Tag Archive: Germany


Lemke Berlin: Yellow Sub Sour (Germany: Sour Ale: 5.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon yellow, with a massive mounded white head.

Nose: Wheaty with peppery bitterness. Slight brown bread.

Body: Lemon to lemon curd. Tart apples and pears. Pineapple. Vanilla. Light toffee. Moderate thick texture. Passion fruit. Light chalk. Peach syrup. Fizzy.

Finish: Pear drops. Pineapple. Fresh. Peach syrup. Brown bread. Pink grapefruit. Lactose to yogurt.

Conclusion: This is a lot thicker than I was expecting – it has a lemon curd to yogurt sort of grip for the usually quite dry sour style. It gives a very different intensity and flavour range to what I was expecting going into this – when I found out they called this a “sour milk ale” that made a bit more sense of this, I’m guessing they are using lactose or similar to add a thicker feel to the beer.

Initially, when chilled down, it still leads with fresh tartness that sours are well know for – giving lemon, apple and pear drop notes that give a freshness to the thicker grip. As it warms and the more yogurt side of the feel comes it it gives more grip to the sweeter peach and passion fruit notes. At this point I had definitely realised that this wasn’t your standard sour. It has what, for lack of a better word, I will call a more standard “beer” set of flavours – more traditional hop flavours I guess, matched with a tartness that the more traditional beer style couldn’t bring.

It is very fruity, very fresh, and the grip of the texture not only brings that huge amount of flavour, but also makes it far easier to drink for someone not used to the average sour style. I like it, I like it a lot.

It’s odd to call such an unusual character as having a “More standard beer set of flavours” I know, but in a way it does. Well, more standard for a craft beer anyway, if such words make sense. Lots of tropical fruit flavours- just done fresh, acidic and tart as can be, instead of delivered in an IPA style.

Easy to appreciated, tons of depth and easy to drop into a session without hurting beers coming after it. A very good sour ale for more occasions than you would think a sour could match. In fact, it feels like what Bonaparte wanted to be.

Well worth grabbing if you can.

Background: After the dried hopped Berlinner Weisse had oop north, I was surprised, on googling this, to find out it is another dried hop sour. In this case a dry hopped sour milk ale, according to untapped. Which is an odd set of words to get together. Another beer grabbed from the awesome bottle shop that was Craft Beer Kontor in Hannover. So many beers I wanted, so few I could actually get safely back into the UK. This is one of the three I grabbed and brought back. Anyway, drunk while listening to a bunch of metal covers on youtube – mainly Jonathan Young.

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Boglers Braustube: Dinkel & Weizen (Germany: Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow to lemon juice. Very large white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Wheat and crisp hop bitterness. Popcorn hop notes. Vanilla. Peppery. Slightly fresh.

Body: Slightly thick texture. Caramel. Cloves and dried banana. Orange segments. Vanilla toffee. The head is bitter and yeastie. Wheaty and moderate bitterness. Palma violets. Kiwi. Lemony. Hop oils. Hard rock candy. Slightly milky. Slight raspberry yogurt bits.

Finish: Soft toffee. Palma violets. Banana custard. Vanilla. Just bananas. Moderate hop character. Slight kiwi. Cloves. Slight chestnut mushrooms. Moderate bitterness.

Conclusion: This seems a lot smoother than your standard weisse beer – the harshness and texture seems set half way between a kristall weisse and a standard hefewizen, though with an extra touch of thickness to it

The thickness seems to bring a lot of toffee and caramel notes that usually don’t get much play in a wiesse – mixing with the more expected banana and clove notes. It also has sweeter kind of cane sugar notes – it feels actually like a more traditional pale malt base that you would use for an IPA or an APA mixing with a bit extra from the weisse addition. This gets less obvious as time goes one, with a cloudier visual and more wheat character coming out over time. I guess that, despite my best efforts, the sediment was mainly in the lower half on the pour.

The bitterness and hop character are more present that normal, but not massively so. Well that is unless you take a sip with some of the head in it – then it comes with a brash intensity indeed. Otherwise, well the extra thickness merges well with some hop oils, and bring some unusual flavours – palma violet like from the noble hops, and light raspberry yogurt notes. If held on the tongue the bitterness grows, but also a fresh lemon contrast as well.

