Jever: now that's what we call bitter!

A krug of Jever pilsener beer in Hamburg

We’ve been fans of Jever, the famously bitter pils from the North German city of that name, for some time. When we met Knut a couple of weeks back we spent a few minutes collectively rhapsodising about what a wonderful beer it is when it’s not gone stale, as the bottles that turn up in London seem to have done about 50 per cent of the time.

We’d never had it on tap, though, and were determined to put this right in Hamburg where Jever is one of the three or four most readily available commercial lagers. The Friesenkeller, which is in a cave between the Alster lake and the Rathaus and focuses on Friesian specialities, caught our eye as a likely spot.

The pils came in a stone krug so that only the rocky head was visible peering over the top. The familiar sulphurous smell hit us before we’d even lifted the vessels. The marvellous lingering bitter aftertaste was thrown into sharp contrast by all the timid brewpub beers we’d been drinking — it really seemed a bold, lively, interesting beer.

One dimensional? Yes, probably, but nonetheless a beer we’d like to be able to drink in good condition more often.

15 replies on “Jever: now that's what we call bitter!”

I’ve been to Jever, it’s a nice little town. The brewery had the ultra-modern surrounded by missile silos look so I didn’t bother with the tour but I must admit I was quite taken with the beer too.

If there’s a beer I would love to drink again is Jever. 10 years ago, when I lived a few months in Germany, it was my favourite brew, by far and I have very fond memories of it. I’ve always wondered what I’d make of it today.

Jever’s a good beer, I only tried it breifly on tap in Leeds in about 2002 – and i dsitinctly remember my mate at the bar proclaiming ‘mate, your beer smells like Weed’ as it poured. Since then, the bottled versions have let it down somewhat, I agree.

I have to admit, I thought I’d be a huge fan of Jever, considering its reputation and my love of hops, but actually I’m not a big fan of, possibly beacause I mostly have it from the bottle. I suspect a lot of it gets skunked from the green glass and being left stacked outside Getraenke markts. Actually, winter is probably the best time for me to try it again, or next time I’m in a bar serving it.

Now that I think of it, Jever came last in a Pils blind tasting I ran in work. Oh, but did you try Jever Dark? I like that a lot.

It’s definitely one of those “acquired taste” beers. It’s simply too bitter for some people. I’ve chaired tasting panels where it’s really split opinions.

Tyson — have you noticed any issue with variable quality in the bottled version?

Leigh — the first time we had it, Boak’s actual reaction was: “Urgh, your beer fucking stinks.” It does pong a bit, but I like it.

Barry — we didn’t see Jever dark. Wish we’d thought to keep an eye out. But then, we were on the mulled wine most of the time…

This beer is one of my favourites when i’m visiting Hamburg twice a year.
My hotel has this one “von fass”, along with Duckstein which is the other north German favourite.

Hola compañer@s, estáis invitados a una nueva edición, la número 19 ya de la Ronda, titulada

Si Sólo es cerveza…

Haya Salud

Bailey, ’tis the season for mulled wine! 😀 I was down at the local Weihnachtsmarkt yesterday with the family and friends. I think it saved us from freezing!

By the way, the Bergmann Brewery in Dortmund published their recipe for Glühbier a few days ago. I haven’t read it in detail yet, but I know it uses their Schwarzbier.

There does seem to be some variation with the bottles. I’ve never had a problem with my local freehouse, but elsewhere I have-including London, as you say. I agree that these bottles are stale-presumably having been kept somewhere unsuitable for too long.

Your experiences of German brew pubs seem to tally with Peter “Tandleman” Alexander’s – that they’re boring, play-it-safe brewers.

Hello all,

Where in London can you get Jever? I would love to get my hands on some, having lived in northern Germany for a year.


Zeitgeist at the the Jolly Gardeners in Vauxhall (Black Prince Road) has it, as does the Rake. If you want takeaway, Utobeer at Borough Market definitely have it and it crops up in more mainstream outlets from time to time.

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