What they did: Better get this out of the way before the beer geeks hyperventilate: No, Bayern didn't violate the Reinheitsgebot. The region's only German brewery has always adhered to that country's 500-year-old Law of Purity and doesn't plan to stop. Bayern beer ingredients include malted barley, hops, water, yeast and... that's it. "We're doing what dad did," owner Jürgen Knö¨ller told clients at a private launch party last week, "which is sometimes cool."
"Sometimes cool." So simple and true. It certainly rang poetic in the moment, when Knö¨ller was standing atop a wooden barrel (or was it just a chair?) speaking in his German accent in Bayern's Edelweiss Bistro while guests ate brats and drank beer and laughed at all his jokes. But we digress.
OK, but what did Bayern actually do? Right. So then brewmaster Thorsten Geuer steps onto the barrel or chair or whatever it was and explains Bayern's beer in terms of pizza. You've got dough, red sauce, cheese and sausage. No pesto, no pineapple, definitely no tofu. But an aged goat cheese instead of mozzarella? That might be nice. And there's a reason you won't find goat cheese on a Papa John's menu—unique ingredients aren't suited for mass production. Similarly, beer distribution relies on consistency. Experimental brews made with specialty hops and malts don't usually find their way onto shelves because even microbreweries can't redesign a package or launch a new marketing campaign every month. Enter "Inconceivable."
- photo by Derek Brouwer
Please just say what it is: OK, OK. Bayern's solution to this challenge is a concept it calls "digital beer." It's a fast-rotating beer series delivered under one label—"Inconceivable"—with a QR code and URL to help consumers figure out what's inside any particular batch. Styles will vary widely from month to month based on whatever Geuer and Co. concoct. "We can do what you can normally do at a very small brewery in very limited quantities," Knö¨ller says. Think of "Inconceivable" as a mystery beer sold with a code that shoppers with smartphones can handily crack.
Is the name a reference to The Princess Bride? Yes.
Where to find it: The initial iteration of Inconceivable is shipping to Bayern distributors this week, so look for the psychedelic label on shelves this weekend.
What's in the first batch? Tropical fruit aromas. To say more would ruin the fun. Details at bayernbrewery.com/inconceivable.
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