A trek to Andechs, the legendary Benedictine monastery brewery that sits atop the "Holy Mountain" southwest of Munich, is a common detour for those seeking a respite from Oktoberfest. Philadelphians who have descended upon Brauhaus Schmitz this weekend for its usual South Street fest blowout need only to double back for the doppelbock brewed since 1455 - only now available in the U.S.
A yearlong draft exclusive for Andechs in Philly is the latest coup for Brauhaus, which has an impressive record in featuring rare German brews. And it's clear why Andech is considered one of greatest doppelbocks. It has a ruby-brown hue with a tawny cream head, a toasty flavor that evokes nuts and a birch barrel-like hint of vanilla sweetness, and is noteworthy for an overall balance that is rare at 7.1 percent alcohol. I hope to make it to the Holy Mountain some day.
For now, a hike to South Street is a trek worth taking.
- Craig LaBan
Andechs doppelbock, $8 a half-liter, Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South St.