Where Lager is King #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / August 24th, 2018 / 17

It is always a pleasure to go to Germany to drink wine, and part of the pleasure is the beer… This week I am in German wine country to learn about their Sekt sparkling wines, but I have the odd chance to drink good local beer, including today.

a frothy 500 ml ceramic mug of Märzen


I walked from my hotel in Mainz (near Frankfurt) to the Eisgrub-Bräu, on Weissliliengasse, for lunch. This small brewpub has been in action since 1989, and brews mainly two house beers: a Helles Märzen and a Schwarzbier. Although a small. modern brewery, Eisgrub brews very traditionally, producing clean, unfiltered lagers with traditional German hops, balanced but not particularly bitter.

Open fermenters at Eisgrub-Brau

Their beers are cold fermented and cold aged (“lagered”) to allow them to mellow and lose any lingering fruitiness from fermentation.

What makes great German Märzen so delicious is the rich malty character. Yes, there are hops, but they play a supporting roll to the maltiness. Their Helles Märzen (Helles means pale) pours slightly hazy, with a frothy head, has a dry but malty mid palate, and a long, malt driven finish, and is not overly carbonated.

The Schwarzbier is also malt driven, but the dark roasted barley gives a grain bitterness that provides a very different palate, more roasty and bitter, and with a shorter finish.

The pub offers a range of traditional foods including bratwürst (I went for that), schnitzels and käse-spätzle, and lots of other meat and potato variations, as well as pasta. You can forget low carb meals when you go to traditional German pubs and beer halls.

curled Bratwurst with bread, mustard and a small salad

Enjoying great local beer and food in a traditional setting, especially in the land where lager is king,  is one of the finest things in life. Prosit!


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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