Full Sail Session Black Lager

Katie and I went out to the local watering hole last night. There were actually 3 different beers on the “Craft Beer Menu” that I hadn’t had. Unfortunately, they were out of two of the three. So, I was stuck getting this one. I mean, not that it’s a bad thing. I’ve had a few brews from this brewery that I’ve enjoyed. Plus, the bottle on this one is absolutely adorable. So, let’s see how this one went.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Short, Dark, and Drinkable and six time Gold Medal Winner including the 2009 GABF! The second addition to family, Session Black, carries the mantra of drinkability into new territory. Most beers this dark are so heavy-duty, you could eat them with a fork. Session Black, on the other hand, lets you have your dark beer and drink it, too. With just a hint of roasty chocolate character, Session Black is short, dark, and totally drinkable. At long last, a dark beer that doesn’t drink like a meal.”

Random: My other choices were Chimay Blue and Stone IPA.

This brew poured with half a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep brown that was almost black, with no visible carbonation due to the lighting (see the photo, I had a hell of time both with and without the flash). The nose had a bit of sweet and roasted malts to it, but the sweetness really came out for me. The taste had a bit of coffee and some sweetness. It almost reminded me of a porter. But, after a few sips, I got some smoke and bacon. Although I hadn’t seen the style of this brew before drinking it, I totally pegged it as a schwarzbier. The body was thin with moderate carbonation to it, which made it incredibly crisp. This was a really flavorful, lower alcohol brew. I would definitely have this again, added bonus that it came in the cutest bottle ever.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

McSorley’s Irish Black Lager

It’s almost the weekend! I’m getting a beer review out of the way before I get to see Katie and it’s another brew from the Irish six-pack. Again, it’s not actually a brew from Ireland, but it had the word “Irish” on it, so I figured that it would work. I had the other McSorley’s brew (The Irish Pale Ale) last January and really wasn’t thrilled with it.  As I mentioned in that post, this is brewed by the Pabst brewery for the iconic New York bar McSorley’s, which I have yet to go to. Hopefully the Black Lager fares better than its counterpart.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Many notable people have visited McSorley’s, including Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Cooper, Boss Tweed, and Woody Guthrie. Literary figures like Brendan Behan, Paul Blackburn, LeRoi Jones, Gilbert Sorrentino, George Jean Nathan have been cited as regulars.”

Random: I got my tickets for the AC beerfest today. My sister and I are going, which should be an absolute blast. Although, I’m not allowed to tell her where we’re going because everytime we’ve planned on going to a beer festival, some one has either been hospitalized or died. So I’ve been referring to it as “the event that cannot be named.” True story.

I have to say, I’m really digging the bottle. It’s definitely got the retro feel, complete with the motto “Be Good or Be Gone” on the neck, coupled with a very cool bottle cap. The beer itself only poured with a hint on an off white head on top of a dark brown body. Light carbonation was visible through the brew. There was no lacing left on the glass. The nose had a bit of roasted malt with some smoke and a bit of chocolate and sweetness. The taste was more subtle than the nose. I got roasted malts, mild chocolate, with a bit of coffee. I didn’t get smoke on the taste like I did on the nose. The body was on the lighter side for a schwarzbier and had low carbonation. The finish was relatively quick given the flavors that came into play. I have to say, I had pretty low expectations for the brew, but I enjoyed drinking this. The mouthfeel was almost silky. I would definitely have this again. It blew its counterpart out of the water.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Saranac Black Forest

I ended up going to lunch today with my parents. This isn’t out of the ordinary, as I spend every Sunday having Sunday dinner with my family (it’s a big Italian thing). We ended up at one of the bars that I consistently go to. They have about 20 bottled craft beers and a few on tap. It’s now to the point that I’m running out of beers there to review. I actually have to check my blog to see if I’ve reviewed a beer or not before I order it. It’s mildly depressing. So, onto one beer I haven’t reviewed…

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres (4,898 ft). The region is almost rectangular with a length of 200 km (120 mi) and breadth of 60 km (37 mi). Hence it has an area of approximately 12,000 km2 (4,600 sq mi). The name Schwarzwald, i.e. Black Forest, goes back to the Romans who referred to the thickly forested mountains there as Silva Nigra, i.e. ‘Black Forest,’ because the dense growth of conifers in the forest blocked out most of the light inside the forest.”

Random: This is an absolutely horrible picture, but the lighting in this place is atrocious, so I did the best that I could.

