Thursday, November 08, 2007

Green bottles: Spaten, you ought to know better

Given that by now the effect of putting beer in green bottles is pretty well known, I can't imagine why any brewery still does it. In short, in case you're not aware of it: that "skunky" smell that many Americans have come to associate with imported beer is actually the effect of light altering the beer. If you want to avoid that smell, put your beer in brown bottles, not green or clear bottles. I bring this up because, when this cool weather hit yesterday, I absolutely had to replenish my Oktoberfest stocks, and so I grabbed some Spaten Oktoberfest at Spec's on the way home. I didn't notice the bottles were green, and sure enough, when I had one at lunch, the experience was marred a bit by that nasty smell. Which is a shame, because Spaten is good beer. Later that night I had the same beer on tap at Scholz Garten, and it was significantly better. Spaten, why are you messing up your beer this way? Get with the program. Master brewers should know better. (And as you can see from the photo, they don't always do this.)

Speaking of my evening at Scholz's, they just added Shiner Black to their taps, so I had to try it. Oddly, I found it disappointing. I'm not sure why, but it didn't taste right to me. Maybe I just had Oktoberest-ish beers on the brain and should have followed my instincts, but I think maybe I prefer this beer poured from the bottle (an anomaly for me). I'll have to try it again sometime and compare — perhaps I just got an off batch.

6 comments:

Randall said...

Interestingly enough, we just tried some of the Shiner Black Lager; I was prepared to not think much of it, but really liked it. Perhaps it's the same effect in reverse: low expectations=like the beer a lot.

Oktoberfest Dude said...

I bought a case of that same Spaten at Costco for $22 and sure enough it disappointed. I usually stick with draft imports.

Bob Knoxious said...

Lee, I think we got it the first time when you said you didn't like Shiner Black....now shut the hell up!

Heineken actually keeps their beer in green bottles because the skunky flavor is part of the taste profile. For some reason most German Lagers come in green bottles as well...and Pilsner Urquell is ruined by it too. I'm not a fan of the flavor...but skunky seems to be what people like in their import lagers.

Now I'll shut the hell up.

Lee said...

I never said I didn't like Shiner Black … I said I thought there are better examples of the style out there.

Home Brew said...

I read about the green bottles, that they were employed – not because it is better but because there was a shortage of brown glass in Europe at the time and that brown glass is superior.

Chris Ehmett said...

We can not get Spaten Oktoberfest this year In NH. Some distribution snafu with InBev. The owner of one of my regular beer supply stations said that anyone who is selling it is selling beer from last year (at least in the north east). Might explain the skunkiness you are experiencing if what you are buying has been sitting around for that long. I've always bought 12 packs, which completely enclose the bottles in card board and have yet to find a skunky one yet.