What I'm Drinking: Bubbly beer

If your tastes run towards beer, and you're looking for something different for toasting the new year, you might want to get your hands on a big bottle of Infinium.

If the name sounds like a high-end imported automobile, well, the brew was cooked up in part by Germany's Weihenstephan Brewery, the oldest in the world, with America's Samuel Adams, which brewed and is selling it.

Just hitting certain outlets in 750-milliliter corked bottles priced at about $20, the 10.3-percent-alcohol brew is described as a "crisp, new champagne-like beer." Moreover, "men now have the ultimate drink with which to celebrate this holiday season."

That's because, according to some market research Sam Adams commissioned, more than 60 percent of men would opt to toast with beer versus Champagne.

Whatever the case, beer geeks would enjoy trying this collaboration between Sam Adams' founder Jim Koch and Weihenstephan managing director Dr. Josef Schradler. Especially since it's being billed as "the first new beer style created under the Reinheitsgebot in over a hundred years," Reinheitsgebot being the German beer purity law that Weihenstephan, dating back to the year 1040, helps guard.

"Infinium pours out a deep golden color with fine bubbles and has a fruity, elegant aroma," according to a news release. "Its crisp acidity gives it a dryness and tartness on the palate that is balanced with a smooth malt body."

The drink -- nearly 2,000 bottles of it -- is arriving at area better beer bars and bottle shops this week.

At Vintage Estate Wine and Beer in Boardman, Ohio (vewinebeer.com and 1-330-629-8080), co-owner Phill Reda says they ordered as much of it as they could. He opened a bottle earlier this month to share with a panel of tasters and, "We jointly feel that it tastes more like a barley wine," he reports. "The cork and caged bottle makes for a nice presentation for celebrating or toasting, but I think that is the only comparison to a champagne." He does like the taste: "It is quite malty with hints of almond, spice and slight citrus that I think is from the hops combination." It doesn't seem as high in alcohol as it is, he says, but the price might seem too high for some.

As at other good bottle shops and beer bars, there are other brews that are "great toasting beers," says Mr. Reda, who shares the following products he stocks, all corked and caged, to give you some ideas. Don't hesitate to ask for recommendations from your beer seller, too.

• Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse (collaboration weizenbock), $12.99

• Liefmans Cuvee Brut (made with cherries) from Belgium, $11.99

• Eisenbahn Lust, Brazil, $24.99

• Castelain (blonde ale), France, $10.99

• Scaldis Prestige de Nuits (strong pale ale), Belgium, $49.99

• Aspall Cuvee Chevallier (cider), England, $17.99

• Deus Brut des Flandres, Belgium, $29.99

• BB DEXI (American strong ale), Italy, $27.99

Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1930.


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