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Friday, 28 March 2014 16:43

2 more eisbock'd beers for Ramstein taproom release

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If you couldn’t get your head around this week’s annoying early spring snowfall, then maybe this will help you find some purpose to a grueling winter that is hopefully now over.

High Point Brewing industriously took advantage of this year’s polar onslaught with a spree of ice beers, four times as many as the Butler (Morris County) brewery normally does over a typical winter. Two of the brews are gone, alas, but two more are waiting in the wings for brewery releases in April and May.

oh-my-ice“Oh My, Ice,” is Ramstein’s just-released maibock given the eisbock freezing treatment, a process that kicks the beer’s alcohol content up a few extra percentage points. Meanwhile, the lightest Ramstein beer, Golden Lager (3.5% ABV), was also frozen to create Fools Gold for an April Fools Day release. “Oh My, Ice” is on the calendar for May 1.

“We tried to make something positive out of a cold and somewhat brutal winter,” says High Point owner Greg Zaccardi. “ ‘Oh My, Ice’ has a rich caramel bock flavor profile with warming vanilla notes and slight wink of heat in the finish. I describe (Golden Ice) as the essence of what we tried to accomplish here, which was to make a helles beer with a foolishly above-normal Bavarian helles alcohol content. The flavor is classic malty, clean noble hop aroma and subtle flavor, with an appreciable heat from the 6 percent-plus ABV.”

At the start of the year, followers of High Point were already anticipating Icestorm, the brewery’s signature velvety smooth eisbock, made annually – weather-permitting – by freezing the brewery’s 9.5% ABV Winter Wheat Doppelbock. (Eisbock is a northern Bavaria twist on doppelbock.)

Icestorm was gone faster than, well, ice on blacktop in July. So the brewery went back to the drawing board, and Ramstein fans got a bonus: Polar Platinum.

“We had another polar vortex come down,” Greg tells Beer-Stained Letter. “But we didn’t have any Winter Wheat left to freeze, so we decided to take our Double Platinum Blonde (7% ABV) and put it outside, go through the freezing process … That became Polar Platinum, which people loved.”

Winter usually only offers one good shot at having the three consecutive days below 30 degrees that are needed to pull off an eisbock, Greg says. So, with winter digging its heels in, and Polar Platinum proving as popular as Icestorm, the brewery had plenty of reasons to keep putting beer out in the deep freeze.

“We thought that was going to be it, and we’d get warm weather. Then we had another shockwave of cold come down from Canada,” Greg says. “We’d already packaged our maibock for the year, so we said let’s do something we’ve never done before and put a lager beer outside and freeze that.”

Make that two lagers; a keg of Ramstein’s year-round Bavarian helles joined the keg of maibock out in the cold. (Ramstein’s Winter Wheat and hefe-weizens are made with ale yeasts.)

“It’s kind of a neat beer that we never envisioned doing, but just decided to have some fun in the snow and cold,” Greg says “Now that we have the opportunity to invite people into our brewery and they can sit down and have a beer, we also want to make it interesting.”

Pils-LabelAlso of note:
April will see a return of Ramstein Imperial Pilsner in 12-ounce bottles and six-packs. An initial bottling of the 7% ABV pilsner was sold only at the brewery taproom. This time, the beer will go out via High Point’s distribution channels.


Read 41010 times Last modified on Friday, 28 March 2014 17:08

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