27 January 2011

KOTBR #119 | A Toast to the Original - The KOTBR & Paulaner Salvator


The story of Paulaner Salvator--"Savior"--was one that took my love for beer and expanded it into a fondness for history as well.  The Paulaner story starts back in the 17th century, when the Paulaner monks of Munich began brewing a version of Salvator for consumption during Lenten times, when they needed sustenance during their Lenten fasting. While food was off limits, liquids were thought to provide clarity to the body and soul. And the more they drank, the cleaner their bodies and souls became.

While the monks were “cleansing their souls”, some of them were concerned that their beer consumption could be leaving their bodies more soused than doused. To set their minds at ease, they sent a cask of the beer to the Pope for his blessing. During the approximately 600 mile trip to Rome, the beer was subjected to poor weather and travel conditions and ended up becoming spoiled by the time it reached its destination. The Holy Father tried the horrible-tasting stuff. Thinking that suffering through such a rough-tasting brew would be good for the monks' souls, the Pope returned word to the monks that it would benefit them to brew and drink as much of this concoction as they wanted.

And so the Paulaner monks brewed this beer year after year and it undoubtedly got stronger. Now keep in mind that this beer was supposed to be for the monks to drink during Lent to provide nutrition during fasting, but the public caught wind of the brew (literally, perhaps) and the monks began selling it from the monastery. Now, this was illegal, and they wouldn’t receive a permit to lawfully sell the beer for another 30 years. Then, in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte (who was a bit of a bastard) dissolved the monastery and took the brewery as state property. The brewery was later sold and reopened in 1806. Though the monks lost ownership of the brewery, the beer remained (and still remains) essentially the same. Also since then, there have been homages and reproductions of the beer numbering in the hundreds that contain the -ator suffix, but the original is Paulaner Salvator.  

And what’s better than an original? We didn’t do it on purpose, but for this roundtable we were joined by original KOTBR--our friends and Knights Emeriti, Chris M. and Kelly--at the Rathskeller.

The Godfather (Chris M.): Look, these folks can tell you all you want to know about this beer,  Paulaner Salvator.

It’s a doppelbock, which I typically don’t like. I did, however, like this one. It was a dark amber (though it was dark in the bar, so that’s all I could make out), it had a nose with hints of cherry and roses, had a medium-thick mouthfeel, and had some wood elements in the taste. Just for shits and giggles, I’m going to give it a 3.77 mug rating.

There. That’s my review.

Now let me talk about other stuff. I was honored that the KOTBR invited Kelly and me back for a guest review, and I felt as though I was sitting among craft beer royalty or rock stars. Jason kept taking off his underwear and throwing them at Mike. So Mike is a rock star, or Jason is just a perv. Sadly, both are probably true.

Seriously, though, it was nice to be back among the OGs, just like back when the old stuff was new. You know, when we only went to Deano’s Vino (unfortunately, they closed down after the KOTBR started to go to other bars – coincidence?), no one had ever heard of the site, when we still had Renee, and no one had ever given me a free beer (to be truthful, the reason I started this site was in the hopes of eventually getting free beer).

I’m really amazed at how far these chumps have taken this thing, and I’m so damn proud to have had a little part in them becoming what they are today. Their events are packed, the major beer festivals run smoothly because of them, and people actually seek out their opinion and advice on all things craft beer. They’ve come a hell of a long way since the very first review that Jason and I did while sitting at my dining room table. These guys are really good shits. But not in the “beer shits you get the next morning” kind of way. Those are bad.

(Of course, it helps that they are all so supportive of Dads Inc., whether selling our pretzel necklaces at the beer fests or naming us as the charitable recipients of the anniversary party. Do you know just how much funds they’ve raised for the community, and specifically for Dads Inc.? A lot. And they just let me put in a plug. That helped, too. Otherwise, I might have talked about the real bastards they are. But I would just be talking about Mike & Jim. Gina’s wonderful, and Jason is just a little bitch.)

!Viva Hoosier Beer Geek!

We've returned to the Rathskeller, the place where the HBG adventure began in earnest, the place where the Godfather (as Chris M. has become known) began to expand the Knights of the Beer Roundtable beyond just himself and Jason. Six original Knights, a dark German beer to review, a five-mug rating system to apply, and conversation veering from sports to music to movies (specifically, that John Hughes is the greatest auteur of the '80s) to politics to bodily functions. Yes, just like old times. In fact, roundtables are what I've always enjoyed most about being part of the KOTBR. Sure, we talk about the beer at every roundtable--we have to--but rarely is the beer we're reviewing the primary focus of our get-togethers. No, roundtables are more than just about the beer. They're about levity, smiles, and a forgetting of the anxieties of the day, at least for a little while. So we've gone from one German classic in that first roundtable at the Rathskeller--Spaten Optimator--to another: Paulaner Salvator. Salvator, the exemplar of doppelbocks. Salvator, with its melding of raisin, cherry, wood, molasses, Scotch, and snickerdoodles (yes, snickerdoodles). Ein bock, a goat, one that lightly butts you with its horns, but in a good way if you follow me. Not too powerful to put you down for the count, but not too meek to be forgettable. It's a memorable beer, as memorable as that first gathering of the KOTBR at the Rathskeller four-and-a-half years ago.


A throwback review.
No innuendos found here.
Return of haiku!

Beer Geek Reunion:
A very special episode
(not Seventh Heaven)

Chris has returned.
Kelly has too. Happy Day!
Where is dog Humphrey?

At the Rathskeller,
the place where it all began
for us: HBG

Paulaner gives us
salvation in Salvator.
Sing Hallelujah!

King of Doppelbocks.
Malt, dark fruit carmelized.
Call me mesmerized!

It's easy to drink,
harder to put down; so don't!
Order another!

Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock
Chris M.: 3.75 Mugs | Jason: 4 Mugs | Jim: 4 Mugs | Kelly: 3.8 Mugs | Mike: 3.6 Mugs | Gina: 3.8 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.82 Mugs

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