Franconia Brewing Co

Beer From TX Hits Bangalore Shelves

A few months ago, I received a call from a gentleman informing me that they were working on importing American Craft Beer to India and that got me all excited.

That’s the first time I had heard about Franconia Brewing Co. It’s not a Craft brewery that is massive such as the likes of Stone Brewing or Sierra Nevada but is very popular in it’s hometown of McKinney, Texas. I later came to know that one of my fellow Beer enthusiast and founder of soon to be launched Bombay Duck Brewing Co,  Chinsi from Mumbai had in fact attended homebrewing meet ups at Franconia’s brewery. What a small world indeed eh?

franconia_brewery

So what’s the deal with Franconia you ask? Let’s take a look at the brand and its offerings.


The Legacy

The name Franconia refers to a German region by the same name. Franconia’s founder Dennis Wehrmann comes from a lineage of brewers. His great great grandfather founded a brewery in Tanna, Germany in 1800.

grandpa

Dennis was born in the heart of brewing country in Germany, Bavaria. His mother was a brewery lab technician and his uncles were all involved in the brewing business. At an early age Dennis spent time working for a local brewery and soon after high school attended brewing school and interned at a local brewery.  He later worked full time for a small brewpub in his hometown of Nuremberg.

Several years later Dennis graduated with a Masters in Brewing for the well renowned Doemans institute of brewing and soon after moved to the US, where he worked for a local craft brewery before moving on to form Franconia Brewing Company in 2008.

dennis1
Dennis Wehrmann

The rich history of brewing behind this brand is simply an indicator that brews made here are as German as you can get outside the confines of Germany and the famed Reinheitsegbot purity law.

Franconia got featured in Paste Magazine’s ” The 50 Most Underrated Craft Breweries In The USA” in June 2016.

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/06/the-50-most-underrated-craft-breweries-in-the-usa.html

It’s nice to know that these Beers have found their way to India isn’t it?


The Beers

Franconia typically brews several staple German style beers and some seasonal ones.

  • Lager
  • Kolsch
  • Pilsner
  • Dunkel Lager
  • Hefeweizen
  • Kristal Weizen (Filtered Hefe)
  • Oktoberfest (Marzen)
  • Dusseldorf Alt
  • Specials included beers such as Amber lagers and Bocks, Porters

For the Indian market, since this was to be the first shipment, it was decided to ship just 4 styles – Kolsch, Hefeweizen (Wheat), Dunkel Lager & Amber.

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The importer, Dion Lion Saumabaan Distributors were kind enough to send me a few samples once stocks were cleared by the Karnataka State Excise Dept.

TOF team member Manish MK, Karthik from the Bangalore Brew Crew and I sampled all of these, discussed our findings and here’s what we found:

Kolsch

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12 FL Oz | 355 ml | 4.8% ABV | MRP (Karnataka) Rs. 361.82

Kolsch beers originated from the German town of Cologne (Koln) are ales that have been lagered and are meant to be clean, crisp, balanced with hints of fruit and hop character.

The Franconia Kolsch was light gold in color, clear with good carbonation, a smooth fine head with excellent head retention. On the nose- malty with some metallic and buttery notes. On the palate – light bodied, malty with a subtle hint of sweetness, smooth and a slight bitter finish. We did detect metallic notes in the finish.

Overall – a refreshing alternative to a lager and great for drinking at any time or season.

Hefeweizen

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12 FL Oz | 355 ml | 5.4% ABV | MRP (Karnataka) Rs. 375

India’s most favorite Craft Beer style has to be the Hefeweizen (Hefe means yeast and Weizen means Wheat). Know for it’s cloudy unfiltered appearance, dense head, fruity and spicy esters and phenols (from the yeast), this medium bodied wheat based ale is refreshing and sweet hence well suited to the Indian palate.

The Franconia Hefe scored well on appearance – hazy, golden with a dense, fluffy long lasting head and excellent carbonation. On the nose, your tell tale notes of banana dominates the profile along with hints of clove. We did pick up metallic notes once again. On the palate, light to medium bodied, slightly sweet, fruity with an excellent mouthfeel with a nice low bitter finish however those metallic notes did linger as an aftertaste.

This brew is definitely true to style and one that will continue to woo Indians for years to come.

Amber Lager

 

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12 FL Oz | 355 ml | 4.8% ABV | MRP (Karnataka) Rs. 361.82

One of my personal favorites has to be any Beer, Lager or Ale that is typically brewed with munich, vienna and caramel malts giving you that rich, amber/copper color with plenty of nutty, caramel like notes on the palate.

The Fraconia Amber did not disappoint in appearance. The first sample we tried had a problem. It seemed like the crown wasn’t attached securely and we did have a loss of liquid and carbonation. Our second sample was fine however we didn’t take a photo of that.

Well made, with good carbonation and nice rich head. On the nose, the nutty & caramel like aromas dominate and this is mirrored on the palate along with hints of sweetness, a medium bodied mouthfeel and a pleasant hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

Dunkel Lager

franconia-dunkel

12 FL Oz | 355 ml | 4.8% ABV | MRP (Karnataka) Rs. 361.82

Dunkel lagers are traditionally rich and complex beers with plenty of malt and chocolate character, never harsh yet balanced and easy to drink.

Franconia’s Dunkel is an excellent example of this. Rich, dark brown in appearance with a nice off white long lasting head, good carbonation and aromas that are heavy with dark chocolate and roasted malt with some hints of burnt caramel. This is mirrored on the palate – medium bodied, roasty, rich in chocolate flavor, nutty and caramel undertones, hints of sweetness but low in bitterness, smooth, well carbonated.

Overall an excellent, smooth balanced lager with plenty of malt complexity. Easy to drink and extremely likable. This one is a winner!

Our Reccomendations

Shipping Beers to India and getting them to a liquor outlet in good condition is a tedious task. Customs and Excise delays coupled with a lack of climate controlled logistics typically plays havoc with imports here.

The Franconia Beers are all drinkable however we did find mild signs of oxidation in all the varieties except the Dunkel lager. This feedback has been passed along to the importer and Dennis from Franconia and future batches are going to be better!

Our recommendations would have to be the Amber Lager and Dunkel Lager. It would be wonderful if Franconia does indeed send over some of their other seasonals such as their Ice Bock, IPA and Porter.

Links

Franconia Brewing Co Website : Click HERE

Franconia Brewing Co Facebook Page: Click HERE


Availability

Franconia Beers are available at all leading liquor outlets. The best store to find the complete range would be:

Dewars Wine Stores

Address: No.25, St Marks Road, Opposite State Bank of India, Shanthala Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001, India

Phone Number: +91 80 2221 4945

Google Maps: Click HERE


All Images Courtesy: Franconia Brewing Company, Dion Lion Saumabaan & Tales Of Froth

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