Overall it mixes a smoother base and a bigger hop character with a decent weisse wheat character. It is a balance of style – the base feels like that of a sweeter IPA as already mentioned, along with some, but definitely not all of the hop flavour and intensity – the rest is full wheat character.

It is a very solid beer, and another one that is a bit off the standard style path, which is nice. The huge bottle is a bit much for one person, as I found. The bitterness rises at the end and can come to dominate. Shared I think this would work well.

A nice experiment with a hopped hefeweizen without (generally) being dominated by it – well unless you have the entire 1L yourself. Pretty good, not super polished but there is a lot going on. Tad rough edged, but I had fun with it.

Background: Grabbed from Craft Beer Kontor in Hannover, excellent stocked wee shop. I grabbed this one for a few reasons, one of which was the silly sized bottle and the utterly packed with text label that put me in mind of the overwritten Japanese style labels. Also best I could tell it was a weisse done craft beer style. Though I have to admit I read “Dinkel” as “Dunkel” so was expecting a dark beer. Whoops. Turns out dinkel is a speciality malt. My mistake. On first pour this was about 90% froth – a very energetic one, but a few careful pours later I had a drinkable beer. Due to the huge bottle I had more time that usual to get notes, hence this may be a tad overwritten. Drunk while listening to the awesome final David Bowie album – Black Star. Still utterly haunting.

Einbecker Ainpockish Ur-Bock 1378 (Germany: Heller Bock: 6.7% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Small bubbled carbonation. Thin white head.

Nose: Vinous and grapes. Raisins. Marzipan. Slight hop oils.

Body: Thick. Light creamy raspberry. Apricot. Slightly syrupy. Vanilla and light cream. Cinnamon. Golden syrup.

Finish: Golden syrup. Light hop character and bitterness. Creamy. Cinnamon. Light bitterness. Slight vinous. Slight white wine.

Conclusion: This tastes stronger that it actually is, but in a good way. It isn’t showing the strength in alcohol burn – that aspect is very smooth; instead this carries itself with large vinous notes layered over a thicker lager character. Both elements that would say an around 8% beer if I had to guess. Similarly it has those creamy raspberry notes that can come with higher abv bocks and barley wine style beers. I mean, it isn’t light at an abv of 6.7 %, but even at that it is definitely punching above its weight.

So, definitely leaning towards the bigger and sweeter side of the bock spectrum – it has a few elements in common with the darker bocks – hints of raisins and such like, but it definitely is making use of the lighter style to bring vanilla and a mix of white grapes to white wine vinous notes- the latter of which much needed so it is not too sickly sweet,

It uses its creaminess without being dominated by it – it manages to be vinous without losing the base lager underneath it. The bitterness is low, allowing you enjoy the sweetness of the body, waiting until the finish to give a, still low, but now reasonable hop bitterness for a slight punch on the way out.

So a very good Bock lager – lots of vinous, lots of sweetness, lots of character. Not one that will unseat the Aventinus of its seat at the top of the Bock mountain, but this is frankly of a different bock style and with different aims- very worthy as its own thing.

Background: Did a google translate on the description of this one – looks like an old recipe (from 1378 at a guess) that they brought back to celebrate 500 years of the brewing purity law in Germany. Sounded cool so I tried this in Craft Beer Bar in Hannover. Lovely music at the place, some real guitar legends chosen for background music to the bar, which I always appreciate. Huge selection of beer – both local and world as well. This is the last set of notes from the Lower Saxony trip – hope you’ve enjoyed them. I didn’t know at the time, but this is one of ratebeers top 50 in the Heller Bock style – which is nice to know.

Herrenhauser: Premium Pilsner (Germany: Pilsner: 4.9% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to gold. Moderate white head. Small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Light popcorn hops and vanilla. Quite clean. Toffee.

Body: Vanilla toffee and light custard. Smooth hop oils. Present but low to moderate bitterness. Light greenery backing. Slight chalk and fizzy character. Moderate thickness. Lightly peppery after a while.

Finish: Clean sheen. Low but present bitterness and a popcorn hop character. Slightly dry. Maize/cereal. Lightly peppery.

