You don't often find foreign beers in Belgium. Maybe the odd off-kilter English or Italian speciality in the likes of Chez Moeder Lambic, but mostly the national supply keeps the pubs stocked. It would have been downright weird to find these two Bavarian lagers in a Brussels café. Instead, they came from the fridges at Brewers of Europe House, the rather grand embassy of European macrobrewing in the EU sector of Brussels.
Both are from Riegele, an Augsburg-based brewery whose beers I've generally found to be excellent, both their traditional styles and the more creative twists.
It felt a bit wrong to be drinking Riegele Kellerbier 700km from the keller. It is, as one might expect, a hazy lager, rich dark orange in colour. There's a certain weissbier-like fluffiness about the texture. Tastewise it's nothing to write home about: a kind of Ready-Brek sweet cereal flavour and accompanying warmth. It's smooth and sinkable, and just the thing when soaking up the atmosphere in an Augsburg bierkeller, though some of the effect is lost in the back garden of a Brussels townhouse.
Augsburger Herren Pils was much more to my taste, though doesn't do itself any favours by invoking the sublime Keesmann Herren Pils in its name. It's 4.7% and a perfectly clear pale yellow. The hopping is assertively done, all sharp and waxy but perfectly clean and nicely refreshing. As it happened I had access to the accomplished palate of Mr Carl Kins while I was drinking it and he reckoned there was some diacetyl in there. I couldn't spot it at all myself, but it would be remiss of me not to add that into the review.
But don't worry, Riegele, I still think you know what you're doing.
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