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Classic Beer of the Month August 2012: Jever Pilsener

Jever Pilsener, 4.9%

Proof, if it were needed, that all pilseners are not the same comes in the form of this stunning beer from the north of Germany.

Jever PilsenerIn this part of the world, we are not only some 500 miles geographically from Pilsen but an equal distance in beer terms from the style of lager that city calls home.

Forget the creamy texture and almost buttery taste of Bohemian beers, here, close to the border with the Netherlands, the focus is far more on hops, producing a snappily crisp, raspingly dry beer that takes a hell of a lot of beating on a warm day.

The town of Jever stands in the district of Friesland, close to the North Sea shoreline.

Only around 14,000 people live in the town and the biggest building is its brewery, a big, shiny, modern complex that has its roots way back in 1848 but today belongs to the giant Radeberger group.

They make a big fuss of the water here, claiming it is so soft and pure that they can get away with adding even more hops in the copper – although they don't actually explain why that should be.

The combination of hops (once revealed to be Hallertau and Tettnang but now officially just 'from different growing areas', dependent on the right quality) certainly makes its presence felt, with the finished beer clocking up 40 bitterness units, a step up on the 35 or so units you'd normally expect in a pilsener.

The result is an uncompromising dryness in the finish but, thanks to a long lagering period, and plenty of juicy, sweet pilsener malt at the core of the beer, Jever is supremely drinkable.

Renowned Finish

Enticingly golden in the glass, the beer presents a welcoming aroma of gentle herbs and lemon, before sweet, soft malt and tangy hop bitterness wash over the tongue.

However, it's that renowned finish that really marks this beer out – extremely dry and herbal-hoppy, yet never astringent.

If you read German, you'll be warned about this in advance. Each bottle and can carries the strapline 'Friesisch Herb', meaning Friesland dry.

In a sense, it's a declaration of independence. Forget pilsener, it seems to say, this is a beer style all of its own.

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