Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus is a German brewer based in the Black Forest (of the gateaux fame), founded in 1791 with a colourful background. Based on the site of an inn founded in the 1300s, the site was bought by the Benedictine monastery of St. Blasien in 1790, with brewing commencing the year afterwards. The name comes from the family of the original owners of the location, the Roth family, which in turn evolved into the ‘Rothe Haus’ – meaning ‘red house’ in the German language.
The brewery came into the hands of the German monarchy via secularization in the 1800s, with the Grand Duchy of Baden becoming the legal owner, and changing the name of the brewery to the mouthful ‘Großherzoglich Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus’. Brewing of beers went on uninterrupted, with local ingredients coming from the Black Forest and fresh water coming from seven wells constructed inside the brewery grounds. The 1900s brought revolution with it, with the monarchy being abolished, and the brewery thus falling into the ownership of the local state. To this day it remains state-owned, and has grown into one of the most profitable and successful German regional breweries.
The brewer’s most famous beer is their Rothaus Tannenzäpfle pilsner, with ‘tannenzäpfle’ translating to ‘pine cone’ in English, apparently referring to the shape of the bottle. Strange looking pine cone in my opinion! The alkoholfrei version of their flagship beer starts with the same beer as a base, and uses the cool vacuum distillation process to gently evaporate the alcohol in the beer. According to the spiel on the bottle, the beer is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot – the German purity rule whereby beer must be brewed only using water, yeast, malt and hops. If this is true, then why do the ingredients include ‘hop extract’ and no mention of yeast? Time to pop the top off of this glass pine cone and try the contents.
The beer pours a golden yellow colour with good clarity and lots of visible carbonation. We get a thin white foamy head that fizzles away slowly. On the nose we get pilsner malt and crisp spicy and floral Saaz hop aromas, maybe even a hint of pine coming through. All good standard pilsner lager fare here, but nothing special.
Pilsner malt is up-front when we drink, with the aromas from the Saaz hops once again adding some spice to the beer. There’s little to no sweetness to be found, indeed there’s quite a dry semi-metallic bitter kick to the drink unlike many other non-alcoholic pilsner lagers. The body is pretty watery and the carbonation level on the low end, resulting in quite a disappointing mouthfeel. The finish is short and dry.
Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei is a pretty standard pilsner lager but with more bitterness than your average lager drinker may be used to. While this bitterness adds a point of interest to the beer, it does mean that it’s not quite as refreshing or thirst quenching as other lagers, which personally means it’s not one I’ll be looking out for in the future.
Buy Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei
A surprising number of bars will have a few bottles of Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei knocking about for we nolo drinkers, certainly better than a Beck’s Blue! You can also buy online from the following alcohol-free specialists:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Malted Barley, Hop Extract, Hops|
|Country of Production||Germany|
|Brewer||Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus – https://www.rothaus.de/en-welcome-to-rothaus|
Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei Lager Review
A touch too bitter to be refreshing, which will likely put many AF lager fans off. A decent option if you’re offered it though.