Monday, February 15, 2010

Out of Africa: Hansa Urbock

The world of beer can be quite an amazing place. Just when you think you have seen, heard, and tasted it all, the juice of the barley seems to always have asurprise or two in store for you. When one thinks of bockbier one of course thinks Germany. Then maybe Austria, other western European countries, and perhaps North American microbreweries and brewpubs that brew this style of beer. Namibia, a country located in Southwest Africa, doesn't come to mind to most beer lovers, but Namibia's Hansa Brauerei which has two locations in the cities of Windhoek, and Swakopmund, actually brews a bockbier, and a damn good one at that.
Namibia, was once the German colony of Sud-West Afrika, which was controlled by South Africa after WWI, and administered as a mandate until WWII, when it annexed the territory. Being a German colony, Sud-West Afrika had breweries, which of course brewed German beer styles. The Hansa Brauerei was established in 1920, with clearly German roots. Namibia gained independence in 1990, but remnants of Sud-West Afrika have remained. German influence can still be found,and tasted in Hansa Urbock. This beer is about as faraway from Germany as a beer can get, but I can honestly say, it is one of the most authentic, and delicious examples of bock bier I have ever tasted. This beer is brewed with imported German malts and hops, well water from Namibia, a lager yeast strain,and no more. Pure German bier, solid and clean.
Hansa Urbock pours to a beautiful, bright, tawny brown color, with a thick and creamy off white head, and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose is wonderful on this beer, with big aromas of toasty/sweet malt,and slight nutty aromas. The palate on this beer is firm, with fantastic, smooth, clean, toasty, nutty,and sweet malty flavors that glide over the tongue. Hansa Urbock finishes with more toast and sweet malt flavors up front, then ends balanced to perfection,with just the right amount of grassy/spicy hop bitterness. Hansa Urbock comes in at a warming 7% abv, making it a true bock bier in every sense.
This is a phenomenal example of bock bier, one that I was very, very impressed with. You won't find this one on the American market, though Namibia Breweries Limited does have a U.S. agent located in CA that does bring in products from this brewery, so there is hope. For more information visit Namibia Breweries site at:

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