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It’s hard to believe, but December is here and 2020 is heading into the final stretch.  To help me get through this socially distanced holiday season, my wife surprised me with the Brewer’s Advent Calendar from Costco featuring 24 cans of beer from small brewers in Germany and Austria.  I honestly have no clue what to expect from this, but it does seem like a fun way to get back into posting!  Here’s a look at what the first six days had to offer.

Day One: Flotzinger Brau – Hell (Rosenheim, Germany)

Style: Helles

ABV: 5.2%

Overall: Well, the name certainly felt like an appropriate way to begin the 2020 holiday season!  This brew poured to a clear, yellowish body with lots of lively bubbles running up the glass to feed a thin layer of foam across the top.  Tastewise it was crisp and refreshing, with a nice light sweetness sitting atop clean pale malts.  This was a nice, easy drinking brew to start the month’s journey with.

Day Two: Furst Carl Schlossbrauerei – Kellerbier (Ellingen, Germany)

Style: Kellerbier

ABV: 5.1%

Overall: It poured to an amber tinted yellow body topped by a thin layer of white foam.  As with the previous offering, this one featured some nice pale malt sweetness, but more subtle overall with hints of caramel mixed in with an earthy graininess.  The body was light with slightly above average carbonation.  Another nice, refreshing beer at the end of a long day.

Day Three: Kaizen-Brau – Kauzle (Ochsenfurt, Germany)

Style: Pilsner

ABV: 4.8%

Overall: It was a clean, crisp, and slightly sweet pilsner.  I don’t have a lot to say about this one, but it delivered what you’d want for the style.

Day Four: Brauerei Zwonitz – Zwonitzer Steinbier (Zwonitz, Germany)

Style: Steinbier

ABV: 5.6%

Overall: I’ll admit that this is a style that I do not recall having come across before.  Apparently translating to stone beer, this style is brewed without the use of metal kettles and is instead mashed in wooden tubs with hot stones used to raise temperatures.  As for this particular beverage, it had a light brownish/amber body topped by wisps of beige foam.  It had a light sweetness upfront followed by underlying notes of roasted and smoked malts.  I’m generally not a fan of smoked beers, but this one had a subtlety that made it way more approachable than most.  This one really intrigued me and I’m happy I had the chance to try something different that what I usually come across.

Day Five: Graminger Weissbrau – Kirta (Alotting, Germany)

Style: Dunkelweizen

ABV: 5.6%

Overall: This one poured to a medium brown body with a determined and persistent off-white head.  It featured some grainy, chocolatey malts upfront, some slight notes of spicy hops in the middle, and a malty finish highlighted by hints of dark fruit.  While one or two sips seemed a bit uneven in terms of blending flavors, on the whole I really enjoyed this one.

Day Six: Propeller Bier – Turbo Prop (Bad Laasphe, Germany)

Style: Imperial Pilsner

ABV: 6.5%

Overall: It poured a dark yellow/amber with some white foam lacing across the top.  The taste was a somewhat surprising blend of sticky sweet hops bitterness, caramel malts, and notes of honey.  Its smooth, creamy finish was immensely satisfying.  I’m not entirely sure this is properly a pilsner, but it is my favorite beer of the box thus far.  Wishing I had a bunch more of these!

And that concludes the first six days of my advent calendar beer adventure.  At this point I will rate the experience as so far, so good.  While most of the brews haven’t been particularly flashy by stereotypical American craft beer standards, they have all been solid and enjoyable.  I’ve even learned something along the way!  I’ll be back next week to let you know how the next six go.  Cheers!