Germany is not a country usually associated with whisky manufacture. They do love their whiskies however – and it is one of the top export countries for both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky companies.
Germany also has a long tradition of distilling – mainly schnapps – but is increasingly turning to whisky.
So when a friend invited us over to Berlin last weekend – I made it my goal to sample some of the expressions emanating from these German distilleries – I must say – I was very impressed!
Very friendly staff guided me through their German Whisky range which included tasting a few samples from bottles the shop already had opened for customers to try.
Slyrs Single Malt provided a much more enjoyable experience. Aged in new American White Oak casks this 3 year old gave a lovely woody aroma with a pleasingly smooth taste for it’s youthfulness. No wonder it has gained awards!
Loaded down with my booty I ambled down to Greenwich Parade where The Fisherman’s Restaurant have an outdoor picnic area. I indulged in Fish ‘n’ Chips delightfully overlooking the Tegeler See in the bright sunshine!
Eshenbrau in Wedding was a fantastic place where many beer and whisky enthusiasts congregate in the outdoor beer garden set in the middle of a housing scheme to enjoy the beverages made only a stone’s throw away. They also served lovely flammkuchen to soak up the alcohol!
A fine range of beers are available all year round with seasonal brews regularly alternating on the menu. They have also started whisky production which I was eager to sample.
The three styles on offer were all a youthful 3 years old;
Pete – aged in American oak,
Charlie – aged in chardonnay casks and
Amber – aged in Spessart German oak for a truly home grown product.
All of them were pleasantly quaffable with a hint of youthfulness but the Amber finally came out tops with rich woody notes and a slightly smoother finish. As the only venue to buy this whisky is at the distillery I duly bought a bottle – as well as the lovely tasting glass.
The rest of my time in Berlin was taken up by the more normal tourist spots – but I was impressed by the range of Irish, Scottish and American whiskeys available in nearly all the restaurants and bars we entered. I took the opportunity to try out a Bulleit Rye whilst dining outside in the trendy Prenzlaur Berg area which despite being a little sweet in comparison to the German expressions – I enjoyed very much.
For whiskey fans Germany has much to offer. The sheer number of whiskey distilleries produce a vast array of styles, finishes and malts that match that of Scotland in terms of taste and quality – although volumes are small by comparison. Independently family owned or craft distilleries are the order of the day supplying local markets so expressions can be hard to track down – but from my experience well worth the effort.
Go on – try a German Whisky – 3 outta of 4 ain’t bad – to mangle a Meatloaf lyric!