Riedenburger Brauhaus - Historisches Emmer Bier
- ABV: 5.1%
- Suggested Glassware: Weizen Glass, Stange, Mug
Emmer is a type of wheat which was among the earliest cultivated grains in human history (actually pre-history, to be accurate), dating to Neolithic times. Before its cultivation, hunter gatherers harvested it wherever it grew wildly, with the earliest evidence of its consumption dating to approximately 19,000 years ago near the Sea of Galilee. It, along with barley and einkorn, was a staple crop in the Fertile Crescent, and it was also used by the ancient Egyptians to make beer. Here and now in the 21st century, Riedenburger’s Emmer Bier gives us a chance to connect a bit to our early history, as it’s made with emmer along with lesser quantities of einkorn, spelt, barley and wheat. Like all of Riedenburger’s beers, Emmer Bier is bottled unfiltered (naturtrüb), so expect a very hazy deep brownish amber on the pour, and don’t be surprised if there’s some yeast sediment in the bottle. On the nose, look for some rich bready notes, caramelized malts, a touch of spicy hops, hints of baking spices, and a wisp of dried fruit. In the flavor department, very tasty bready notes remind us of both the doughy center and a toasty crust. Hops add a mildly bitter and spicy counterpoint, and we picked up a certain nutty or woody undertone too, along with a hint of grape skin. The lack of filtration contributes to this brew’s robust body. It’s not heavily carbonated, and thus comes across a bit like a kellerbier crossed with a specialty grain dunkelweizen. We dig it. Try pairing it with a simple plate of nutty cheeses, or go for roasted chicken or turkey. Prost!
Today’s Riedenburger Brauhaus can trace its roots back to 1866 when Michael Krieger bought an existing brewery in Riedenburg, Bavaria, one of five breweries in the small town astride the river Altmühl. The brewery began growing in prominence under the stewardship of Michael Krieger III in the 1950s, when they began producing Bavarian wheat beers and ultimately became one of the area’s preeminent producers.
After studying brewing and business administration, Michael IV took over from his father in 1970. The next couple of decades saw many craft breweries in Germany go out of business or get gobbled up as large conglomerate brands began to dominate market share. (A similar story was happening in Britain, as well.) Instead of giving up or selling out, Krieger and his wife, Martha, doubled down and began carving out a niche for their brewery by specializing in ingredients sourced via organic and sustainable local farming.
From 1989 onward, Riedenburger Brauhaus devoted itself to organic ingredients and “green” brewing techniques, blazing a trail for other German beer makers by becoming the first Bioland certified organic brewery in Bavaria in 1994. The drilling of a 470 ft. well provides the brewery with naturally pure artesian water which requires no treatment. Numerous other ecologically-minded changes have been implemented in recent years, including the installation of solar panels, and embracing ancient heirloom grains like einkorn, spelt and emmer. We’re very excited to be able to bring you a very special beer from this family-owned Bavarian brewery, which until now has never been exported to these shores. For more brewery information, visit www.riedenburger.de/en/.
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