I hate surprises. More succinctly, I hate being surprised. The nanoseconds of horror as your brain veers towards full panic while it quickly attempts to work out if these sudden, unexpected changes are to your benefit or detriment.
I am a control freak, I like order and meticulously organised fun. This beer review is a short, rather dull story of how I accidentally played myself.
When Jen from HB&B presented me with a list of interesting Franconian and Bavarian beers I’d never heard of, in a moment of haste I picked one with an odd name. Greif sounded tempting, I thought, but we’ve all had enough of that this year. I’ll try Winkler Bräu’s Kupfer Spezial, I thought. The beer will undoubtedly be a refreshing treat at the end of a day’s writing, when it’s time to get down to the serious business of reviewing.
When I got home after what is a currently rare day outside the confines of my house in South Manchester, it was time for the Spezial, which – for reasons now unknown to me – I had convinced myself was a pale German lager. I was 100%, ready for a clean hoppy pils. The chilled 500ml bottle with its classic German styling was pulled out of the fridge. My favourite Willi Becher was rinsed and drained, ready for the pour.
And then, disaster. What is this copper beer arriving in my glass? Why does it smell of figs and plums instead of snappy noble hops? Where is the crisp, end-of-day, post-work satisfaction I had designated myself in a Very. Specific. Way? My brain now unexpectedly doing backflips, I steeled myself and dove in.
And then everything was fine again. This beer I’d never heard of, let alone tried before, is delicious. Stone fruit mingles with caramel candy sugar, lightened by spritzy carbonation and drying, white pepper spice. What a delight.
I jumped online to learn more about Winkler Bräu and was thrilled to discover this Bavarian brewery is also a hotel, that (in normal times) you can stay at! That’s a future holiday sorted. Maybe I will tell them my scintillating story about how I ignorantly thought their flagship beer was a pale lager. Or maybe I will keep it to myself for eternity that I didn’t know Kupfer Spezial is German for Copper Special. Ich nichten lichten..
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this every month plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen...