Get a Taste of 'New' Beer Styles: Adambier & Grätzer
Two beers you likely haven't heard of before, Adambier and Grätzer, were added to a set of guidelines meant as a reference for brewers around the country. The Brewers Association is an organization made up of brewers, both professionals and hobbyists, as well as others from within the beer industry aiming to represent and promote independent brewing in the U.S. Every year, they release their style guidelines and 2013 brought these two "new" styles into the spotlight. The thing is — they're not really new.
Adambier is a traditional beer similar to an altbier that was once brewed in Dortmund, Germany. It's typically strong — around 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), dark, and sour. Brewers would age the beer for a year or longer allowing the high alcohol to mellow. Meanwhile, Grätzer or grodziskie originated in the town of Grodzisk, Poland. It's a straw- or golden-hued brew made entirely with smoked wheat. Basically, it's a wheat beer that has a smoky flavor.
They are both super old-school beers but they are hard to find. The Brewers Association made the decision to add the beers due to a flourishing interest among home brewers but some craft breweries have been exploring the recipes as well. Adambier is a little harder to find but it's worth a search. On the other hand, Grätzer has been getting more pick up with American breweries. If you'd like to try one in real life, we found a few beers you should consider picking up:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Co., Portland, Ore.
Weighing in at 10 percent ABV, this strong brew from Hair of the Dog is really an homage to the classic style. It was also the first beer ever produced by the nearly 20-year-old brewery so they were way before their time. This homage brew is dark in color, features dark fruit flavors (most notably, fig) and a noticeable alcohol warmth. It's a sweet, malty beer that's a good option for dessert.
Dortmunder Adam Bergmann Brauerei, Dortmund, Germany
In an effort to revive the Dortmunder style that had fallen of the map over the last century, this Dortmund-based brewery began brewing limited releases of an Adambier style. The brewers make an effort to keep the traditional style intact. The dark, malty beer has notes of dried fruit a slight hoppy bitterness. Those who have it think it tastes like a long-forgotten tradition.
Westbrook Brewing Co., Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Founded in 2010, Westbrook Brewing has made an effort to experiment with new and emerging beer styles. So it's no surprise that they are one of the first U.S. breweries to create an interpretation of the Grätzer. This version is made with 90 percent smoked wheat, pours a pale yellow color, and tastes like a combination of citrus fruits and smoky cedar. It'd be a nice complement to a meaty dinner.
Schlossbrauerei Au-Hallertau, Friesing, Germany
The director of technology at Doemens Institute, a consulting enterprise for the brewing and beverage industry, Fritz Briem oversees an experimental brewery in Friesing, Germany, where he brews unique and traditional beers. That's where he whipped up this Grätzer. A professor of brewing and fermenting technology, Briem created a perfect example of the style, complete with a peaty wheat hint and crisp finish.