Flensburger – a Pilsener beer brand from Northern Germany!
Flensburger is one of the famous German beer brands best known for its Pilsner style beer. Originating from the Northern German city of Flensburg close to the border of Denmark, Flensburger stands for Northern German culture and for a brewery still family owned. With a long history going back to the 1880s, Flensburger definitively is a beer brand worth looking at! So learn more about the Flensburger brewery and about its type of beer. With this article we will put a focus on the core product of the brewery: Flensburger Pilsener.
The Flensburger brewery, officially named Flensburger Brauerei Emil Petersen GmbH & Co. KG, is one of the few breweries not belonging to one of the large brewery groups. It is still property of the Dethleffsen-Petersen family, whose ancestors Emil and Heinrich Petersen bought many company shares in the 1920s. By the way, Petersen is a widespread name in Northern Germany and one you would hardly find in Bavaria or other parts of Southern Germany. In essence, best prerequisites for successfully leading a brewery in Northern Germany!
How the Flensburger beer story started…
The Flensburger brewery was founded in 1888 by several merchants investing a total sum of more than half a million Reichsmark. That was actually lots of money back in those days. At first, it was the Export beer market the company was aiming at. In the year following the foundation, the Flensburger brewery started brewing a Pilsner style beer as well as a dark beer in compliance with the Bavarian style of beer. This is rather noteworthy, since Northern Germany and Bavaria are at far distance to each other and follow utterly different traditions. A Bavarian would have problems understanding the dialect of a person from the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, to which Flensburg belongs, and the other way around. Yet, beer has at all times been a connecting element and was a product spreading quickly, regardless of the transportation limitation back in the old days.
Speaking of transportation, Flensburger beer was at first delivered by horse and this delivery method was applied right up until the early 1950s. This was typical for the time, despite the fact that trucks were available for breweries by the 1920s. Traditions always played an important role for German breweries and their marketing goals.
The Flensburger story continues…
Without doubt, Flensburger Pilsener is the most famous and best-selling beer of the Flensburger brewery. After WW2 the brewery got the permission to brew beer again – Lager beer for the Allies and a light beer for the German population called “Molkebier” (whey beer with low alcohol content). By 1958 the Flensburger brewery was also allowed to sell its beer beyond the former boundaries being the Danish border and the Kiel Canal. Before it had been limited to this specific region around its hometown of Flensburg. The Holsten brewery as well as the Bavaria-St.-Pauli brewery were rivals on the post-war beer market of Northern Germany.
Flensburger beers in the 1950s
- Flensburger Pilsener
- Flensburger Export
- Flensburger Doppelbock
- Flensburger Export Pils
In addition, the Flensburger brewery also produced Afri Cola and Bluna beverages under license.
A far-reaching decision: the remarkable Flensburger beer bottle!
The 1950s were also a time when an important marketing decision was made. In those times, people still came to the brewery with their own containers to get their beer. Yet, bottles were becoming popular in Germany during the post-war “economic miracle”. The Flensburger brewery decided to bottle its beer in a rather rare kind of bottle: the swing top bottle with a so called “Bügelverschluss” (brace seal). It does not have a crown cap. The swing top beer bottle shows the effect that you here a unique “plop” kind of sound when you open it. With the right technique, you can even make the seal jump upwards at the same time. This however requires some training and thus a few beers to be enjoyed.
The Flensburger brewery was able to link the swing top bottle to its beer brand and made this special bottle famous throughout Germany. Nothing has changed about the bottles to this very day, and many people do associate the swing top bottle with Flensburger Pilsener beer.
The Flensburger brewery was founded in 1888 and has been brewing beer for more than 125 years! Located in Northern Germany, Flensburg still is the location where the famous Pilsner beer in the typical swing top bottles is being produced. Most of the time Flensburger beer is enjoyed directly from the bottle. By the way, Flensburger beer is even available in Bavaria!
The Flensburger beer range today.
Like other German breweries too, the Flensburger brewery widened its beer range in order to retain its market position. Today, it produces a broad variety of different beer styles, all under the Flensburger beer brand and all in the classic swing top bottles. In addition, you will find at least Flensburger Pilsener in most larger beverage shops throughout Germany.
Flensburger beers today
- Flensburger Pilsener (classic Pilsner style beer & key product of the brewery)
- Flensburger Frei (non-alcoholic version of the Pilsener style beer)
- Flensburger Dunkel (dark beer)
- Flensburger Weizen (Hefeweizen beer with increased hops)
- Flensburger Malz (Malzbier / malt beer)
- Flensburger Gold (pale Lager beer)
- Flensburger Edles Helles (pale Lager beer with a long maturing time)
- Flensburger Radler (Radler beer mix)
- Flensburger Lager (mild beer only on draught, not sold in bottles)
- Flensburger Frühlingsbock (Bock beer)
- Flensburger Kellerbier (bottom-fermented, unfiltered Lager beer of cloudy nature)
- Flens Fassbrause (non-alcoholic Fassbrause beverage with different flavors)
Did you know that the Flensburger brewery introduced its first non-alcoholic beer called Flensburger Frei onto the market in 1993. Clausthaler beer brand was introduced way earlier, however, 1993 was rather early in comparison to other breweries, entering this market far later. Nevertheless, Flensburger Pilsner still makes up for 75 % of the brewery’s output.
The Flensburger brewery even sells a mineral water in transparent swing top bottles, expanding its non-alcoholic beverage with yet another product. Regarding the Flensburger beer selection, one could say it partially focuses on beer styles from other German regions such as Bavaria. Still, the Flensburger brand strongly refers to its origins in Northern Germany. There are some similarities to the Jever beer brand. This may seem awkward for the international or even the German beer enthusiast. But you have to keep in mind that the competition on the beer market is high and that most breweries have the intention of growing. The Flensburger brewery has been successful to this very day, remaining a private owned company having prevented a takeover by a large brewery group since its foundation in 1888. That is quite a performance!
Flensburger Pilsener – The Data.
- Alcohol content: 4.8 % ABV
- Calories: 39 kcal / 100 ml
- Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hops Extract
Flensburger Pilsener - Our Review
We had a classic swing-top bottle of Flensburger Pilsener containing some 0.33l of beer. And yes, we heard the typical "plop" sound, when opening our "Flens" beer and liked that very much. Flensburger Pilsener revealed a very consistent and massive amount of froth. In addition, the smell is extraordinarily intensive and provides a great first impression of Flensburger Pilsener. Regarding the taste, we were however a bit disappointed. We would describe it as simple and lacking complexity with a plain bitterness reaching into the aftertaste. Maybe this is owed to the fact that Flensburger Pilsener only contains hops extract instead of pure hops or at least a certain amount of pure hops. We didn't really like Flensburger Pilsener and do favor other German Pilsner beer brands. But please keep in mind: this is just our personal view and taste.
*We tasted this beer with 2 persons and the rating reflects only our personal impression, which we discussed after tasting the beer. The beer was cooled to the recommended temperature for the relevant beer type prior to testing. You may have a different taste and come to other results.
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