It's been said that it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. If there's one thing I've learned from my whopping two harvests it's that where there are winemakers in autumn mode, there's at least a growler if not a keg somewhere nearby. Crushing, pressing, racking, filtering, and analyzing wine all day just makes you crave a nice cold one, and this weekend, just when I was beginning to wonder if I'd survive this record-breaking craft beer dry spell, my beer-loving German roommate Christoph scored me and my roommates reservations at the Paulaner brewery on Cape Town's waterfront for the premier release of their Salvator Dopplebock.
We arrived at the brewery's beautiful waterfront restaurant and each ordered the Salvator; it came in 300 mL, half-liter and one-liter servings and Glenn had the presence of mind to go for the liter. As you can see, he completely showed us all up, even Christoph.
The Salvator was delicious. My usual complaint about dopplebocks is that they are often too sweet, sacrificing balance in the midst of an overly-assertive malt presence on the midpalate and a little too much alcohol. This version, however, nailed it. Combining beautiful, round, full, chocolatey/caramelly German malts with a crisp hop finish, it hid its 7.5% ABV so well that we were treating it like a session beer (hence the liter servings). Its appearance impressed me as well - dark enough for a porter with a creamy tanned head that made for an unusually sexy German bock. A fantastic end to my period of real-beer celibacy.
Glenn made us all feel less manly with his beer-drinking superiority but Christoph's menu choice was even more intimidating. He went for the pork knuckle, which to my understanding is a pig ankle deep fried and drowned in a slew of potatoes and gravy. Below, he plans his attack strategy.
My pork schnitzel wasn't as impressive visually but was both authentic (my German culinary expertise is informed by my German grandma's cooking and by Ulrich's Tavern in Buffalo, but as far as I'm concerned that's background enough) and tasty with my third mug of Salvator. Erik, our other German national, was kind enough to demonstrate traditional German table etiquette:
After a long week this beer-licious night was just what we all needed and a great way to kick off the fall beer season. To readers in the southern hemisphere: happy fall!! To those of you in the north: don't worry, Maibock season is coming up soon.