I don’t make a habit of using my blog to promote my employer, but now Bier&cO has pulled a stunt off – I’m so proud of it I want you all to know! Every Dutch StiBON Biersommelier, particularly those of the second exam round, will feel a shiver down their spine when I let them know that since this past week Trumer Hopfenspiel is available in The Netherlands. Really! And in a store near you!
For those of you clueless: Trumer is a family brewery from the Austrian town of Obertrum, in the shadow of Salzburg, dating back to 1601. Obertrum is what you’d call a beer place of pilgrimage because, besides being the home-town of this legendary brewery, it harbors the House of Beer Culture: a museum annex tasting room annex schooling center for all things beer, and it is here the final beer sommelier exams are being taken. In summertime don’t be surprised if the town’s fountain gives beer via a special line, directly linking the brewery with this cultural delicacy.
Today, eighth generation Josef ‘Seppi’ Sigl manages the brewery and he does it so seriously, a whole new way of building fermentation tanks was developed. Like many breweries, Trumer uses cylindroconical fermentation and lagering tanks. One thing Seppi didn’t like about them is the fact harsh hop-oils, who tend to float on top of the beer during the process, are difficult to remove. Even with open fermenters one would often, when trying to ‘fish’ the clotted hops out, contact them so most of it fell apart again, back into the beer, causing a harsh and undesired flavor. (Remember, Christoffel Brewery used a similar
method, in open yet flat fermenters, and used to scoop the hard hop plaques off the beer). So, Seppi conceived a system of open cylindroconical fermenters with a built-in vacuuming system: a network of tubes is connected to the tank, facilitating the easy connection of a tube with which one can literally vacuum the hop oils out of the beer. To top it off, the fermenters are equipped with a built-in rinsing system to complete clean the tank after every use. The system is so well-nigh perfect its patent has been bought by several breweries to use, the most notable being Sierra Nevada.
So back to Hopfenspiel: it is a Session Pilsener, 2,9% ABV, boasting a full, fresh and green hopflavor. It tastes like a fresh hop lager, so greenish and crisp is its taste. And it is that hops are deemed a fruit, otherwise I believe the style of ‘Hop Radler’ had now been invented. Finally a Radler one can drink without looking sheepish!
The beer sommeliers-to-be who landed in Obertrum in September, 2014, felt a bit uncomfortable since they found themselves in a two bar village with few beers that weren’t a pilsener. Admittedly Trumer Pilsener is a little jewel in itself, but it is still ‘just’ a lager. I can’t recall who ordered Hopfenspiel first but soon the whole group was on it, impressed by the full flavor in combination with the low alcohol level. It drank like a lemonade, hop-lemonade (so, who will back my proposal to start the style Hop Radler?) and within an hour there was no more Hopfenspiel in all of Obertrum. The StiBON examinees drank the town dry and kept talking about it, often lovingly reminiscing that delicious Hopfenspiel.
Well, we brought it to The Netherlands, and since a week hundreds of Albert Heijn stores offer it, see their section International Lager. It comes at € 1,49 per bottle and I can only say I advise you all to storm off to the shops and give this delicious beer a well-deserved try. It offers a mouthful of flavors whilst keeping a very sensible and responsible alcohol content. In any case, I am a happy man!