Oettinger, called Oetti by its fans, is the second-biggest brewery in Germany in terms of total beer output, second only to Krombacher as of 2018. Headquartered in Oettingen, Bavaria, Oettinger does not advertise its products, does not involve any intermediaries and has very few employees since its brewing process is largely automated. This brewery gets quite a lot of hate in Germany (even my students make fun of it) and was once king of the cheap beers in Germany before the 29 cent discount beers started popping up in supermarkets. Oettinger‘s advertising strategy is quite focused on convincing customers that their beers are not boring. Let’s see if this is true.
Oettinger Pils is one of the most consumed beers in all of Germany. The classic sliver and blue bottle claims inanely that its GMO free and that the brewery has been around since 1731; at least it doesn’t have “premium” on the label. The Pils is 4.7% alcohol, and a 500ml bottle was bought from Fränky for 45 cents.
Colour is pale gold with a very feeble head which dissipates seconds after pouring but leaves a bit of lacing. Smell is typical for cheap pils: sliced bread and metal. Tastes begins with some malty sweetness and finishes with some subdued spicy bitterness from the hops, which lingers a little. Mouthfeel is very watery with a high carbonation. There are no hints of skunkiness or off flavours.
Apart from its watery simplicity, It’s quite well balanced, is surprisingly drinkable and is quite good value considering that, in my opinion, it’s basically equivalent in quality to rubbishy beers like Heineken and Stella Artois but much cheaper. This is quite a boring, generic beer but it is by no means the worst German pils I’ve sampled.
Rating: 4 Stars out of 10
Oettinger Export is an export-strength lager, which is reasonably stronger than the Pils at 5.4% alcohol by volume but at the same price. It is the second most popular offering from Oettinger and is aimed at people who want more drinkability and more alcohol.
Colour is deep gold with a feeble head and no lacing. Smell is grain with a subtle booziness. Taste is considerably sweet with corn and cane sugar. Bitterness is practically non existent with only a slight hint of spiciness from the hop extract. Carbonation is quite high and mouthfeel is super watery which is typical for Oettinger. There is also an unpleasant musty, abrasive aftertaste which lingers on the palate.
All in all, this export lager is very generic and strongly reminds me of some trashy Aussie brews like Crown Lager. This is clearly inferior to the cheaper Stephan Bräu Export from Kaufland but it is by no means the shittest shit beer that I’ve tried in Germany.
Rating: 3 Stars out of 10
Oettinger Kellerbier is one of the newest additions to the Oettinger product range and is clearly a graceless attempt to hone in on the Franconian beer market (many larger breweries in Germany have begun whipping out trendy new Kellerbiers, eg Bitburger, Franziskaner, Hofbräu and Krombacher). Oettinger’s take on this Franconian classic has a relatively high ABV of 5.6%; fortunately, it is at least naturtrüb (“naturally cloudy”). The Kellerbier is the same price as the Pils and Export: 45 cents.
Colour is a light amber with a decent albeit very fine head and a good amount of yeasty cloudiness. Taste begins like a classic Kellerbier, caramel and toasted grains, but gives way to a disappointingly bland and watery body with no detectable hop bitterness. There is no aftertaste to speak of.
To be fair, this is one of the better beers in Oettinger‘s range since it tastes somewhat like a real Kellerbier but suffers from a watery and dull finish. It is definitely more interesting than any of the pils or export lagers previously reviewed, quite drinkable and, therefore, surprisingly satisfactory.
Rating: 5 Stars out of 10