Plank-Bier Bavarian Heller Doppelbock


Review Date 10/17/2008 By John Staradumsky

Earlier today, I was shopping for beer at my favorite beer store, Green's Beverage. Green's has locations in Atlanta and South Carolina, and really if you live inthose areas (or even parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida) this is a store that's worth the drive. For details on where to find their stores, just hop on over to their website:

After you finish reading my review, of course. Anyway, Green's is always bringing new beers in, and today as I plunked goodies into my cart I stopped by the German aisle and spied a bottle of Plank-Bier Bavarian Heller Doppelbock. It was one of several beers being sold from this small Bavarian brewery in shiny half-liter bottles. The price tag almost stopped me in my tracks; at $5.99 this was one expensive beer indeed.

Still, a measley six bucks was not going to stop me from trying one of the flowers of Bavarian craft brewing, so I tossed it in the buggy with the rest of my loot. Arriving home, I was eager to try this one, and it was the first to be opened as a result. Bavaria's Michael Plank Brewery has a lineage dating back to 1617, so these guys have been in the beer business for quite some time.

Now though, Brauerei Plank has entered the 21st century and has a flashy website, the address for which I got off my bottle. Brushing off my college German, I navigated through the site, and discovered that the company makes a fine array of classic German styled beers in a quaint little brewery that combines the best of modern and classic brewing technologies.

Interestingly enough, a Heller Doppelbock is not listed as one of the company's beers. Still, I hold it in my hand, so it exists, Q.E.D. This is a Maibock actually, albeit one a bit stronger than the norm. Maibocks are common in the spring, and are pale in color with a crisp malty palate and a gentle kiss of hops in the finish. My bottle was exceptionally fresh, perhaps one of the freshest imports I've ever tasted. Who says you can't get great German beer in America?

Plank-Bier Bavarian Heller Doppelbock pours to a beautifully golden orange color with a light creamy head formation and a subtle nose of soft sweet malt. Although you really should never drink beer too cold, it's more important than ever with a delicate but very complex beer like this one. So, I drink my bottle cool, not cold, as the Germans are wont to do. And as a reward, a sip reveals a simply scrumptious soft malty palate. It's a little chewy as a good Heller bock should be, with just a hint of caramel and a bit of canned corn flavor that is a defect in most other beers but I usually get in Maibocks.

There's an almost candyish sweet richness here as well, and a surprisingly dry herbal hop finish that balances the initial sweetness very nicely. A bit of alcohol warmth underlines the entire beer, but only a bit; this one is dangerously drinkable. At $5.99 a pop, though, I doubt you'll be drinking this by the case. That's the only thing keeping this from five stars in my book, and even then it gets four and a half.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.