Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 85, McSorely's Irish Black Lager

This beer is aptly classified as a Schwarzbier, or black beer in - guess what language, and is typically dark in color but not so much in body and mouthfeel like a porter or stout.  Instead it is a bit more refreshing and hops are in greater usage.  This is my first schwarzbier that I am reviewing, but not the first I have had.  In fact, I have probably had a dozen different ones so far.  My own Eddie's Small Bier with some tweaking may actually fit into this category.  I wish I had more feedback on that beer as I think it's pretty good.  So here goes with the McSorely's!
I can reuse this bottle for hombrewing so I am giving some extra sumtin for dat!  But look at that head!  It is a very nice tan one finger head of tiny to small sized bubbles that fade to a heavy ring around the glass and a cap in the center and leaves a nice little Hopi village in the side of sandstone cliff kind of lacing on the glass.  The beer pours a clear but opaque black.  I poured this beer at about 50 degrees F.

At an instant an aroma of dark roasted malts hit me.  Underneath that are some sweet malts and a bread like note.  Someone reviewed it as the dark toasted crust on a slice of bread.  They were not too far off.  It's pleasant to say the least.

Taste wise once again like with many beers is amazingly similar to the aroma.  At first the dark roasted malts are apparent and they carry through with the sip, but just after and sort of under that flavour is a darkened caramel sweetness almost like cola (as another reviewer put it) and then as the beer continues on the sweet fades to mild to medium English bittering hops on the back of the tongue with some dryness and a hint of licorice.  Again, it is dry and a little bitter, but only enough so as to get you to drink more!

The mouthfeel is often described as crisp and I tend to agree.  It's body is light to moderate with just over moderate carbonation which puts forth the crispiness.  It's balanced and refreshing.

Overall, I would say that this is an excellent Schwarzbier at the least.  I would totally seek this out AND recommend it to the beginning craft beer drinker as a good transition beer as well as an alternative to a stout in which they may not like.  It is a great alternative to the latter in the winter as you feel like you can session this 5.5 % ABV beer without getting bloated and hammered.  4 out of 5!

I feel it imperative to put this little saying at the end of every post not to drum up craft beer business, but to bring joy to those who are stuck on the mundane and may not even know it!  Try different beers!  Try craft beer!  Try wine!  Life is too short to be sitting in that lounge chair!  Get out, make friends!  Enjoy life!


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