“Surely one of the most intriguing stories we’ve heard in recent years, ABK is a very rare example of a beloved traditional brewery, bought out by ambitious drinks entrepreneurs and not ruined as a result. On the contrary, Jonathan Kendrick (JK) and John Paul DeJoria (JP) – both dyed-in-the-wool German beer fanatics – have done exactly what they promised: brought this superb Bavarian local brewery to an international audience with respect and integrity, bringing huge benefits to the local community and without compromising one iota on beer itself. Impressive.
As for the beer, it doesn’t get much more Bavarian than this. In 1325, the Kaufbeuren Brewers Guild declared that all beers produced in the town could only use the best hops and barley and ground-filtered local mineral waters. Bear in mind this was almost 200 years before the introduction of the Reinheitsegebot German beer purity law. Today, it still brews with its pick of the locally-grown Spalt and Hallertau hops and grains from the same local farms it has been using since 1308.
“Our Master Brewer Bernd Trick is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable people you’ll ever meet, and his word is law on these things,” says JK. “Nothing but top quality hops, barley and water, maturated for between six and eight weeks. There’s no other way to get that distinctive character.”
What the judges say: This is the flagship beer from a brewery that’s been cranking them out for the best part of 700 years, and it shows. Nothing is hidden or downplayed in this flavoursome lager. There’s pronounced malty sweetness to balance out the long, gentle, bitter finish, alongside breezy floral notes from the classic Bavarian hops. For fans of US-style craft who are sceptical about lagers, this beer might change your world.”