The Kellerbier is only recently coming back into fashion, but was once a very famous variety of beer in Germany. Kellerbier is pretty much an unfiltered and unpasteurized lager brewed with pale malts – it dates all the way back to the middle ages. They show a creamier and less crisp mouthfeel than a pilsner, but also offer up more warm malt sweetness.
Les Trois Mousquetaires is becoming one of my favorite Quebec breweries; their Baltic Porter is among the best porters I’ve ever had! This Keller is on the other end of the spectrum from the Baltic Porter – it is 5.5% abv, comes in a corked 750ml bottle, and provides creamy smooth lagered goodness. This is not usually the first beer style I will pull out of the fridge, but on the right day and occasion it fits just perfectly. Think about a hot day, but you’ve been inside the whole time. You want something smooth and refreshing, but don’t need the absolute crispness of a pilsner or pale ale. Kellerbier to the rescue!
I opened the Keller up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed Pilsner glass. The beer was dangerously pretty glowing a soft, slightly hazy golden orange in the center, which shined outwards to a rich transparent copper yellow with hints of brown and sun. The head was a magnificent pure white foam 2 inches on top of the beer and was filled with big airy bubbles and dense carbonation. The contrast here was sublime. It was like a silver head glimmering on top a gold plated beer – very awesome.
The nose was very delicate with soft floral aromas of lavender, fresh herbs, cut grass, and whole hops. Malts are not totally devoid here though; gentle biscuit and pale malts shine in through the back and bring a very light caramel and slightly warm toffee along with. There is a touch of citrus here also, but overall the nose is elegant and reminiscent of fresh flowers and blooming whole hops.
This is a smooth and juicy beer – if you are looking for gentle, clean, but creamy and flavorful, this is a delicious treat. All that floral aroma which is so soft on the nose comes in here right away and just washes over your tongue in a balancing act of pale and light caramel malt, and the distinct flavor of fresh bakes bread and biscuits.
While the malt is here, really a round hop bitterness greats you first showing herbal notes of hay field, light citrus zest, and a touch of spice. The bitter is wide and smooth and just powerful enough to clean your palate with ease. Malts to come back though and bring some sweetness that I didn’t initially expect. There is honey, banana, peaches and plums all lightly touching my cheeks and finishing with a hint of toast and again biscuit.
The mouthfeel is very silky with medium carbonation, but fine and precise bubbles. This beer melts across your mouth and brings much more flavor than 5.5% suggests. That being said, it is generous, not powerful. This is a Keller, and by definition is soft and juicy, not large and aggressive. The hop freshness at the front and back of the beer makes it very refreshing, and the mellow balance of malts helps it remain purely delicious.
I would keep this beer away from more intense foods like Indian, Mexican or Chinese food – it will just be overwhelmed. But it will work wonders with grilled meats, soft cheeses or fish. I feel like the winter will wash it away, so enjoy it in the sun, and it will treat you right.