Conclusion: While the tap version of this is definitely better than this bottled version I have here – this local Lower Saxony lager still holds up pretty well.

First up on things it does well is the feel – A slightly thicker than normal texture for a pilsner. It gives a smooth, slight hop oil touched experience. The lead out into the finish is dry, but the body much less so because of the thicker mouthfeel. Good for me as I’m not much of a fan of an overly dry lager – for you a thicker texture may be a benefit or a flaw – judge as you may.

Flavour-wise it leans towards the gently sweet, but with a moderate but not particularly heavy hop bitterness. The sweetness definitely leads and makes it very easy to drink – it doesn’t go too heavy on this elements so doesn’t end up sickly. A pretty simple beast, that uses the hop character to give a similarly gentle robustness that develops into pepperyness as a secondary characteristic over time. This peppery character is especially present in the finish, as the sweetness from the front soothes away. Simple – but not one note.

Looking at lagers that eschew the craft trapping and keep to the more traditional notes, this is one of the more satisfying I’ve had in a long time. Good texture, good sweet to bitter balance. Not revolutionary, but I’ve returned to it a lot over the trip as a good standby – and if you are around the area it is on tap I recommend you give it the chance to be the same.

Very enjoyable.

Background: This was pretty much everywhere in Hannover, during my Lower Saxony holiday. I first encountered it at the Kleine Museum restaurant – a nice, atmospheric joint with good food and super friendly staff – oh and a crocodile hanging overhead. Lots of weird nick-nacks and items around made it a great place to enjoy this on tap. Since it was one of Michael Jackson’s 500 recommended beers in his Great Beer Guide I also grabbed a bottle at a local corner shop to do some tasting notes on. Which are these notes.

Altenauer Brauerei Kolberg: Die Butterhanne Gose Gold: Dunkel (Germany: Gose: Unknown abv)

Visual: Reddened brown. Small bubble carbonation. Thin off white head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Light wheat. Light pepper. Light orange skin. Slightly fizzy – gives imagery like cola bottle sweets.

Body: Light malt chocolate. Slight sour dough. Light banana and cloves. Mild salt character. Light coriander and carrot. Slight chalk feel. Light toffee and cola bottles.

Finish: Light salt. Light orange. Light coriander. Malt chocolate. Slight fresh feel. Cola bottles. Vanilla.

Conclusion: This seem far closer to the core dunkel style than the hell gose did to a standard hell beer. It has the soft malt chocolate and vanilla into a coke bottle sweet style sweetness.

The only real tell that this is a gose, not a general dunkel are the coriander notes – which frankly aren’t alien to dunkels themselves, and the soft saltiness in the finish. Compared to the Brauhaus Goslar Gose Hell the salt is less intense as well. Here it is even more gentle, just a slight thirst inducing element in the finish rather than the noticeable sea salt and vinegar crisps style of Brahaus Goslars’ beer.

So, first let’s look at it as a dunkel – it is smooth with good use of vanilla sweetness and some slight cloying notes. It would be a competent, if slightly thin dunkel taken by itself. Again it comes down to the salt to give that slight quirk, and slight thirst inducing element that makes it worth examining. By itself the Dunkel is ok, bringing some light banana weisse notes – it is easy to drink, but just a tad thin. The salt doesn’t really change that much – so being a gose makes only very subtle changes to this one.

What interests me is, is this lack of the gose influence having a big impact part of it being the Dunkel interpretation? – or is it because of the different breweries style? To find out I had a little of Die Butterhanne Gose Gold Hell and saw how it compared directly to Brauhaus Goslar’s version. This one is slightly lighter in the Hell version as well – but still more recognisably salted and spicy than the dunkel version. It also has a slightly buttery character and some very light raspberry notes in a tiny amount of tartness. The Brauhaus Golsar version definitely uses the gose aspect more and better in my opinion.

So, in conclusion of the conclusion – this is ok, but I would say if you are looking for the gose experience, the hell version is the way to go.

