Beer. Synonymous with Germany, right? Or more specifically, good beer. Now, I am a wine drinker normally (and it's ridiculously cheap here - about 3 Euro for a good bottle; that's less than $4 US), but you know what they say... when in Rome er, Germany...
The spotlight today is on Germany's very own 5,0 Original. The 5,o Orginal brand comes in 4 varieties: Pils, Weizen, Export, and Lemon (actually labelled 2,5 - I'll explain, don't worry).
I haven't tried the Weizen or the Export (I don't even know what "Export" means), so this spotlight will focus only on the Pils and the Lemon.
You see that photo up there? Yup, I'm reviewing canned German beer. When I first found this beer in my local market, I'll be honest, I just saw the German-flag design (a design released to celebrate the World Cup Finals - normally the Pils is in all black), but none of the words, and thought it was an energy drink. Then a couple of friends showed up to watch the World Cup bronze-medal game with a couple of cans of the stuff, and I was forced to look a little closer. Until then, I didn't even know they had canned beer here. Next time the hubs and I went to the store, we picked up the Pils and Lemon from sheer curiosity. (and because I thought the can was neat looking - very patriotic).
To start with, as the label says, it's a Pils. Yeah. Essentially, it's on the hoppier end of German beers. German beers as a rule are lagers (ales are traditionally a British concoction). Now, I am typically an ale drinker, on the rare occasions I drink beer, but I've liked almost every beer I've had here (with the exception of the pilsners, which is the closest thing to American beer out here, and hoppier than I personally care for). But the hubs likes the hoppy pilsner, so we got one.
The 5,0 Original Pils is definately on the hoppier end of the spectrum, although nothing like its lighter American counterparts. It's very refreshing, but is unfortunately marred by the faint aluminum taste imparted by the can. All in all, nothing to write home about (but apparently interesting enough to blog about... hm).
Now, I promised to explain the Lemon. There's a popular hot-weather drink out here called a Radler. Essentially it's a 50-50 mix of pils and "lemonade," which is nothing like the lemonade I grew up with back home. Lemonade here is essentially Sprite without the lime - clear, sweet, carbonated water with lemon flavor. And yes, it's perfectly acceptable to mix it into beer (really, the Germans told me so). You can even mix it with red or white wine for a Sußweinschorle (sweet wine spritzer).
Anyway, the 5,0 Original Lemon flavor is just that: a can of Radler. Hence the label saying 2,5 where the typical 5,0 usually stands.
According to one site, the professionals rank this beer pretty low, but the average Joe seems pretty happy with it. For the price, you really can't beat it. A typical half litre bottle of German beer runs about 85 (Euro) cents. The 5,0 Original? About 35 cents. They can get away with that price by having absolutely no TV advertising presense - seriously, they print that right on the can itself. It's just a simple bold design intended to catch your eye just long enough for you to say "Holy Cow! That's cheap!" and grab a few dozen cases. (That, in a nutshell, is what all that German on the label says)
The downside to this particular beer is obviously tied to its packaging. While the design is ingenius (see above), the aluminum can is really a sure death for any otherwsie good beer. It does supposedly come in bottles too, but I have yet to find it.
I would recommend staying away from the Lemon - just mix your own. Considering you can basically get 2 cans of this beer plus a bottle of lemonade to mix your own Radler, you're getting twice the beverage for practically the same price. Plus, mixing your own dilutes the aluminum-can-taste to a manageable level, and gives you more control over your proportions. And the way I see it, if you're going to dilute your beer anyway, why spend over twice as much for the better beer anyway?