The Tasting Panel magazine

Tasting Panel October 2010

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BEER T Thehousand-Year Beer by David Gadd B avarian brewery Weihenstephan, originally the brewhouse of a Benedictine monastery, was founded in the year 1040. Just to put that in perspective, they were still speaking Anglo-Saxon in England at the time, since William the Conqueror hadn’t even thought about invading yet (he was only 12). Up in heathen Scotland, Macbeth came to the throne that same year, with the help of his lovely wife; we all know how that turned out. In Bavaria, things were evidently happier, as the monks developed a local repu- tation for their robust brews. When Weihenstephan became the Royal Bavarian Brewery, in 1801, its popularity only grew. Today, it’s the Bavarian State Brewery, run by the state government as a private business and selling beer in 30 countries. Weihenstephan is also closely associated with the brewing school at the Munich Technical University, which has an on-site campus that’s been the training ground for many an American craft brewer. Thanks to American importer Total Beverage Solution, who acquired the import rights to the Weihenstephan line in 2006, the U.S. has now become the second-largest export market for the brand (after Northern Italy), even outpacing beer-thirsty Austria in the past year. Total Beverage Solution founder Dave Pardus, a former VP of Sales with Guinness, knows his beers. “We’ve seen dramatic growth with Weihenstephan,” he says, and the numbers support it; Pardus has taken the brand from 100,000 cases annually in the U.S. four years ago to nearly 300,000 today. The brand’s signature beer is Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier, a deeply deli- cious but entirely refreshing wheat brew; it also comes in a shimmering Dunkel (dark) version that’s just a tad lower in alcohol, at 5.3 percent abv. The Kristall Weissbier is a special-recipe edition with very fine effervescence and a refined demeanor. The smooth-drinking Weihenstephaner Original Lager will appeal to American palates that grew up on corporate brews but want to graduate to the true German stuff. At a hefty 7.7 percent abv, Weihenstephaner Vitus is the brand’s bock beer offering, while the mahogany-colored Korbinian is a deep, delicious double-bock named after St. Corbinian, medieval founder the Weihenstephan monastery. Scoring the oldest and one of the most respected beer brands in the world for your portfolio is a plus for Total Beverage Solution, and is especially impressive among beer geeks. As Pardus admits, “The beer community has really taken to it.” 56 / the tasting panel / october 2010 BAVARIA’S WEIHENSTEPHAN IS THE WORLD’S OLDEST BREWERY

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