Background: Second gose from Goslar! This one tried in the Die Butterhanne pub/restaurant pretty much right next to the Brauhaus Goslar where I tired my first gose mere hours before. A few things on the name 1) They don’t mention which brewery makes it for them on the menu, so I googled and this is what ratebeer gave me. 2) Yes I know Gose Gold Dunkel sounds stupid – I suspect it should be Gose Gold and Gose Dunkel – however this is how they are listed on the menu, so its what I put above. 3) No idea on the abv on this, it wasn’t listed and a quick google has no one else seeming better informed than me. Anyway, after trying my first gose, I decided to try a different brewery and to go for the dark rather than the light variant to mix it up a bit and see how they compared. As mentioned in the notes I also tried their light Gose Gold, but didn’t do notes on that one- just referred to it where appropriate in this one.

Brauhaus Goslar: Gose Das Harzer Urbier Hell (Germany: Gose: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow. Some small bubbled carbonation. An inch of loose bubbles head that leaves suds.

Nose: Small amounts of soft lemon. Carrot. Coriander. Orange peel.

Body: Slight honey. Barley biscuits. Slight salt. Lemon. Vanilla touch. Slightly cloying touch. Mild coriander.

Finish: Slight sea salt. Salty vinegar. Tangy – gherkins. Slight soft lemon and lime. Vanilla. Light orange. Slightly wheaty. Slight hop bitterness.

Conclusion: So, an actual gose, in actual Goslar. Time to try a beer from where was born! Softer and more gentle that I expected. Though I had been warned, it still was a mild surprise that it doesn’t have the sourness associated with the gose name, more just a gentle kind of clotting style. Instead it comes in showing light citrus notes, closer to what I would expect from a Belgian wit, matching it with soft vanilla notes backing it.

The saltiness expected is more of a thing, though even with this in the main body it is fairly gentle. The finish is where the full effect comes out. Kind of sea salt in style, with mild vinegar notes, akin to what you get on crisps , and with a low level bitterness. Not harsh, but quite the thirst inducer, and not an unpleasant end to the beer, for all it may sound otherwise. A very nice unusual note.

It is refreshing and thirst inducing at the same time – smooth to drink, and subtly backed by the more expected wheat beer characteristics. It worked very well in the sunny environment I was in and was far easier to drink than I imagined it would be. Without the salt and such it would be a very solid, middle of the road wit style beer – it is definitely the salt that makes it distinctive, adding a tang, while not having much overall sourness – more sough dough and sour cream mild notes coming it lightly at the tail end as the cloying notes rise a bit.

Very glad to have tried this – very far from the horrid “sweaty sock” reputation that some recent gose clones have gained – I can see what great promise the style has and it is a solid beer in itself.

Fascinating.

Background: A gose in Germany! In Goslar itself, birthplace of the style. The gose style, a slightly salted, often slightly sour wheat beer has had a resurgence in popularity over the last year or so. Considering only Goslar and Leipzig made it for many years,and the style had nearly died out- it is pretty cool to see it back. However, every gose beer I have tried from craft brewers have been quite different – from quite horrid sweaty sock tasting beers, to tart fruity beers, to quite well hopped or spiced beers. So, I was very interested to try one of the originals to see what the base of the beer style was like. I had been informed by the staff of Craft Beer Kontor that Goslar breweries hold that the beer should not be that sour – that the Leipzig version is only sour as it is based on the Goslar exports which had gone off slightly by the time it had reached them. Because of that I was braced for this to be less sour than I would have otherwise expected. Anyway, drank at the Brauhaus Goslar itself – the staff were very helpful as well when we had a very minor injury that needed napkins to stop blood flow. Many thanks to them! This is listed as 30 IBU – higher than I would have expected, if not overly high in general.

Carl Betz: Celler Bekenner Bock (Germany: Dunkel Bock: 6.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown. Large yellow brown touched head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Cinnamon. Mild malt chocolate. Mild raisins. Vanilla comes out as it warms.

Body: Caramel and liquorice. More dry black liquorice. Chewy toffee. Palma violets. Hop oils. Blackcurrant hard sweets. Slight fluffy hop character. Currants– Eccles cake style. Slightly vinous as it warms. Red grapes and marzipan.

Finish: Blackcurrant and liquorice. Hop oils sheen. Light bitterness and hop character. Mild toffee. Eccles cake. Dry vinous air.

Conclusion: I do like the bock beers, even if the higher abvs may not like me much these days if I have more than one at a time.

