Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sprecher Black Bavarian, bottle, poured into inappropriate glassware

This morning I received the unfortunate and somewhat bewildering news that I'm allergic to brewer's yeast. Of course, this diagnosis--I mean, opinion--begs two very important questions:

1) How reliable is this testing method, anyway? Surely it must be totally, horribly wrong.

2) If I really am allergic to brewer's yeast, what constitutes a food allergy? I drink beer on a daily basis and have never so much as broken out in hives from drinking beer.

Whatever the case, my doctor told me to avoid beer for three months--a most disheartening prescription. Still depressed tonight, I decided I needed a beer.

I always say, if you want good cold-weather beers, start with a place that actually has cold weather. And, as I also say, if you want good German-style craft beers, start in Wisconsin. Black Bavarian? Check and check.

Black Bavarian pours with a high, fairly creamy head that smells of molasses, malt, dried figs, raisins, and a little whiff of chocolate. The taste generally matches the aroma, with the malt and molasses most prominent and some bitter stale coffee on the back end. The feel is more foamy than I'd hoped but still appropriate for a dark German, and at 6.0% ABV, there isn't the slightest taste of booze. You can enjoy this as a slow sipper if you're feeling dainty, but you can just as easily take it down in swishy two-ounce gulps if you're a burly German dude.

Grade: H, for hearty. It has a strong body but isn't heavy or overly dense. The molasses and dry fruit flavors make this a good desert beer, but it would make just as a good a mid-afternoon beer or complement to a blandly spiced meal with bitter vegetables. Black Bavarian is a Wisconsin German-style beer that holds up the conventional wisdom.

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