A strangely compelling brew
A Review of Litwos by Mystery Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/19/2013 by Chops
It's inevitable that craft beer fans will reach points where it feels like they have seen it all. Cumquat Triple IPA? Been there. German Finnish Turkish Russian Imperial Stout? Done that. Belgian Quad brewed with pickles? Bored now. It's during these down times that revitalizing discoveries are not only welcome, but they are flat necessary. Any brewer can add funky ingredients to established beer styles, but it takes a special brewer to resurrect long forgotten ones. Mystery Brewing out of Hillsborough, NC did exactly that with their Litwos Grodziskie Grätzer.

After some research, I discovered that the Grätzer is an old Polish style of beer that is made with 100% smoked wheat malt. These beers are bitter and smokey, yet they retain an easy drinking nature due to their low alcohol content. Grätz is the German name for Grodzisk, the small town in Prussia where the beer style originated. The last Polish Grätzer brewery closed in 1994 and the style almost disappeared forever.

Mystery describes their Grätzer as: A traditional Polish style beer that is simultaneously incredibly hoppy and incredibly smoky. Made from 100% oak-smoked wheat, we put our own little twist on it by using our favorite hops - Aramis - and our house saison yeast to create a dry, champagne-like, hop and smoke session ale.

Bring back an old beer style AND put your own spin on it? That takes balls my friend.

In the glass, this beer has a light golden coloration that is semi-hazy. It comes with a sudsy white head that dissipates quickly. On the nose, I found a light bready aroma with hints of smoke. There wasn't much else to the intro. Coupled with a very small 2.4% ABV, I was a tad skeptical going into that first sip.

Wow, talk about a well hidden punch. This beer has a big smokey flavor that slaps you across the face. It's quite the brain bender because it also drinks like a crisp light beer. The bread note is muted and acts like a fluffy foundation. If you think of this beer as a stripped down Belgian Wit with big smoke flavor, then you basically have the gestalt. It's a very weird battle between complex and simple. The hop presence is strong yet restrained and acts more as a referee. The resulting mouthfeel is dry and softly aggressive. The finish is also dry and exits with a long lasting smokey bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Mystery Brewing's Litwos Grodziskie Grätzer is a fascinating brew. It's the first of its kind I have ever tried, so I can't speak intelligently on its comparative quality. Regardless, this beer is very tasty and unoffensive. I can recommend Litwos to any beer fan with an adventurous palate, but I wouldn't order it as a compliment to socializing. This beer is going to steal away your attention, so best to prepare yourself for the encounter. I really enjoyed the experience and will certainly be partaking in more. Hats off to Mystery for crafting this strangely compelling brew. This is of course why I love visiting the Mystery Brewing Pub House. Exciting new adventures always await me.

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Litwos by Mystery Brewing Co.
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