Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Freigeist is taking regional German beer styles and turning them into Sturm und Drang poems worthy of Goethe. In your mouth.

If you're not a nerd for Proto-Romantic German literature like I am, then simply put, instead of a rational and objective approach to German brewing, the brew master, Peter Esser, imbues his beers with thoughtfulness and lets them tell their own story.  He brings old styles back to life and looses them upon the world like a Frankenstein monster.

Abraxxxas is billed as a Smoked Lichtenhainer. Lichtenhainer is an old east German beer known as a sour wheat beer with smoked malts.  Like the character it is named after, Abraxxxas is not only one thing, but in a very zen way, it's everything at once.

This can be said about the beer.  It has very strong and distinct flavors that you wouldn't think would play nicely with each other.  It smells like a typical wheat beer with a noticeable twinge of smoke. As weak as it smells, the flavors are powerful and explode on your palate.

The smoky malts hit you strong at first, but the wonderfully smooth sour apple slips in there.  The first taste is utter confusion.  It's acidic, but smokey.  It does the same thing to your brain like chocolate covered bacon, or honey glazed ham.  It's success is that it cleanly activates your whole tongue with distinct flavors that are strange, but leave you staring at the glass thinking, "Why is this so awesome?"

It ends smooth and balanced, and has a light, watery mouth feel.  I was worried about a gnarly aftertaste, but the smoke nicely folds itself into the sour apple wheat.

This beer is definitely for the adventurous.  I strongly recomend this beer for the adventurous type, or those wanting to broaden their catalog of European beers.  Freigeist and Esser are really pushing old forgotten styles to their limits with thoughtfulness and meaning.

4.5 out of 5 heads

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