Posted by: Michael | 15 February 2009

Brew Review #6 – Spaten Optimator

Today I’m reviewing Spaten Optimator.

First, we begin with a shot of the bottle and the glass I used to drink it. I thought the Hoegaarden Witbier glass was huge; check out this Spaten monster of a stein. It’s got large dimples all over it:

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The bottle itself isn’t anything particularly attractive; I had a closer photo of it, but as it’s not much in the eye candy department, I’ll give you a rundown of the label’s contents sans photo. You can clearly see “Optimator – Spaten – Munich” surrounding the spade logo in the middle; on the sides one finds “Since – 1397.” We’re told that the Optimator is brewed and bottled by Spaten-Bräu, Munich, Germany and imported by Spaten North America, Inc. of Little Neck, New York. In script along the bottom of the label one reads “Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, München.” On the backside, in addition to the usual US Surgeon-General warning, we read “Brewed exclusively from Alpine water, barley malt, hops and yeast, according to the famous Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law) of 1516.” Now then – let’s get on with the fun part. Here’s a shot of the beer in the stein:

Yes, that's an entire 11.2 fluid ounce bottle in this stein. Dwarfed.

Yes, that’s an entire 11.2 fluid ounce bottle in this stein. Dwarfed.

That head is about half an inch thick; it quickly shrank to about a quarter, a thickness which it maintained throughout the session. I don’t know how well it’s going to come through on this photo, but one word (or name, rather) came to mind when I gazed upon this German genius: Coca-Cola. Yes, it’s that dark, lovely colour of non-alcoholic American deliciousness. Once I plunged my nose deep into the glassware, memories of my grandmother’s kitchen came to mind, as the distinct smell of vegetable soup came from this beer. The first sip, which looked like this from my point of view:

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The Optimator carried a bit of vegetable soup taste to accompany the nose, but the biggest part of what I tasted was bitterness. The mouthfeel was decidedly creamy, almost milky (perhaps skim). The throat and aftertaste was rather spicy. This was how the beer tasted throughout most of the session, although at one point toward the end I noticed a slightly coppery minerality.

The delicious nose and slightly soup taste of Spaten Optimator was pleasing, and I’m going to rate it an A-. I found it at Big Red Liquors in Bloomington and I trust you can do the same at your local fine brew shop. I can’t recall the exact price of this particular bottle, but I want to say it can be found for less than $4.00.

Don’t forget – alcohol is meant to be enjoyed, but it can hurt you and those around you. Drink responsibly – buzzed driving is drunk driving, too. Enjoy your fine brews in moderation, and don’t be afraid to know when it’s time to stop. As they say over at Beer Advocate – Respect Beer!

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