The brew poured with a one finger, off white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark brown, almost black color. There was no visible carbonation on the brew due to the color. The nose was very mild, more mild than I’ve ever experienced from a schwarzbier. It had hints of roasted malt and a little it of smoke. The taste had hints of smoke, roasted malts and even a little bit of coffee. Unfortunately, there were no hints of bacon in this brew. The body itself was very thin with moderate carbonation. The roasted malts lasted until the finish, which was very quick. There was no noticeable alcohol on the beer, which makes sense due to the low ABV. Although it seemed like this was a very simplistic brew, I really enjoyed it. I would have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

So after a long day at work and leg day at the gym, I came home to my sister telling me that there is no air conditioning upstairs. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I hate the heat. I hate the summer and just hot weather in general. I get headaches and I can’t sleep. Nothing about the heat is pleasant for me. So, we’re currently waiting for the HVAC guy to come and fix them, and to get through this, I figure a brew is in order.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Originally a limited edition schwarzbier for the Spoetzl Brewery’s 97th anniversary, it became a permanent part of the brand portfolio in late 2007. Black uses imported Austrian Saaz and Styrian hops and dark-roasted malts.”

Random: I’m so happy I didn’t stay up for the Phils game last night. 19 innings…that is absolutely craziness.

The brew poured a dark brown color with a half a finger of off-white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. Due to the color, I couldn’t discern if there was a lot of carbonation on the brew or not. The nose definitely presented with a lot of roasted malt and a hint of smoke and possibly bacon. This brew could have possibilities. On the taste, I figured out that this was definitely a thin brew (almost watery) with a decent amount of carbonation. The flavors in the taste were much of what were in the nose. I got roasted malts again and definitely smoke, but not as much bacon. The finish is much of the same. As my sister said after tasting it, this beer had potential, but it was way too thin. If it had a little more body, it would definitely be more enjoyable. I wouldn’t rush back to have this again. I’ve found another Shiner beer that I’m just not thrilled with. I think I have one or two more in the fridge.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Samuel Adams Black Lager

Today was decently productive. I started packing for my road trip tomorrow, although I still have some packing to do. I’m totally stoked because I’m hitting Troegs Brewery on the way AND they just released their Wet Hop Ale. So, it should be on tap by the time I get there tomorrow. Expect some tasting notes and pictures on Monday or Tuesday. So, I’ll probably be offline for most of the weekend, but it should be a fun beer drinking weekend. I also managed to find a brewpub a mile from where I’m staying too. Totally excited.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “The roots of the Schwarzbier lie in Thuringia and Saxony; the oldest known Schwarzbier is Braunschweiger Mumme (‘Brunswick Mum’) brewed since the Middle Ages (the first documented mention is from 1390) in Braunschweig. The earliest documented mention in Thuringia is of Köstritzer from 1543, a popular Schwarzbier still produced today. Present-day Eastern Germany has many unique varieties of this style from regional breweries. It is often served with dark, chunky breads with cream cheese. It also pairs well with marinated meats like brisket and is an excellent companion to German Sauerbraten.”

Random: I haven’t had German food in forever. I think I need to fix that and have a good German beer.

This poured with a three finger tan head with significant lacing. The head is super fluffy. The body is a dark brown (almost black, no surprise there). Again, no visible carbonation due the color. On the nose, lots of toasty malts. I think they used chocolate malts because when I went to brew my own beer, I took a sniff of them and this smells exactly like that. On the taste, it’s a lot of chocolate hints with some caramel. The finish lingers like crazy with malty goodness. There is also decent carbonation on the taste. The only complaint is that it’s not a really well-balanced beer. The Avery 17 was a better balanced beer. But, I would have this again if someone handed it to me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Avery Seventeen

This was the second brew that I had at POPE. Whenever I’m outside of Jersey, I always attempt to try beers that I can’t get there. Specifically Russian River, Avery, Bell’s, etc. So, when I saw this on tap, after asking the bartender what type of beer it was, I decided to try it.

ABV: 8.69%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: This is Avery’s first anniversary lager. It’s also the second Colorado brew of the night.

Random: Again, this is another brew in which Nicole deleted the picture by accident, so no image of the pour.

This is the first schwarzbier that I’ve had, although I did have the Stone Smoked Porter, which I assumed would be similar to this. The bartender said to expect a bacon taste. Hmm…interesting. This brew poured a dark brown color, although not as dark as the Yeti. This had a two finger off-white head. The carbonation was not visible due to the color of the brew. There was also significant lacing on the glass. On the nose, there was a bit of sweet smoke. I also got a touch of earthiness to this. Others have said that they get chocolate, but I didn’t get much of that. On the first sip, I got some bitterness and a malty sweetness. There’s also a bit of citrus going on in this. I really don’t get the bacon taste that the bartender said would be there. Also, the alcohol in this is pretty well hidden. Despite the color, it’s lighter than I expected. I assumed this would remind me of the porter, but it’s definitely lighter. The smoke is understated, but still would go nicely with barbecue or burgers. I think I prefer the Stone Smoked Porter, because it had a bit more body, but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it again. Not a bad brew, but not something I would search out again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0