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Classic Beer of the Month

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Veltins Pilsener, 4.8%

A few years ago, I was disappointed to turn down the opportunity of visiting the Veltins brewery.

VeltinsI had just tasted Veltins Pilsener as part of my regular reviews for Beers of the World magazine and scored it highly. The beer was gaining prominence in the UK and I wanted to find out more but, ironically, I was already going to be in Germany on other business and couldn’t make the trip.

Since then, Veltins Pilsener has become the premium lager supplied by a network of five breweries across the UK – Robinsons, Butcombe, Purity, Kirkstall and Fuller’s – and many more people are very aware of how good it is.

This brewery was established in 1824, in a village called Grevenstein in the Sauerland region, south-east of Dortmund – an area largely maintained as a national park. It came into the ownership of Clemens Veltins in 1852 and is run today by Suzanne Veltins, his great-great-granddaughter.

In keeping with the untarnished local environment, the company is keen to stress its green credentials, citing its long-standing commitment to recycling, energy reduction and waste-water treatment, but, as in many traditional German breweries, the beer range is rather limited.

New Products

In recent times, a few new products have been added to the portfolio, as the brewery has begun to broaden its horizons, including a radler, an alcohol-free beer and an amber lager called Grevensteiner Original, but it is the company’s Pilsener – the third biggest pilsner brand in Germany – that drives the business.

A mountain spring provides the brewing liquor in which to mash the pilsner malt and touch of Munich malt that make up the grist. The hops are all German – Herkules for the main bitterness and Hallertauer Tradition and Smaragd (formerly known as Emerald) for more aroma.

The taste is fairly dry and bitter, with tangy, herbal hops leading the way, but there’s always a soft malty-sweet backdrop and just a teasing hint of lemon. Herbal dryness then continues in the smooth, bitter finish as the rounded, tangy hop flavours linger on.

For me, this beer perfectly illustrates how to balance subtle, clean malt with prominent hops to create an eminently drinkable beer that still has lots of character.

There are few more refreshing beers on a hot summer’s day than a chilled German pilsner, and Veltins is one of the best we get in the UK.






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