Browar Kasztelan - Kasztelan Unpasteurized
- Alcohol by Volume: 5.4%
- Bottle Size: 500-ml
- Serving Temperature: 40-45° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pilsner Glass, Flute
Unpasteurized beers are common in the craft beer scene in the US, where many brews are bottle conditioned with carbonation forming naturally as fermentation continues in the bottle. Unpasteurized European lagers are less common, but we’re digging this one from Poland. Though unpasteurized, this brew is filtered, so there’s no haze or yeast in suspension as it rests in our glasses, presenting a bright golden color topped by a large head of white foam. On the nose, we picked up some fruity notes akin to apple skins and white grape juice, along with a dash of lemony citrus zest, touches of grass and hay, and notes of freshly broken bread. Look for the malts to open across the palate with some bready and biscuity character, lightly toasted, and bearing just a hint of sweetness. The fruity elements found in the aroma pop through here, as well, with a note of toast and hay building into the finish where moderate hop bitterness counters the malty sweetness and delivers a crisp, clean, drying note which beckons another sip. For pairing options, we’d angle towards bready and breaded dishes like pizza, empanadas, fried chicken, fish & chips, or schnitzel. Na zdrowie!
Browar Kasztelan can trace its heritage back to the 14th century, when records show beer production was well undeway in the city of Sierpc. More recently, the current brewery’s roots trace back to the mid 19th century when Fryderyk Phelke founded what would eventually become Kasztelan. However, the present brewery was built much more recently, with initial beer flowing in summer of 1972. The new brewery was upgraded with additional equipment over the next several months before reaching full scale production of 350,000 hectoliters, an impressive figure. An on-site malt house was completed in 1977, which not only supplied the brewery but also foreign breweries in nations as far flung as Japan, Brazil, Germany, South Korean, Nigeria, and even the Soviet Union.
At first, the brewery specialized in producing only unpasteurized beer to meet the local market’s demand for the style. As the enterprise evolved, additional styles were added, and in 1991 the brewery, known then as Zakłady Piwowarskie, was spun off from its original owners and became a Polish state-owned brewery. In 1999, Bitburger bought a majority stake and the name was changed to Kasztelan Browar Sierpc in 2000, a nod to a sort of local official or governor whose title was derived from the Latin “castellum”, or castle. Kasztelan then merged in 2005 with Carlsberg Polska to form the corporate structure we know today. But, throughout it all, the thrust of the brewery has remained the same: a focus on local Polish lager styles, all while being modernized into a spotless top-of-the-line brewing facility. They currently produce three lagers known as Kasztelan Mocne (Strong), Kasztelan Jasne Pełne (Bright Full), and Kasztelan Niepasteryzowane (Unpasteurized), this month’s selection.
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