Thursday, January 10, 2019

Episode 23: Hofbräu Original with Hank McCarthy

I. Introduction


Alois Hingerl was the hardest working porter in the Munich railway station.  He worked with great fervor and passion, so much so that he worked himself to death, having only two vices – a love of snuff and beer. He lived such a noble life that Saint Peter made him an angel and sent him on a mission of mercy, to provide wise and sage advice to the leaders of his mother city. 

Alas, Himmel has neither tobacco nor beer, and Alois, now dubbed Aloisius by the divine powers, found himself craving a snort and a nip.  He detoured, as most of us would, to the home of his favorite tipple, the Hofbräuhaus, intending to pour back on mass and then continue along his mission.  Alas for the politicians of Bavaria, Aloisius was so sorely moved by the beer that he never left the Haus and remains there, an angelic, blue-collar zythophile, overseeing the beating heart of everything good about his homeland.

Today we’re talking about the beer that tempted Aloisius away from his divine mission, arguably the beer most identified with the land most identified with beer, a beer that is opening beer gardens and restaurants around the world while clinging to its local identity. 

Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’re talking about Hofbräu Original. 

Alfons Bauer’s 1966 “In Munchen Steht Ein Hofbräuhaus.” 

II. Our Guest, the Genteel Henry "Hank" McCarthy

"This is on the radio?"

III. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points

BeerAdvocate: 3.8 of 5

RateBeer: 3.04 of 5

Untappd: 3.54 of 5

ABV: 5.1% 

Ingredients: Conforms to German beer purity laws; Herkules, Perle, Magnum, and Select hops, light barley malt and Munich malt, water, and yeast (bottom-fermenting) 

Cost: $$

Appearance: Golden yellow, a little hazy, translucent, largely transparent.

Aroma: Malty, pleasant, hops are there but very mild.  A little sweet but not cloying at all.  Clayman described the first sip from the bottle as reminding him of "warm corn tortillas" in an entirely positive way. 

Flavor: We all generally agree it is good - a solid choice, particularly as a session beer.  Hank notes that it is damn close the flavor on tap and on site.  

Mouthfeel: Smooth, mild carbonation, seems ideal for pairing.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  Most of the marketing we saw was aimed at European audiences - hardly surprising, of course, and so we weren't particularly moved by it in any sort of nostalgic way - what is a matter of great cultural importance though is the Hofbräu name itself, the ancient roots of the beastie.  Is the beer authentic?  That is a good question - it is marketed as "Original" but a glance at the hops used makes us wonder if it warrants this title.  Also, given the spread of the brand, especially into restaurants and beer garden sectors internationally, we're curious if the aloof and place-specific identity of Hofbräu remains intact or becomes diluted - hopefully the former.  

Overall: Hank gave Hofbräu a 4; Clayman awarded it a 3.85; and Eric gave it a 3.75.  Overall?  Our rating was a 3.87.

IV. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

V. Plugs

The Bamboo House
Charlottesville, Virginia

(we agree on some things, but not everything - great imagery here though)

by Justin Kennedy

Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Selected Readings and Viewings

Conrad Seidl. "Hofbräu." From The Oxford Companion to Beer. @ Craft Beer & Brewing.

Ronald Theriot. June 26, 2011. "Hofbrau Original." Louisiana Beer Reviews. 

VII. Selected Advertisements

c. 2017

c. 2018

c. 2018

c. 2018

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