The Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht is just behind the Rathaus in Hamburg. It’s in an extremely modern building which looks like the head office of an insurance company from outside. Inside, though, it’s actually very cosy with low lighting and thousands of Christmas baubles hanging from the ceiling in garlands.
The other thing that put a smile on our faces when we entered was an overwhelming and delicious aroma of mashing malt. It’s one of those smells, like fresh coffee or baking bread, that makes you feel contented. More brewpubs should pump it out.
The beers themselves were just about OK. Messing is a pale, cloudy lager, described as hoppy on the menu. It really isn’t. Like the Brauberger beer in Luebeck, it was yeasty in a good way, but without a huge amount else going on.
The Christmas beer, Nickel, was a dark brown, sweet malty brew with a full body and a thick tan head. It reminded us of a slightly fizzier, less fruity, less bitter Old Peculier. In other words, interesting, but not one for the ages.
Kupfer, a dunkel, was the blandest of all – a sweeter version of the Messing tasting mostly of caramel.
Finally, their weizen was a big, cartoon-like Bavarian wheat beer with a huge bubblegum flavour which, to our mind, made it the best of a medicore bunch.
Nonetheless, all were way better than Brinkhoff’s No 1, our benchmark for blandness in German beer.