The bitterest Pils is (not) hard to swallow

Wer­nes­gruen­er Pils Leg­ende is, for the moment, my new favourite beer.

It’s made near Berlin and, for a long time, was an East Ger­man spe­cial­i­ty shipped most­ly to the West. It’s now owned by the same peo­ple who own Bit­burg­er.

I’ve been ignor­ing it because I read a review that said it had lost most of its char­ac­ter (like Hoe­gaar­den, Urquell, etc. etc.) and I had oth­er things to try. I don’t know what con­vinced me to give it a go after all, but I’m glad I did.

It’s remark­able for its bit­ter­ness, its hop­pi­ness and its bal­ance. I’ve bought peo­ple Jev­er before and watched them turn their noses up – lit­er­al­ly – as its pun­gent odour assaults them about the brain. Wer­nes­gruen­er is less extreme, but no less tasty.

Of course, it looks gor­geous in the glass – the thick white head rose inch­es above the glass and refused to move even a mil­lime­tre in the breeze.

I’m not ashamed to say that, when it’s hot, I often want to drink cold lager. This one was just what I need­ed.

You can get Wer­nes­gruen­er in bot­tle at Zeit­geist. It’s some­times also avail­able in Aldi.


Homicide: Life on the Streets

Hot on the heels of Sier­ra Neva­da Pale Ale’s star­ring role in Knocked Up, here’s Ned Beat­ty as Detec­tive Stan­ley Bolan­der in Homi­cide: Life on the Streets demon­strat­ing his fine taste in import­ed Euro­pean beers by shar­ing a six pack of Pil­sner Urquell with Luis Guz­man:




In The Wire, David Simon’s crit­i­cal­ly laud­ed fol­low-up to Homi­cide, Detec­tive Jim­my McNul­ty (Dominic West) is a fan of Murphy’s. What was that the Beer Nut said about ‘pad­dwhack­ery’ the oth­er week…?

Boheme 1795

boheme1795.jpgI’m always intrigued by the “own-brand” Czech and Ger­man lagers that you see in super­mar­kets and cor­ner-shops in the UK. Some are rank, but oth­ers are real hid­den gems. Most are sold in the UK under pseu­do­nyms, but it’s easy enough to trace their true ori­gins online.

So, why wouldn’t I grab six bot­tles of Tesco’s new Czech lager, “Boheme 1795”, for £4?

It looks, at first sight, like a cheap knock-off of Bud­var – white and red label, green bot­tles, and so on – but turns out to be the real deal: the orig­i­nal Bud­weis­er. The Ger­man-owned Mateske brew­ery was the first to make beer in Bud­weis in 1795, and made the first pil­sner there in 1802.

In the Czech Repub­lic, it’s sold as a Budweiser/Budvar (any beer from České Budějovice is enti­tled to the name) but in the UK, Tesco have chick­ened out, to avoid trou­ble with Anheuser-Busch.

What does it taste like? Bet­ter than I expect­ed – dri­er and more bit­ter than Bud­var, a sim­i­lar appeal­ing gold­en colour – but not mind­blow­ing.

But at 66p a bot­tle, or 50p a bot­tle if you buy a case of 20 for £10, it’s great val­ue, and def­i­nite­ly more than drink­able.

Hats off to Hamburger Union…

…for their short but sweet beer list. I’m not usu­al­ly one to plug restau­rant chains, but I was very impressed to see Hook Nor­ton Best Bit­ter on the menu, and the fact that they have both­ered to get a decent bit­ter in makes it a pop­u­lar choice for a sneaky bit of qual­i­ty junk­food.

They also have Pil­sner Urquell – the orig­i­nal pils.

Ham­burg­er Union home page


Nice places to drink in Regensburg, East Bavaria

Kneitinger Bock

Regens­burg is one of my favourite cities. It’s beau­ti­ful (a medieval bridge and town cen­tre span­ning the Danube) with an odd­ly “Latin” feel. Appar­ent­ly it’s known as “the north­ern­most city of Italy”, which could be because of the mild cli­mate, the Ital­ian-style archi­tec­ture, or per­haps the hun­dreds of Ital­ian restau­rants and ice-cream cafes.

One thing that is res­olute­ly Ger­man, how­ev­er, is the avail­abil­i­ty of fan­tas­tic beer. There are three brew­eries in town – Spi­tal, Bishof­shof and Kneitinger – plus lots of local pro­duc­ers with out­lets in town. There are hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of places to drink, so these sug­ges­tions are not sup­posed to be exhaus­tive – just enough for a taster. See link below for a Google map of the area.


A large beer gar­den on one of Regensburg’s islands, serv­ing, unsur­pris­ing­ly, Spi­tal­brau. Helles and Weizen very nice, but the pils is out­stand­ing – very dis­tinct hop flavour and aro­ma, which dis­tin­guish­es it from oth­er beers of this style.

There’s anoth­er beer gar­den, “Alte Linde”, slight­ly clos­er to the town cen­tre, which all the guide­books rate. They serve Kneitinger.


The brew­ery and pub are con­nect­ed; the pub itself has sev­er­al sec­tions, from a rough and ready beer hall to a more upmar­ket restau­rant area. It’s an inter­est­ing build­ing – pre­sum­ably it was once a sta­ble or some­thing sim­i­lar, as the floor of the “beer hall” bit is cob­bles. Kneitinger do an Edelpils, a Dunkel, and a Bock.

The Bock is some­thing spe­cial – it’s dark, rich and choco­latey, and they’re jus­ti­fi­ably proud of it. It’s fea­tured in Michael “The Beer­hunter” Jackson’s Great Beer Guide. Ama­zon link


You can drink Bishof­shof with­in the Bishof­shof (Bishop’s Palace) itself. We also found a love­ly qui­et beer gar­den just round the cor­ner from Kneitinger which had the full Bischof­shof range togeth­er with Wel­tenberg­er Kloster­brau (the two brew­eries are relat­ed, though I don’t know who owns who). Wel­tenberg­er Barock-Dunkel and Dun­kle-Weiss both make it into Michael Jackson’s 500.

Fuer­stlich­es Brauhaus

This seems to be a spin-off from Thurn und Taxis, a brew­ery which used to be based in Regens­burg. They brew their own on the premis­es and also stock the full T&T range. Nice airey beer hall, with a pic­turesque beer gar­den set in the T&T cas­tle grounds.

Zum Augustin­er

A beer hall and gar­den stock­ing Thurn & Taxis.


Google Map of Regens­burg with these pubs marked

Spi­tal, includ­ing cheesy pic­ture from Spi­tal beer gar­den – check out the vir­tu­al brew­ery tour!

Kneitinger (in Ger­man)

Bischof­shof (in Ger­man)

Wel­tenburg­er Kloster (in Ger­man)


Wik­i­trav­el – Regens­burg