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Top 100 Beers of 2018

Top 100 Beers of 2018

 

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#1

98
by Michael Bury
Privat
Brauhaus Riegele

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Owner and World Champion Beer Sommelier Sebastian Priller-Riegele Talks Privat

Who was responsible for this beer’s recipe?
This beer is brewed in honor of my great-grandfather, the Commerzienrat Riegele, who was a brewing legend in our small city. It is a very old recipe, but, of course, every brew is a puzzle out of thousands of parts, and we take care of each single kernel of malt!

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The secret is the perfect balance. Privat is rich in body, but not heavy. It is malty in flavor, but with a nice light, hoppy aroma. It is easy-drinking and refreshing yet extremely complex all at once.

Where does this beer’s name come from?
Sebastian Riegele was a very famous brewer and patron of the city of Augsburg. To honor him, we received the title ‘Commerzienrat’ which was only given to the most outstanding citizens of that time period. In his honor, we brew the Commerzienrat Riegele Privat.

Is this your “desert island beer?”
Yes! In fact, I’ll be sure to pack some Commerzienrat yeast with me so that I’ll be able to have an unlimited supply on the island!

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
My Dad and I love to celebrate special moments with the Commerzienrat. I will never forget seeing the eyes of my friends when I pulled out four bottles of Privat from my backpack after a long and exhausting hike in the Alps. Sure they were heavy, but it was worth it!

What’s a good food pairing for this beer?
A Bavarian Pretzel! Tastes good and makes you even more thirsty for Privat!

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
A perfect beer is always a puzzle out of thousands of parts, so you always need to go the extra mile. In our case, we do yeast counting with select yeast strains out of our own yeast collection, we use only original mineral water out of our 214-meter fountain, our method of husk separation makes the beer’s finish smooth and our storage at exactly 0° Celsius gives the beer the final touch.

What makes this beer truly world class?
Three main ingredients: Passion, dedication and knowledge! They make all the difference!

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
It’s our number one beer without any doubt!


Judge’s Second Opinion

German Pilsners seem to be the IPAs of the lager world nowadays. Many American breweries seem to take the hop-forward nature of the style to the extreme with massive amounts of late hop additions. What results is essentially an IPL, not a Pilsner.

Thankfully, the correction is an easy one and a brewer needs to look no further than the name of the style. Pilsner, or Pils malt, should form the backbone of the beer upon which the hops have a landscape to express themselves. In reality though, this is more difficult than it sounds. As one of the lightest kilned base malts, Pilsner malt lacks the immediate, colorful character that Munich malt demonstrates; it takes a skilled brewer’s hands to coax its character out of the kernel. Also, the specific type of barley that’s used in a maltster’s Pilsner product also makes a major difference.

So why did I spend so much time on Pilsner malt? Because Brauhaus Riegele’s Privat showcases that malt varietal expertly with an appropriate amount of German noble hops. Privat featured a near-perfect balance of malt and hops that I can only imagine would be perfect coming straight off the tap from the brewery. It wasn’t just the typical grainy flavor and aroma you’d expect but rather the honey-like, graham crackery character that was so pronounced even a non-beer drinker would’ve picked it up. All the while, the delicate floral, spicy hops provided a perfect counterpoint to the malt. It’s also
worthwhile mentioning what wasn’t there.

The exquisitely clean lager fermentation afforded no sulfur, no diacetyl and no esters while providing a properly crisp, well-attenuated beer. That’s no easy task by itself.

There are very few beers out there that can provide a transformative experience and Privat was one of those. I could easily envision myself wearing lederhosen and drinking a boot or a liter of it in a German beer hall with my close friends (or soon to be friends) around me. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next time I can order a pull of it. Prost! – Michael Bury

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