It’s that time of the month again, when High Point Brewery, maker of Ramstein beers, opens its doors for tours and tasting. Much more welcome than a visit from Aunt Flo, let me tell you.This time they released their fantastic Double Platinum Blonde, a double hefeweizen, a rare brew anywhere and definitely worth a trip to the brewery for.
It has all the smoothness of their flagship Blonde Hefeweizen, with a deeper full body and plenty of fruit notes within its wheaty character. It’s really fantastic, and it’s a shame they don’t bottle it. You don’t see beers of this type very often, much less this quality.
The crowd was lighter than usual, and I attribute that to the Maibock season being over. Well, Maibock fans, you should have come for the Double Platinum! Your loss. I grabbed a growler of it, and another of the classic, which I’ve fast become fond of. Their best creation is still the even rarer Eisbock, based on their Winter Wheat, a smooth and chocolatey seasonal brew. The Eisbock version, which requires 3 days of 25 degree weather to make, is even smoother and something like 12.5% alcohol. That’ll warm you up on a cold winter day. If only they could make it every year. Maybe they could borrow a deep freeze from someone, if they could find one big enough…
Hefeweizens and Weiss beers are my favorites, and Greg & company at Ramstein have been top on my list since I found the Blonde at the now-gone Triangle Hofbrau restaurant on Route 23. I took Darth Milk there on his 21st birthday in the pouring rain, and we saw “Ramstein Blonde 22oz” on the beer list. Being fans of the German band Rammstein, we had to try it, and we haven’t regretted it since. It reminded me of the first weissbier I had at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, a brauhaus in Minneapolis, and I haven’t had a better one, even when I went to Bavaria. As you’d learn on the tour, they get their wheat, hops and yeast from a Bavarian source for which they have an exclusive partnership.
If you like Belgian beers, don’t overlook the German weissbiers, especially the ones coming out of Butler New Jersey, by High Point Brewery. Their Classic Hefeweizen with its darker character is a delicious amber brew, and their flagship Blonde is rightfully famous for being the best German-style hefeweizen found on this continent. Their Oktoberfest is another award-winner, and their maibock is my favorite harbinger of spring.
If you can’t make it on the Second Saturday of the month from 2-4pm for the Open House, call the brewery and stop by during the week, where you can get a growler filled (or purchase an empty if you need one) or get six-packs. Their site also lists bars and stores that carry their beer; Bottle King is always a safe bet. Beer lover’s havens in NYC such as Gingerman Pub, and Spuytin Duivil carry Ramstein on tap regularly, as does the Kabin (home of the Tommy Danger Comedy Hour). Andy’s Corner Bar in Bogota (convenient to the GWB and Hiram’s hotdog stand) also carries it on tap, including specialties like the Double Platinum and they even had the Eisbock.
Even if you don’t like beer, the hefeweizen, along with Belgian whites, are the place to start. Smooth and silk and a very mild hop note without bitterness, there’s nothing better on a warm summer day. My limes are going bad because I keep going for the growler instead of making a gin & tonic on warm days. Thankfully the brewery now takes credit cards, so you can buy a half-dozen growlers if you want to. And after a taste, you will. Oh, and why not stop at the Bee Line for a chili dog on the way to or from the brewery? On a nice day you can sit at their picnic table by the stream, though I don’t think you can BYOB.