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Kapuziner Gold

"Kapuziner" is the German word for an order of friars, known in English as Capuchins. They were a breakaway from the Franciscans. There was a friary brewery as early as the 1300s in the town of Kulmbach, in the northern part of Bavaria, Germany.

There are believed to have been five or six hundred friary or monastery breweries in Europe over the centuries, but many of these abbeys were dissolved by Napoleon. The Kulmbach Kapuziner name survives on the Mšnchshof (Monk's Courtyard) range of beers. These beers are now made by EKU (the initials of the original German name "First United Brewery of Kulmbach"), dating from 1872.

The range includes several wheat beers, among them Kapuziner Gold. This is a wheat beer. In Germany, such beers are sometimes identified on the label by the word Weizen, on other occasions by the term Weisse ("white", possibly a reference to the pale head). Wheat beers typically have a fruity, acidic, quenching character. The South German examples are often spicy, sometimes with a bubblegum-like clovey character. They are served as "breakfast" beers (actually with a mid-morning snack of veal sausages and bread) and as a summer refresher.

Kapuziner Gold has a full, bright colour; a fragrant aroma; and peachy, plum-like, characteristics, with some bubblegum flavours; slightly syrupy and sweet at first, becoming dry and crisp in the finish. It has 5.4 per cent alcohol by volumes.

It is, in the most popular German style, bottled with a sediment of yeast. In German, the word for yeast is Hefe. (Hence the term Hefeweizen). Beers bottled with a yeast sediment have a special following among young Germans, who regard them as the "wholefoods" of the brewing world.

Published: SEPT 2, 1999

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