Brew Blog: Fischer Biere d' Alsace, Tradition Amber

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic, lately. Perhaps it's the onset of the holiday season, and the attendant traditions, or perhaps it's the rosy-glassed glimpse of my own past I offered in a recent Brew Blog. Either way, I've been thinking a lot about my childhood, and recently gave another shot to one of the beers of my youth. Before you start feeling scandalized by that phrase, check out the preceding link; it should help expel concerns about the fitness of my parents.

Back then, every beer had the cache of the exotic. I remember excitedly pointing out a new beer to my dad, once, eager to be the catalyst for a new favorite beverage. It was Red Dog. While I'm sure not all of our "discoveries" were so banal, I must admit with some chagrin that Fischer did not stand up to the beneficence of my youthful recollections.

After the delightfully round pop of the swing-top closure, the beer pours a clear, untarnished bronze. Unless you get really aggressive with the pour, there's no evidence of head, and only scant carbonation bubbles its way to the surface. The aroma is slightly yeasty, like proofing dough. Behind that, a blanket sweetness pervades, rounding out slightly to a darker, caramel-tinged richness.

A sip reveals more carbonation than expected, bringing a decent dose of carbonic tartness along with a slight prickling on the tongue. In another fit of nostalgia, the beer's slightly dusty grain character reminds me of a favored (by me; my mom detested the practice) snack from my pre-adolescence. It sounds gross, but I would eat cupfuls of dry, raw, rolled oats. I can still recall that dusty, slightly cardboard-like, vaguely sweet nuttiness, and that's the predominant flavor of Fischer Amber. A slightly acrid edge forces the graininess out, before the beer finishes squeaky clean, almost as if you'd not taken a sip in the first place.

It was a bit of a depressing realization that this once prized totem of my bond with my father, and my burgeoning adulthood, was actually just a crappy adjunct lager. Regardless of that slightly deflating fact, I still have a fondness for Fischer. It marks moments in my life that were, in their own small way, defining. I'm still collecting moments like those with my dad; I'm glad to report that it's (usually) with better beer.

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