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Jan 17, 2007 01:06 PM


I just got back from Germany and had a Loewenbrau (original) dark for the first time in many years. It was thin, and flavorless. I guess our tastes do evolve as well as gorw.

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  1. One of the best things to come out of the new beer culture (esp. in the US) is the death of the old "domestic vs. import" divisions. Sure, there are debates about what beers are "craft" or "micros" or "macros" (or "artisan" "boutique" and so on) but the birth and growth in the US of great local beers and the explosion of different beer styles available means that the old well-respected "imports" can now be seen as just more "Industrial Light Lager"; in Lowenbrau's case, just another beer in the massive Inbev stable, along with Stella Atois, Becks, St. Pauli Girl, Spaten, etc.

    In some way, Lowenbrau in the US is able to play up it's recent re-introduction to the US as "German-brewed" after several decades as a Miller-brewed and reformulated brand. Until, at least, one tastes it and says, "I waited 25 years for *this*?"

    18 Replies
    1. re: JessKidden

      Spaten remains a top notch brewery. The rest are fairly unimpressive though. Addressing your other point, I love how on some restaurant menus that still split the “domestic” from the “imported” brews that the American swill is “domestic” (i.e. Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Lite, Miller, etc) and the “imported” list often includes all of their micro selections (along with Heineken, and Amstel)

      1. re: Chinon00

        re: "Domestic" vs. "Imported" on a menu

        Yeah, that's always funny- I've often wondered if some lawyer wouldn't want to do a class action suit with that one. I notice some places now break it down into "Specialty" beers. I guess "Cheap" and "Expensive" isn't cool.

        The other beer menu item I like is when they list the place of origin for a beer:

        Fosters- Australia
        Budweiser - St. Louis
        Guinness Extra Stout - Ireland
        Killians - Ireland
        Kirin - Japan

        All wrong, of course, in most bars in the US...

        1. re: JessKidden

          They should label them "Swill" and "Beer". Liars' Club lists Bud Light and Coors Light under the heading "Not Recommended" on their menu.

          1. re: JessKidden

            There's a beer bar in Allston, Massachusetts, called Deep Ellum that has a section on their menu (which runs about six pages) called "Cheap/Nostalgia." It's where the stuff like PBR and Narragansett lives.

            1. re: JessKidden

              The Publick House, in Brookline, MA, has a category called "Lawnmower Beer," which currently consists of Sam Light and Red Stripe. They also used to offer 16 oz. cans of PBR under the header "Old Skool Canz," but have since done away with that option (for the better, IMHO).

            2. re: Chinon00

              I know tastes vary, but I certainly do not dismiss most of the other 'big five' Munich Breweries. Agree on lowenbrau, but Augustiner 'esp the Helles', Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr all make more than avg beers with some are excellent. But, I guess tastes vary.

              1. re: number6

                The poster "JessKidden" listed a series of breweries including Stella Atois, Becks, St. Pauli Girl, and Spaten as examples of "industrial light lagers". I took exception to listing Spaten in that number. I am very much a fan of beer from Munchen.

                1. re: Chinon00

                  I thought the same about Spaten until I had it on draft. It only goes to show how easily light lager can be ruined.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Please clarify. I have had Spaten Lager both in bottles and on draft and have always enjoyed it (along with the Bock and the Oktober)

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      I can only assume he is talking about the Germans use of green bottles that permit UV light in that skunks beer. Kegs do not allow light in and survive the trip over better.

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        niquejim got it right. Every bottle of Spaten lager I've had has been skunked. Having it on draft was the only time it wasn't.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Buy a case from a reputable distributor.

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Victory's Prima Pils suits me fine.

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              That's my problem, I never buy a case of anything. I will buy 6 of one 6 of another. There are so many good beers to try that I want something different each time I buy.

                              1. re: niquejim

                                Re: case purchases

                                I agree with Chinon00, that buying green bottled beer by the case (or, when available, closed 12 or 6 packs) is the solution (altho', I've seen even "reputable" <g> dealers exposing sixpacks and singles of such beers, so it's "buyer beware" and since beer becomes light struck in a matter of hours, "We just got that in last week" is not good insurance).

                                As someone who's fussy about light-struck beer AND who's "house beers" have often been green bottles (Ballantine, Chesterfield, Straub, Jever, Pilsner Urquel...), the case purchase of as fresh as possible (less than 3 months old) is the only way to go.

                                If you're only buying a six-pack (depending on your local retailer) I'll often "steal" a sixpack out of a closed case ir ask a clerk to go into the cooler and do so, to insure non-skunked beers. (Usually only on a cloudy day, too <g>).

                      2. re: Chinon00

                        "The poster "JessKidden" listed a series of breweries including Stella Atois, Becks, St. Pauli Girl, and Spaten as examples of "industrial light lagers"".

                        Well, the list was actually more a list of some of the many Inbev's brands, picking out some of those better known in the US. Full list here:


                        1. re: JessKidden

                          I'm familiar with Inbev. Still you made the point to distingush out those beers that you listed as industrial light lagers. I simply disagreed with Spaten being included in that list.

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Hey, I'm not trying to argue with you re: Spaten. And only put the link to Inbev in there for those who may not be aware of the parent company of so many international brands.

                            That's not the way I read my post, I said only that the "old well-respected imports" could be seen as "ILL's" *and* (complete with semi-colon separator) that Lowenbrau was "just another beer in Inbev's stable" and listed some.

                            I admit I haven't had a Spaten other than Optimator in many years (gotta say, I don't even recall seeing the Pils on the shelf- will keep an eye out for it
                   and it's nice to see that the Lager is available in closed 12 packs) but, I agree, I should not have listed Spaten in that list of Inbev brands IF it could be read to imply that it was just an "ILL" brewer (gotta say, I probably threw Spaten in only because I was surprised to see it there).

                            In fact, as an apology to Spaten, the next time I'm in a good beer store, I'll look for Optimator (now that winter's begun on the East Coast) and pick up a six, a few loose Pils as well (if they look /or the date code is fresh)- tho' with Prima and Pikeland available to me, I don't usually buy many European pils save for a case or two of Jever in the summer.

                            And the next time we bump into each other in a bar with Spaten on tap, the first coupla rounds are on me!

                2. Had Lowenbrau during a vacation in Europe several years ago before I was the polished and wildly experienced (ha!) beer drinker that I am today. Even then I thought it was trash. I never looked back.

                  1. I'm still mad that they discontinued the Oktoberfest 5 liter keg can. It was a tasty modern era Oktoberfest beer that can be drunk liters at a time.

                    I like the "helles" bottles that are coming from Germany - it is what it is - a light colored lager that is meant to be drunk by the liter - still better than drinking bud.