English | Deutsch

Jrön is the colour of hopping

Freshly harvested in the Hallertau, jointly brewed in Düsseldorf, and tasted for the first time in Regensburg. Even up to the first sip, the “Collaboration Brew” Jrön has a substantial journey behind it. And it doesn’t only sound exciting, it tastes exciting as well.

“Malty, with a vinegar aroma, combined with a delicate nuance of hops.” Together with many other beer-lovers. I was waiting for this verdict on a Tuesday evening in the atmospheric vaulted cellar of the Birretta Bar – and it came from Oliver Wesseloh, Beer Sommelier, creative brewer, and founder/boss of the Kehrwieder Creative Brewery, who tasted the first sip of the top-fermented green-hop distillate. The “Jrön“ – a malt beer using a traditional recipe – had a sort of premiere here in Regensburg.

Lower Rhenish – German

German – Lower Rhenish

Jrön is what the people of the Lower Rhineland call green. Perhaps this tip will be a bit of a help in rendering the headline more comprehensible? Derived from “Green is the colour of hoping”, the slogan for the beer jointly created by the Lower Rhenish Uerige Brewery and the Hamburg-based Kehrwieder Creative Brewery is: “Jrön is the colour of hopping”. What exactly is this all about? I got a detailed explanation from the brewer in person:

Hallertau – Düsseldorf – Hamburg: how exactly did this project come into being?

“The idea took shape two years ago, when I was asked by the new magazine Focus to rate classical German beer styles. These include wheat beer, pilsner and pale ale – but Altbier and Kölsch as well, of course. In my opinion, Altbier is the most unjustly underrated beer in Germany. And if I had to find a synonym for Altbier, it would be Uerige. As far as I’m concerned, the brewery from Düsseldorf ranks among Germany’s most important breweries which have for centuries remained true to their highly distinctive styles of beer and their traditional recipes. The Baas* Michael Schnitzler got in touch with me shortly afterward and we decided to brew a beer together. At first, we were unsure what sort of direction to take: Summer Ale or Pale Ale? That wouldn’t have been our sort of thing at all. Uerige is Altbier. The only problem: we wanted to create something new. But Uerige already had quite a few Altbiers in its repertoire. Fortunately, I happened to tell Maxi Krieger of the Riedenburg Organic Brewery about our ongoing project, where we are working with fresh hops. This gave birth to the idea for our “green hops distillate”: an intensified version of Düsseldorf Altbier meets fresh hop cones.”

* Baas is a word derived from Low German, meaning boss and master.

And what precisely is behind the claim of “Jrön is the colour of hopping”?

“Jrön” is the Low German variant of “green”. And since we use fresh hop cones (that’s the green, fresh version of hops) for the brewing process, and the beer was a product with Low German roots, the name, and the slogan as well, more or less chose themselves. So together with Michael Schnitzler I set off spontaneously for the Hallertau and harvested the Hersbrucker Spät. The hops travelled straight back to Düsseldorf in a refrigerated van– and we were following in a Volkswagen transporter. In order to process the hops while they were still as fresh as possible, we started brewing the very next day.”

And the result …

“… looks rather good – and tastes rather good as well. In the case of green hops especially, the taste depends very closely on the harvests. The result is always a small surprise. This year, it’s different from last year: much fruitier, much more complex.”

Talking of fruity: what food would you recommend to go with the “Jrön”?

“I’ll have to think about that –after all, I only tasted the beer myself for the first time today. As a North German, I think something like kale would be a classical choice, and go well with green-hopped beers. Given the season, black curly kale would also be conceivable. It needs a dish that has a distinctive character of its own, otherwise the beer is too dominant. The malty notes would also go well with a brown gravy. Game would be conceivable. Altbier is tradition-steeped, brewed from traditional German hops. So I’m going to say a wild boar roulade – I think that’s ideal in terms of both taste and thematic authenticity.”

You chose the Birretta Beer Bar in Regensburg to unveil your beer in, and try it yourself. Why was this?

“Quite simple: the place is authentic: I think this is a very successful combination of the vaulted cellar, the traditional tools of the brewing craft, and the modern beers. As far as I’m concerned, the Birretta Bar is right up there in the premier league of beer bars here in Germany, not just because of the amazing choice of beers. What’s more, Regensburg is receptive to anything new: it’s a Tuesday evening, and the place is full. The success of the Birretta Shop and the Regensburg Craft Beer Festival confirm my assessment.”

In conclusion, could you reveal to us your own very personal favourite beer?

“There isn’t one. It depends very much on the situation I’m drinking it in: the time of year, my mood, the company. Even out of my own beers, in summer I usually drink our India Pale Ale or Gose, whereas now in winter I tend to go for Baltic Porter. If I’m sitting at home in front of the fire with my wife, who knew what she was getting into when she married a brewer, I would probably choose a heavy, complex beer. When I’m out with friends I’m more likely to go for something lighter. The all-purpose weapons that always delivery a taste experience include our prototype – a cold-hopped lager. That’s always welcome, without ever getting boring.”

Share on Pinterest
Your Comment

All (*) marked fields are mandatory fields