This has a lot of the trademark bock notes – a slighter thicker body with caramel and raisin notes, and a low, though not absent, hop bitterness. What is unusual, and very nice, is a little blackcurrant and liquorice bit of extra flavour coming in. It makes it fruitier, but also drier from the black liquorice notes.

Together these are a warming set of notes, which match well with a rising vinous character; They call come together for a very satisfying and rich set of notes. For the best quick description I can give – it feels like a slightly ESB touched bock if that makes sense. The two styles share a fruitiness at the very least, but here it is far more pronounces.

At its base this is genuinely solid- it does the style well, avoiding the thinner texture that hurts a badly made bock so badly. It progresses well as it warms and doesn’t become sickly to drink as it does so.

While not quite having enough to make it a stand out must have bock, it is high quality in the expected style, and as its own character from the added blackcurrant and liquorice emphasis. A genuinely good beer – not outstanding but definitely very good.

Background: An interesting grab here – I lived in Celle for a bit in my very young years, so was interesting to see it when I was back in Germany – and it turns out they have their own brewery. So I had to try and grab one. Turned out pretty easy, the local supermarkets had a wide variety to choose from – so as a fan of Bocks I picked this one out of the line-up. It turns out, unfortunately it was a month past its best before date, which I did not notice on buying. Since it is a winter seasonal I’m guessing it had a six month BBD and was just over that. Since the notes still came out positive and it is a quite high abv beer, and a bock – so tend to do pretty well with ageing anyway – I decided to still put them up. Just thought I would still give you a heads up anyway. The only glass I could get for doing the notes was a bit rubbish, but what can you do?

Welde: Himburgs: Pepper Pils (Germany: Pilsener: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Golden and clear with a yellowed huge head.

Nose: Peppery. Floral. Slight menthol and herbal character.

Body: Lightly herbal. Light peppery and minty character. Quite clean. Light vanilla and grapes.

Finish: Minty. Clean and fresh. Sage and onion. Light peppery and peppercorn. Later a kind of beef slices comes out.

Conclusion: I was expecting a pepper touch to this, because of the name – but was not expecting this very fresh and herbal lager that manages very well to keep the lager feel despite the very clear influence of its unusual ingredient. It is mainly a pretty clean feel, and shows what I presume to be noble hop influence but matches that with a lot of sage and general herbal taste that works well. Now, while I say there is clear influence from the unusual ingredient, I was expecting for it to be expressed in a more traditionally peppery style. That more traditional influence is held back until a kind of peppercorn style in the finish, everywhere else gives that more herbal feel to it.

The lager is pretty one note, if well textured and delivered – with the subtlety coming from the rising herbs, peppercorn, and even some beef notes which were very unexpected – All of these seem to wait until the finish and gives a completely different layer to play with compared to the main beer. It makes for an easygoing lager with a robust but still not heavy finish.

The menthol and herb freshness is brilliant mid body – the pepper and meat finish grounds it so it doesn’t get wearing. There isn’t a lot in the central lager pils character, but the soft vanilla and noble hops give an easy drinking stage for the more unusual elements to work off.

So, not a world shaker but different and appealed to both myself and more traditional lager drinkers with me. When you want something easy to drink but different this holds good variety and fits that niche very well.

Background: While I was grabbing a few bottles to bring back from the excellent Craft Beer Kontor in Hannover I found out they had two taps on as well, one of which was this beer. So what could I do but try a quick one before heading out? Anything else would be rude. This is made as a collaboration between Welde and Himburg BrauKunstKeller – a pilsener made with pink and black peppers. Interesting. It was another hot day on trying this, so I was glad to hide away in the shade. Since I was on holiday I was more relaxed than normal, which always put me in a good mood for beer. This is listed as having 25 IBU, not bad – I always like when they list extra info like that.

Ale-Mania: New England IPA (Germany: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Deep yellow and cloudy body. Thin white head.

Nose: Grapefruit and pineapple. Banana. Guava. Orange juice.

Body: Mango. Smooth. Vanilla toffee. Creamy. No bitterness. Creamy lemon to lemon curd. Hop oils. Orange juice.

Finish: Creamy and milky. Light hop characters. Light hop oils. Bitterness grows over rime. Dried mango.

