Sometimes It’s Smart To Revisit The Classics #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / March 31st, 2018 / 6

With all the small breweries opening across Canada and around the world, it is pretty easy for most of us to never have to drink the same beer twice in a day, or even within a week, and yet never stray from good, local, microbrewed beers. That’s a great thing, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the classics, or feel guilty when, for example, you see a classic European beer at your local store and crave it.

This happened to me this week. My local liquor store was closed for renovations so they had a temporary store set up with a much smaller selection. I always buy a mix of styles, but for lagers I normally stick to locals like Grimross‘s Pils and Vienna, Propeller Pils, Spindrift Coastal Lager, Pump House‘s Maarzen, or Petit Sault‘s La Kedgwick Pils. There was none to be had. What I did see, though, were cans of Bitburger, a classic German Pils. Beer snobs might turn their noses up at a Euro lager from a big brewery, and in many cases they’d be right to not waste their money, but in this case they’d be making a mistake.

I’ve been to Germany at least a half dozen times, and there is something really satisfying about a mug of Bitburger in a German brauhaus after a day of sampling the great Rieslings of the Mosel.



Bitburger is a pale golden pils, with a very attractive nose, with classic Euro hops, bready malt, and a light whiff of sulphur. The palate is very clean and fresh, with a crisp bitter finish.

I think a lot of today’s hop heads would be surprised by the bitterness level of Bitburger. It ain’t no Heiny or Stella. Websites list it as 33 IBU, but that is more than enough for a bone dry, medium bodied, 4.8% alcohol pils.

It’s a classic, and a benchmark for our own microbreweries to emulate. And that’s pretty impressive at only $3.49 for a 500 ml can.


Craig Pinhey discovered good drink circa 1985 at Ginger’s Tavern/Granite Brewery in Halifax and has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 25 years. A Certified Sommelier and BJCP judge, Craig lives in New Brunswick where he runs his own writing and consulting business and is the beverage columnist for Brunswick News. He is the only person to have judged all of the national wine, spirits and beer awards of Canada.

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