Brauerei Zoller-Hof - Zoller Zwickel
- ABV: 5.5%
- Serving Temperature: 42-47° F
- Suggested Glassware: Stange, Pilsner Glass, Mug
Zwickelbier is a variation on kellerbier, which is a German style known for being unfiltered and matured in cellars in wood casks left not completely sealed, which allows much of the carbonation to escape. Zwickel casks, however, are usually sealed for a while before bottling, allowing more carbonation to build up. They are also usually crafted to be a bit lighter in flavor (usually hop flavor) than kellerbier, although we found Zoller-Hof’s version which we bring you this month to be quite flavorful indeed. Like the Riedenburger Emmer Bier, this is the first time Zoller Zwickel has ever come to America, and we’re very excited to introduce it to our members. Pouring a pale golden color and lightly hazy, Zoller Zwickel offers plenty of prominent Tettnanger noble hop aromas, manifesting with a characteristic herbal, spicy zing, with just a hint of citrus zest. German brewing is often characterized by excellent balance, and this zwickelbier is no exception. On the palate, there’s a solid core of pale malt perfectly balanced by mild hop bitterness and spicy and lightly floral noble hop character. Enjoy this beer with a salty soft pretzel or grilled German sausages. Prost!
Situated just across the Danube River from the impressive and iconic castle known as Schloss Sigmaringen lies Brauerei Zoller-Hof, which is currently in the hands of its 6th generation of family brewers. The brewery got its start back in 1845 when Carl Fidelis Graf built a small gastropub brewery to serve the town of Sigmaringen. Later, his son, Hermann, took over from his father and by the 1890s had brought electric power to the brewery, a very impressive technological advance at the time.
Paul Graf, representing the third generation of Graf brewers, built an all new brewery to help expand the business, and he took another technological leap forward by introducing refrigeration to replace ice, allowing the brewery to maintain proper year-round temperature control. World War II was an extraordinarily difficult time for most European breweries, especially German ones (which often ended up completely leveled from Allied air attacks), but Paul’s son, Hermann, and Hermann’s brother-in-law, Alexander Fleischhut, guided the brewery through the tough times and eventually expanded the operation further with new equipment and a new maturation cellar (critical for lager production).
Peter Fleischhut, the 5th generation, studied brewing at Weihenstephan in Bavaria (where Brauerei Weihenstephan claims to be the oldest operational brewery, dating to 1040), and joined Zoller-Hof in the 1960s. During his tenure, which lasted until 2002, he guided the brewery from a relatively small operation to a mid-sized regional brewery. His daughter, Claudia Sieben, is now the 6th link in the chain, managing an operation consisting of around 45 employees.
The brewery is devoted to using only regionally-grown ingredients, including local Tettnanger hops, famous the world over. Additionally, Zoller-Hof knows how to take their time when crafting their traditional lagers, which spend around 6 weeks in cold maturation (known as lagering) instead of the 2-4 weeks typical of cheaper brands. For more information about the brewery (if you’re ever in the area, stop by for a brewery tour), visit www.zoller-hof.de/en/.
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