Brewmaster loves cooking with beer

American brewmaster George Reisch is such a big fan of beer that he even uses it in his daily cooking.

He boils potatoes in lager and cooks pork knuckles in a crockpot with beer instead of water. He also recommends adding Franziskaner (a German heritage brewery) beer into ice cream and refreezing it.

But the fifth-generation brewmaster - who has worked at St Louis, Missouri-based brewing company Anheuser-Busch for the past 37 years - says the beer should not overshadow the food it is paired with.

The beer is the "bridesmaid" and the food is the "bride", says Mr Reisch, 59. "Beer should always be three steps behind the food, never in front. In my perfect pairing, the beer elevates the food without getting in the way."

He was in town recently for Singapore-based German restaurant Brotzeit's launch of four draft beers from Franziskaner and another German heritage brewery, Lowenbrau, on its menu.

He oversees the brewing of Franziskaner and Lowenbrau beers for Anheuser-Busch in the United States.

Both German breweries have more than 600 years of history. Franziskaner is the oldest privately owned brewery in Munich, while Lowenbrau is one of the official beers of Munich's Oktoberfest.

The four beers available here for the first time come in both the original and "dunkel", or dark, versions. They are Lowenbrau Original Munchner Lager, Lowenbrau Original Munchner Dunkel Lager, Franziskaner Hefe Weissbier and Franziskaner Dunkel Hefe- Weissbier.

The beers, which went on sale from last Friday, are permanent menu items at Brotzeit, which has six outlets here, including at VivoCity and 313@Somerset.

Mr Reisch grew up in his family's brewery - Reisch Brewing in Illnois - until it closed in 1966. When he was a student at the University of Wisconsin, he worked for two breweries. He joined Anheuser- Busch after graduating in 1979.

Having spent his entire life surrounded by beer, he knows the beverage well. He describes the Lowenbrau Original Munchner Lager as a Munich helles, or bright beer. "It's for people who want to have more fermentation notes from the yeast. It's very balanced between the malt and the hops."

He says master brewers like himself always order Lowenbrau beers because they are "delicious".

However, the married father of four has a personal connection to Franziskaner because his 30-year- old son, also a brewer who works in Chicago, spent a year living in the Munich brewery to learn the trade.

He says: "Franziskaner is all about the Bavarian yeast. The Franzis- kaner Hefe Weissbier, for instance, tastes fresh and fruity, compared to the Lowenbrau Original Munchner Lager, which is malty and mildly hoppy."

He hopes the next generation will carry on his passion for beer. He says of his two-year-old grandson: "He's not brewing yet, but who knows."

This article was first published on April 17, 2016.
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