Conclusion: Another very creamy New England IPA – very thick, very low bitterness – instead concentrating on playing with the fruitiness. With the thickness that the main body it carries a cloying cream character with it as well – not too heavily, just adding a bit of weight to this drink, a bit more thickness to an already robust feel.

The aroma bursts with fresh fruit and while the main body does have similar flavours, it has nowhere near the intensity that the aroma promises. This, so far for me, has been a common trend with NE IPAs. I wonder if it is intentional, and if so why?

Instead of that intense burst, the fruit notes float around the creaminess as a mild, slightly fruit yogurt like character. It’s ok, but I guess I would prefer it if it tended more towards the intensity of the aroma.

Similarly the hop bitterness is very low in this – instead it uses a slick hop oil feel. It does finally give a slow rising bitterness to the finish, but the body has almost 0% bitterness to it.

So, a tad unusual take on the IPA, even given the creamy New England base. The creaminess seems to reduce some of the main characteristics of the IPA style, but despite that it is well made and not bad; More that with the wealth of great IPAs out there I can’t say that this one has much to make it stand out.

Background: New England IPAs seem to popular at the moment, and especially in my experience going around Lower Saxony in Germany. Saw a huge amount of them popping up. This being the first of which I tried – this one at Gig Linden in Hannover. Nor run into Ale-mania before so this is my first experience with them. The day had been fairly hot before this, but we hit the bar early evening so things were starting to chill down a bit. So far I am not 100% sold on the NE IPA style – its ok, usually creamy, sometimes a tad bitty – ok, but I really can’t see why it is blowing up as big as it is. Still, will keep trying them, see if I find the one that makes me get the style.

Paulaner: Salvator (Germany: Dopplebock: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Reddened brown. Large overripe banana bubbled head.

Nose: Cinnamon. Dried banana. Cloves. Wheat. Toffee.

Body: Fruitcake. Madeira. Glacier cherries and port soaked raisins. Marzipan. Bitter wheaty centre. Cinnamon. Dried banana. Clove. Dry liquorice. Earthy. Dried apricot. Spicy notes.

Finish: Raisins. Dry liquorice. Dried prunes. Dry cinnamon. Wheaty. Cloves. Earthy. General dried spice.

Conclusion: This tastes like Aventinus‘ more bitter, charred and spicy cousin. It plays with similar raisins, banana and cloves – that sort of thing – but it has a more bitter core character, with much heavier earthiness and actually quite a wheaty feel despite, I think, not being a weizen.

It has heavy dried fruit and heavy spice to it. In fact, the longer I spend with it, the more it seems to move away from Aventinus and more become its own thing. I mean, Aventinus is still a good starting point for a reference but this deals with harsher flavours without moving away from being enjoyable.

It is also very robust, much more so than the bottled version which I also enjoyed. In fact that extra weight really does give it an extra intensity that takes a bit of time getting used to – rather than a smoother dopplebock this feels much heavier spiced – so much that if you told me it wa a spice beer I would not have been surprised.

Because of the above it is a very complex beer – from the toffee base, the spice into what really does taste like wheat beer notes and dark fruit, it has a lot going on. There are a few notes which means that it is not quite as beloved as Aventinus for me – for one the dry liquorice notes are a bit harsh for me, but it is a sign of how well it is made that I really enjoy it despite that.

So, it has a few flaws and rough edges, but behind that is a fruity, spirity, heavy beer that has a lot to recommend it. Lots of the banana and cloves notes I love – all done with a bit more British feel earthy hop twist. A lot of these are pronounced than in the bottled version, so if the idea of earthy earthiness and spice doesn’t put you off then this is an excellent beer for you. Only have one in a session though I would say – both the abv and flavours are too heavy for any more than that.

Background: The first beer notes of the Germany trip! This one was drunk at Paulaner Am Thienlenplatz near the Hannover train station after doing a few hours walking tour of Hannover itself. I’ve had Salvator a few times before and very much enjoyed it, but this is the first time I’ve had it on tap which was a nice special touch. I don’t think this is actually a wheat beer, even if it does taste like it at times- I did a quick google and I think this is just a dopplebock not a weizen bock, but I could be wrong. Anyway, after all that walking I definitely had earned a beer, so this was a welcome treat.

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