History of Ramstein
Founded in 1996, High Point Brewing Company is America’s premier brewer of German-style Lagers and Wheat Beers. The founder and driving force of Ramstein Beer is Greg Zaccardi, an award-winning brewer who trained and brewed professionally in southern Germany.
After immersing himself in German brewing culture and technique, Greg returned to the US to brew Ramstein Beer. Ramstein Beers are brewed with the same care and precision that Greg learned in Germany. In fact, the malt, hops and yeast used to make Ramstein Beer are imported directly from Bavaria.
Greg found a special brewer’s yeast used only by a small brewery in Bavaria.He convinced the brewery to let him use the special yeast for Ramstein Beer. The unique complex character of Ramstein Beer is a result of this private yeast and of course, our careful and proper brewing methods.
Our Beer was named after the town of Ramstein in Germany, which has a large American population and is the home of the US Ramstein Air Force Base. Ramstein Beers reflect the marriage of German tradition and American innovation.
Ramstein from Jason Koontz on Vimeo.
The Brewing Process
Milling the Grain
The finest imported German grains—wheat and/or barley, depending on the recipe—are sent through a mill. The mill applies gentle pressure to the individual grains as they pass through on their way to the mash tun. This process cracks, but does crush, the grains to prepare them for the mashing process in the brewhouse.
In our brewhouse, the finest imported German wheat and barley are mixed with pure mountain water, to create the brewer’s mash. The mash has a consistency of warm porridge. Its purpose is to activate the natural enzymes of the grain and convert the raw carbohydrates into fermentable sugars.
At High Point, we adhere to the traditional and authentic German method of decoction. This challenging process is only used by a few breweries. During the decoction, about 30% of the mash is boiled. It creates the extra dimensions of flavor in our beers. The mash process takes about 5 hours.
The next step is to separate the grain from the sweet liquid. The sweet liquid, called wort, flows through stainless steel screens which hold back the grain. The wort is collected in our kettle (tank on the right). We collect about 550 gallons and bring it to a boil.
Imported German noble hops are added to the boiling wort. Hops contribute a subtle balancing bitterness to the sweet wort. After a two hour boil, the wort is then transferred to our primary fermentors.
Once the wort is Fermentation received in these stainless steel tanks, we add the fourth ingredient, our proprietary brewer’s yeast. Once the yeast is added, fermentation is on its way. Primary Fermentation last for 3-5 days during which most of the fermentable sugars are converted by the yeast into flavor, aroma, CO2 and alcohol.
The yeast at High Point is from a small brewery in Germany. Greg Zaccardi found this yeast and brought it back to America. This bavarian brewery and High Point are the only breweries in the world using this yeast.
The unique yeast contributes our signature aroma and the deep complexity of our beer. You will enjoy the wonderful balance of esters, clovey notes (characteristic for a bavarian wheat beer) and the smooth malty finish.
After 3-5 days of primary fermentation and 3 weeks of maturation, our beer is ready for packaging.
In our state-of-the-art bottling line we will fill about 1 bottle per second or 8 kegs per 20 minutes.
At High Point, we naturally carbonate our Ramstein beer. Our time honored and natural process is yet another element of quality that sets High Point apart from most breweries which artificially inject CO2 into the beer. Artificial carbonation contributes a harshness to the palate (referred to as the seltzer burn). High Point’s natural carbonation process contributes fine bubbles for a smooth finish.
The natural carbonation of our Ramstein is created by packaging our beer into bottles and kegs and allowing the beer to complete a secondary fermentation in these containers. This method is called bottled conditioning and is similar to the method for carbonating authentic champagne (methode champenoise).
Most beer lovers agree, that the smooth carbonation achieved by this time consuming bottle and keg fermentation process is well worth it.
Pick some up!
What are you waiting for? Visit our distribution page and find out where you can enjoy some Ramstein beer fresh on tap or pick some up to savor at home. You can also view our brewery from our tap room, and ask our friendly and knowledgeable staff about merchandise available for purchase in our gift shop, Monday – Friday from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM, and on Saturdays from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Remember to stop by the brewery for an in-person tour on the second Saturday of March, June, September, and December!