New places, fresh faces. And lots of new brews. Even if you didn’t have a calendar on your smart phone, you’d know warmer days and primo beer drinkin’ weather—a/k/a Spring Break— are finally upon us.
But as delighted as we are about the influx of newbies, there’s something to be said for the tried-and-true. Like the old saying goes, make new beers, but keep the old, yadda yadda… What? You really thought it was supposed to be “friends”?
Rest assured—to us, anyway—it’s always about the beer, especially when it comes to brews from the Motherland. We mean Germany, of course, where they take their beer making so seriously there are actually centuries-old laws dictating its production and purity of ingredients. Though we hear they’re not as strictly enforced, at one time if a brewer messed up he could find himself doing a little time in the pokey.
This may seem just a teensy bit obsessive by American standards where we’re fond of dumping lots of crazy flavors and unpronounceable additives in our brews, until you consider the superior quality and flavor of Deutsch bier. And that is to say, they’re consistently good. Verdammt gut!
“These are the beers everyone else is trying to copy,” says Bill Avery of his German taps, as he plunks down a freshly tapped Kronenbourg 1664 on the bar of Fokker’s, his FoWal pub. If other brewers are indeed trying to copy this golden beauty, is it any wonder? This stuff is like the nectar of the beer gods.
Although now brewed in France, Avery says the recipe of this German ex-pat dates back to 1664, hence the name (catchy, eh?). Incredibly smooth, delightfully refreshing and just hoppy enough to squelch a craving, this could easily be a daily drinker. And being that hops are a natural preservative, we’re guessing by our total lack of headaches that the 1664 is free of the artificial kind that is omnipresent in mass-produced American brews.
Of course, if classic red-white-and-blue beers are your thing, you’ll find more than a few at Fokker’s like Bud, Miller, Mich and Yuengling. Plus they regularly stock Red Stripe, Corona, Heineken, O’Douls and other local faves.
Still, we say the Germans are worth trying, especially if you hit Fokker’s on a Tuesday night, where all brews are half price. A tall glass of premium bier for a couple singles and change? Oh yeah, we can definitely dig it!
Because of its tasty neutrality and high drinkability, we can easily recommend the 1664 to newbies and seasoned guzzlers alike. But if you’re looking for something more in line with the proverbial bread-in-a-glass kind of heft, go for a Kostritzer, a classic black Schwarzbier packed with flavor that’s more malty than hoppy, although there’s some of both.
Though not a sweet beer, it does hint of dark fruit and maybe even a wee bit of a chocolate. It’s nearly as good in the bottle but still definitely best on tap, the way it’s served at Fokker’s.
As is the Erdinger’s hefeweizen, which is probably the most familiar of the three biers we tried, and understandably so. This is a predictably good beer, a blend of malty-sweetness, yeasty goodness and just the right hint of clove and fruit. Still, it’s not the stellar star that the 1664 is, which hands down was the best bier of the night.
And what goes better with authentic bier than authentic German food? Well, quite frankly, pizza. At least at Fokker’s, which is well known for its pies, most notably the “Mother Fokker,” along with wings and other pub food.
But if you really want to wash down your bier like a hardcore frau or fraulein, check out their schnitzels—which, for some reason, we find especially fun to say after downing a couple of cold ones— and German sausages.
Having been around for seven years now, Fokker’s can definitely be considered an old friend. And that’s why we say, given their tasty German bier line-up, laidback atmosphere and bargain prices, they’re definitely a keeper, too.