Reborn Hofmeister beer crowned best lager of 2017

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Superstar: Hofmeister is the first lager to have been awarded five stars at the IWSC
Superstar: Hofmeister is the first lager to have been awarded five stars at the IWSC
A revived Bavarian Helles lager has won the title of Best Lager at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) 2017.

Hofmeister was a household name in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks in part to its famous George the Bear advertising, but was taken off the shelves in 2003 before being relaunched to the UK market in October 2016.

Now the beer has won the title of Best Lager at the beer awards run by the IWSC Group, beating off competition from multinational brewers from across the globe.

The beer is also the first lager to be awarded five stars in the competition.

The new Hofmeister recipe was tasted blind by judges, who described the beer as “bright, clean and fresh with a lightly fruit aroma”.

Brewed to German purity laws

Hofmeister co-founder Richard Longhurst said: “We can understand why the new Hofmeister lager has blown the Beer Awards judges away. Every keg, bottle and barrel of Hofmeister is made following Germany’s 1516 Reinheitsgebot Beer Purity Law which states only three ingredients can be used in the brewing process.

“It is produced by fourth-generation brewery, Schweiger, on the edge of the Ebersberger Forest using local Hallertau hops, natural spring mineral water and barley from nearby Bavarian farmers, malted onsite at the brewery.”

Hofmeister won notoriety thanks to its Follow the Bear​ TV advertising campaign, fronted by George, a bear who claimed Bavarian heritage despite the beer having no links to the southern German region.

It was brewed in the UK and even at a time when flavourless lagers successfully promoted themselves with catchy marketing campaigns, it quickly established a bad reputation.

Alternative to pilsner

Now operating under the name The Hofmeister Brewing Company, the beer’s new team includes co-founders Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers, and former Coca-Cola marketing director Zoe Howorth.

Speaking about the decision to bring back the brand, Chambers said: “We did not just want to bring back a famous beer brand. We wanted to reinvent it for beer drinkers who are looking for authentic, craft beers with genuine provenance.”

Longhurst and Chambers believe the UK market has been crying out for an alternative to the higher-carbonated, Pilsner style of lager that have dominated the German beer category to date.

“British beer drinkers can now enjoy the authentic, refreshing Bavarian Helles lager style enjoyed in beer halls in Munich and at Oktoberfest down in their local pub,” Longhurst added.

Hofmeister is available nationally in more than 150 pubs and bars, with an initial focus on the south of the country.

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