Monday, November 4, 2013

Want to know more about... Keller and Zwickel Biers?

Kellerbire "Ungespundetes" at Braurei Spezial
in Bamberg, Germany.

"What did you just call me!? I do believe this guy insulted me in German!!"

No, no, no. Or should I say, "nein, nein, nein." Kellerbier and Zwickelbier are two German beer styles. The short description is both Kellerbier and Zwickelbier are unfiltered beers from Germany each having an ale and lager variation.

Keller (cellar in German) and Zwickelbier are frailly old styles as they have been around since the middle ages. These beers are rarely found outside of Germany, apart from the craft breweries creating their own interpretations of them. Samuel Adams Alpine Spring, for example, is a readily available (during the spring season) variation.

An authentic Kellerbier has very little effervescence due to the way it is matured (see links below), lots of hop and complex yeasty flavors, and a smooth finish that balances malt and hops nicely. Zwickelbiers are similar in many characteristics to Kellerbier but differ in a few qualities. Zwickelbiers are highly effervescent with a nice, thick head of foam, less bitterness and hop character (therefore, less of a shelf-life), and is overall less aggressive than Kellerbire.

According to the Brewers Association Style Guidelines, Kellerbier and Zwickelbier have both an Ale and Lager version. This basically depends on what is the base-beer that is unfiltered and will usually depend on what area of Germany you are in. For example in Köln, the unfiltered Kölsch Bier (an Ale) will be offered as a Keller or Zwickel, while in Munich an unfiltered Helles Bier (a Lager) will take the stage as either one of the two. These are just two examples as just about any beer can be served in the Keller or Zwickel style, depending on the pub you happen to be at.

For more information, visit the provided links below that can further explain some of the points mentioned above.

These beers are quite interesting and were one of my many pleasant beer-drinking surprises for the duration of my recent stay in Germany. I highly recommend you keep an eye open for and give these a try in the rare occasions they are available in the U.S.


Gilbert “Charlie” Perez, Certified Cicerone®

Helpful and resource links from German Beer Institute (Click on the style)

Zoiglbier (A Keller sub-style)