Join Club

Your Beermonger: The Brews of Klosterbraueri Reutberger

Your Beermonger logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Sometimes in a job like mine, something comes along that fills a need you weren’t even sure you had.

Such was the case when a local distributor started coming around with beer from an importer called Uplifters Spirits. The Uplifters portfolio is small but full of some of the most exciting classic German Ales and Lagers I’ve tried in a very long time. The subtle bitterness and pinpoint grassy character of Schonramer Pils along with the smooth, bright, fruity nature of the Hopf brewery’s Wheat Ales made me take notice of what Uplifters Spirits had to offer, but it’s been the beers of Klosterbraueri Reutberger that I’ve really been taken with.

From a tradition of brewing stretching back some 300 years, the beers of the nuns of the Reutberg Kloster continue to impress, even if it’s tough to pin down just who is producing the beer today — but more on that later. First, the important bit: what the beers are like.

Reutberger beersExport Hell is lush, with a sweetness to its malty character that makes it feel much bigger than 5.1% ABV. Those who find old school Lagers a little nondescript would do well to try Reutberger Export Hell.

At 5.2%, Export Dunkel isn’t much stronger than a traditional Schwarzbier, but there are significant differences. What separates Export Dunkel from a standard Black Lager is the smoothness of its mouthfeel, and the emphasis placed on allowing the yeast character from the Export Hell to carry through with the addition of some wonderful chocolate and toffee notes. The roasty acidity found in Schwarzbier isn’t present in Export Dunkel, which contributes to its easy-going nature.

The most recent arrival from Reutberger is the Josefi Bock. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the Reutberger cloister, and this strong Lager is brewed yearly in his honor. Unlike the Export Lagers, Josefi Bock more than lives up to the strength expectations of modern drinkers; at 6.9% ABV it’s even a bit strong compared to other Bocks. The 50/50 split of dark and light malts used gives Josefi Bock just enough sweetness while allowing the exact right amount of hoppy bitterness and alcoholic heat to come through, keeping the beer from feeling cloying.

Now for the weirdness. It is said that Kloster Reutberger introduced Bavaria to the Export Lager style, wherein a Helles or Dunkel Lager is made to be stronger for the sake of travel, but that’s the kind of claim that often can’t be proven. Despite Reutberger’s website stating that the cloister was founded in 1617, the Uplifters Spirits website notes for Reutberger Export Hell claim it was first brewed in the 1400s.

Information on the history of brewing at the Reutberg cloister is patchy, though much of the fog can be chalked up to my less-than-competent German. What is generally accepted is that initial brewing began at Reutberg in 1677, after the nuns established an early tradition of enjoying a good brew after a hard day of farming work during the cloister’s first few decades. The ensuing 336 years have seen various closings and re-openings of the Reutberger brewery, including its purchase in the mid-1920s by a brewer’s co-op.

At this point in my research I was starting to worry about how ‘all-in’ I’d gone on the Reutberger beers. The easiest way for a brewery to lose ‘credibility’ in the eyes of beer geeks is for any aspect of its authenticity to come into question — and regardless of how much I enjoyed the beers themselves, the murkiness of Reutberg’s history would keep many folks from giving them a try.

I reached out to Andy Gabel, local representative of Reutberger’s distributor here in Virginia, with hopes that he could clear things up for me. His response was one I’d anticipated but nonetheless was glad to hear: today, Reutberger is a tourist destination/resort in addition to the cloister itself.

The brewery is located within the cloister, with a brewmaster and his apprentice employed by the nuns to make the beer. This is a common arrangement for many monastery beers, especially the bigger Belgian ones — you can read up on some of these practices in my column on Abbey and Trappist Ales — where the brewing operation grows large enough that it makes more sense to have a more ‘commercial’ brewing operation installed and overseen by the monks (or nuns in this case). What was nice to hear was how involved the nuns of Kloster Reutberger still are in the beer-making process; part of the grain bill for their beers is grown and harvested on the property, with the nuns participating in the farming, bottling, and packaging.

It’s easy to be cynical today, but more often than not it’s worth doing a little digging rather than dismissing something out-of-hand. Are the nuns of Kloster Reutberger doing the brewing of their beer today as they were 300 years ago? No, but it is their beer and it is not only delicious, but traditionally styled and priced well to boot. Wherever you might see Reutberger’s beer available, give it a shot and drink in confidence. Until next time.

Cheers!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

Recent Stories

The owner of the bakery Cake Baby is celebrating one year of opening at the Pentagon City mall — and being out of her parents’ house. In December 2021, a…

A coalition of parents will be marching on Friday at Wakefield High School to encourage students not to use drugs and to demand a countywide response to in-school opioid use….

The freshest cold-pressed juice, cashew milks and cleanses delivered straight to your home or office from Greenheart Juice Shop! Greenheart delivers to over 100 zip codes in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. Check your delivery day here and…

Renovations to a pair of office buildings in Crystal City, including the construction of a new pedestrian plaza, are set to wrap up this spring. Work kicked off last year…

Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?

If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.

In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.

Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Almost, Maine

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each

First-time Moms Meet & Greet

The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…

×

Subscribe to our mailing list