If I wanted water, I would have asked for water.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Quiet Reliability of Ayinger

I have been working on lagers for the past six weeks, slowly making my way through pale, amber, dark lagers and this week, bocks.  A feature of the book I'm working on is called "the beers to know," which includes a selection that typify the type I've just been writing about.  Every time I get to that section, I buy a bunch of European lagers, look through my travel notes, and study ratings sites like BeerAdvocate to see which small breweries around the country I should be looking at.  And every time, Ayinger is there at the top.  Their beers are among my faves, and they're beloved by the people, too.  For a number of reasons, I don't put a lot of stock in the ratings sites, but have a look at how well Ayinger does; below is a list of the various styles and where Ayinger ranks among all beers of that style brewed in the world.  First is BeerAdvocate, second RateBeer.
Hefeweizen: 6, 8
Dunkel lager: 3, 3
Doppelbock: 1, 1
Export: 2, 16
Maibock: 13, 1
Marzen: 8, 1
Dunkelweizen: 3, 4
Weizenbock, 5, 12
When you click through these styles, you see a lot of familiar names near the top--Augustiner, Andechs, Weihenstephan, Schneider.  But Schneider doesn't brew lagers, and most of the Bavarian lager breweries don't brew any wheats beyond a single weizen.  Ayinger, with all-Bavarian ingredients, open wheatbier fermentation, and a modern eco-brewery, plays both fields.  I don't often hear them discussed in the hushed tones reserved for Augustiner and Schneider--who certainly earn their respect.  Leave aside the ratings, which are obviously problematic, and go with what your senses tell you.  I think you'll conclude that Ayinger is surely one of the best Bavarian breweries. 

1 comment:

RobotChris said...

I'm really glad to hear that I'm not alone in loving Ayinger. Their wheat beers in particular are among my favorite beers anywhere, hands down. Weihenstephan's weizen is great, to be sure, but for me it's nowhere close to Ayinger's for me.

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