Winter Beer Offering

Friday, December 08, 2006

So here we are in Michigan with snow on the ground, frost in the air and ice all around. Winter has hit with a vengeance.

All of the cold reminds me that it's time to start guzzling my favorite winter beer offerings; heavier, darker, sweeter offerings with higher alcohol and more minerals, malts and proteins to satisfy the lingering hunger of winter or to provide that warming glow we need in the wintery North to survive the harsh winter winds and deep snow and ice.

Or we could wear a sweater and turn the heat up, but is that as fun?

Today's winter beer offering is Michigan Brewing Company's Bavarian Dark, which is technically a Munich Dunkel Lager.

MBC's creation pours a rich dark brown with a slighty eggshell-white head; just barely off-white. Not too thick, about an inch, with decent retention. Held up to light, this lovely dark brown beer yields beautiful ruby highlights.

The beer smells exquisite. Big, sweet Munich malts, almost like bread crusts, with a strong showing of chocolate and toffee. Imagine a chocolate cake baking in the oven. There is just a hint of coffee in the background; not a dark roast or a bold roast, but just that hint of a coffee bitterness.

The taste is so warm and inviting, reminiscent of that huge mug of hot chocolate in front of your fireplace. The sweetness of the beer is not at all cloying but is up-front. It's a fantastic highlight of the Munich malt. The chocolate is right up there with it, having acquired a definite chocolate taste without actually adding bakers chocolate. There is also a pleasant roasted-nut taste in the background; chestnuts roasted on an open fire. The hops are there; perceptable but not overwhelming at all. The fine German Noble hop, found prolificly in Sam Adams Boston Lager, is used much more sparingly in this beer, which is meant to highlight the Munich malts.

The moderate carbonation makes this beer really easy drinking, and provides a slight alcohol warmth at the end for that pleasant toasty feel.

Not as smokey as a rauchbier, not as toasted as a Schwarzbier and not a massively heavy-sweet as a bock or doppelbock, this is a well-balanced, sweet, chocolatey beer meant to please and entertain and highlight the fine genetic miracle that is the Munich malt. While the kids drink hot chocolate on a cold winter evening, you get to drink MBC's Bavarian Dark.

2 comments:

Mike 6:58 AM  

Mmmmm. Sounds like a really good one.

Smitty 9:57 AM  

As a Munich Dunkel goes, it was extremely well-done. It had exactly the right amount of malt presence over the hops, which were quite subtle.

I highly recommend this beer.

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