I have visited Hamburg (Germany;) recently. Congress was great, but from the point of the blog, most important is Hamburg beer scene. On the map of Germany, Hamburg is (at least for me) one of the most interesting cities if you want something other than Pils. Hamburg is one of the cities where the craft beer revolution started in Germany (ok let’s call it craft beer movement in Germany. Over 95% of beer sold in Germany is very classical – lager, pils etc. And its stable to my knowledge). Breweries like Ratsherrn or Buddelship are well known to beer lovers around Germany.
On top of the breweries, there are some multitaps there and after some research I have decided to visit the Galopper des Jahres, being described as a secret tip.
Galopper is located in very nice area of Sternschanze district of Hamburg, 5 minute’s walk from the closest U-bahn station. Very safe, nothing happened. Bar itself is located in an old and impressive building and at the time of my arrival (9 pm, Wednesday) was quite full. Luckily, there was no problem with drinking outside in the fresh air. Also, what is different to e.g.: Belgium – not so many Germans smoke, therefore you can safely assume that the atmosphere outside would be rather clean.
Inside, Galopper is rather dark, with sparsely placed lights and rather cozy atmosphere. You can order at the bar, or have a waiter/bartender coming to you with the beer. The number of beers was quite impressive. 12 taps and a number of beers in bottle. Very nice.
Bit less nice is the ongoing, relatively loud music. Style was OK for the beer, but believe me in the room filled with 50+ people you don’t really need to add music. Its loud enough. It’s a beer bar not a disco. Other thing was that it’s not clearly a beer bar – what you can see on the photo is the solid choice of other drinks.
I was solely hoping for a choice of Buddelship beers from the tap, but they were simply not there, therefore I have decided to try beers from Kompaan brewery. At least something new for me. Maybe a bit unfortunately (should start with lighter beer), I have started with the double porter.
VRIJBUITER (Kompaan 45)
I have decided to continue along the lines of the dark beer and went for the imperial stout.
BLOEDBROEDER (Kompaan 39)
Again, the beer was served with an enormous head. Deep in my heart I was starting to get suspicious that there is something wrong with the brewing process of Kompaan. Two beers of different style that go high like the Coca-Cola? Strange. Still, I have patiently worked my way through the head and got some aroma and taste after a while. Well, aroma is mostly malts (again), maybe with a decent note of burned coffee and scotch. Taste is again very sweet for this type of beer but complemented with caramel, smoked vanilla. Bit earthy. Light bitter. It is not the imperial stout that I could drink every time, but if this is the only one in the bar – go get it, you will not be harmed
Finally, I have decided to go for the last dark beer from Kompaan they have on tap. Or at least I have decided that it is dark.
Well, look on the description of the beers on the photo above. They simply do not provide the complete information in this bar. I had to spend a serious amount of time after, to decipher what beers I was actually drinking. Why were you able to write that the IPA is called “Handlager” and you were too shy to say that the double porter is called Vrijbuiter (I hope I am correct). BTW: Why do you use imperial stout, imperial IPA and insist on calling the beer double porter? Call it imperial porter.
Normally, I could go to ask the staff member, but the place is so loud that even ordering of the beer is challenging.
BLOEDBROEDER ABELOUR BARREL
Based on the information found later I believe it’s the barrel aged version of the previous beer. It again came with the huge head. Barrel aging has added some whisky and oak notes to the overall picture. Body is a bit too small for the style, but overall, this was a very pleasant experience to drink it.
I may not be very quick in reacting, but this was a moment when I was almost sure than the guys at Galopper have a damage in their tap and it produces a way too much foam on beers. This thing should not happen in the bar that claims to be a multi-tap and smells like amateur work. I went extra to the bar and took a look there. See the photo? All beers there standing below the tap (different glasses and colors) have huge head. Indeed, something is wrong.
But it is not the tap (at least not only) – this time I have ordered the IPA from the same company and looked exactly how they pour it.
These greenhorns pour beer top down to a glass. Like water. Just dump, don’t even bother to give a glass a certain angle to stop the foam. Now, no wonder that even low carbonated porter will get a humongous head here. It is soooooo disappointing to see a bar with the huge amount of beer and people who do not know how to serve it. My 11-year-old son can pour the beer better than that and my daughter is more exact when describing things.
I have a suggestion, you have the Ratsherrn brewery almost next door, take the 2 hours’ beer tasting tour there. Look carefully how the guy is pouring their beers. You really have a lot to learn. Probably, since you are amateurs you are not aware of the simple fact – you can change the taste and beer experience by the way of pouring the beer. Multi tap. Pffffffff.
Just to be exact:
HANDLAGER (Kompaan 39) Imperial IPA
Overall a bit watery for an IPA, aroma is rather low, exotic fruits mostly. Taste bitter, well balanced with exotic. Medium body, acceptable carbonation. Not the best IPA I have ever had, but at least worth trying.
My summary is clear. Kompaan may have some interesting beers to try, but I am quite sure that there are better places to try them than “Galopper des Jahres”.