According to the source of all that is correct, that would be Wikipedia, Spaten started life at some point during the 14th century. Evidently the first record of the brewery that would become Spaten was made in 1397, which be any standard is quite a long time ago. In 1854 the brewery moved to its current location and soon became the largest brewery in Munich.
In the early 1920’s Spaten-Brauerei and Franziskaner-Leist-Bräu merged to form Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu and continued in this form until the 1990’s when it merged again. This time it formed the Spaten-Löwenbräu-Gruppe with another famous Munich brewery, that of
Löwenbräu AG. You might think that it would still be in this guise, but you’d be wrong and this surprised me greatly, as they were sold to InterBrew in 2003. Which means that the Spaten brand is currently owned by the behemoth that is AB InBev.
Finding out that at least two of the Oktoberfest beers are produced by AB InBev disappointed me, I expected all six breweries to be operating as individual entities. Probably an overly romantic view of German breweries I grant you and probably a bit naive considering the size and reach of AB InBev. I just hope that the other four aren’t all members of the same family as Spaten and Löwenbräu as I’d rather not line AB InBev pockets with any of my hard earned cash.
It was a with mild trepidation that I poured the beer into a standard pint glass, I don’t own a Maßkrug, or even a dimpled pint mug which would have been the closest I could have managed. The main reason for the trepidation is that I’m not a lager drinker, so I was expecting some sort of undrinkable pale fizzy piss, if I’m being honest.
There was a definite smell of grassy hops during the pour, although these appeared to have all escaped by the time I stuck my nose in the glass. I can say it smelt fresh, but that’s about it. The head was a light fluffy white and easily formed, it dropped relatively quickly to a blotchy covering.
The colour wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was slightly darker than pale piss, but not by much. Having said that, I asked my wife what the colour was and she replied, without hesitation, piss. So your mileage may vary.
I was quite surprised by the taste, it was fuller bodied than I was expecting, with a slightly sweet after taste. It wasn’t particularly bitter, definitely not bitter enough to counteract the sweetness that seemed to intensify the further down the pint I got. It wasn’t as carbonated as I was expecting either, I thought there would be more bubbles, if there had been, maybe the sweetness wouldn’t have started to grate.
If I was drinking this at the Wiesn, I could probably drink a couple, but I think the sweetness and lack of bitterness would become too much for me.