: 21° Plato
Bitter Units: n.N.
Malt: n.N.
Hops: n.N.
Price: 7,85 € / Litre
Appearance: cloudy, dark brown almost black
Nose: malt and smoky bacon
Taste: sweet malt, almost like malt beer, strong taste of smoke and burned coal, slight bitterness
Rating: 3,75 (out of 5)

First of all I have to mention that I do not like smoke-beers. I somehow like smoky Islay single malt, but when it comes to beer I am like a firealarm: at the smallest hint of smoke I start screaming that I don’t like it. With that in mind it is clear that the Imperial Stout could not possible reach I high verdict. Besides that, when I ignored the smoky aromas I quite liked the beer. It had complex aromas of sweet malt and spices, along with a certain bitterness lingering in the back. To tell you the whole story, all of my friends except one didn’t like it at all…

In conclusion Schönramer beers are quite interesting and impressive. They manage to combine Bavarian traditional beer brewing with traditional international beer styles. Yet I have to admit that the Schönramer brews are not suitable for inexperienced beer drinkers. If you have already tasted all available IPAs however, you might find something new here and I am sure you will like it!

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