A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Alan -

That closely sums up what I have expereinced the couple times I have had one of these. Saranac in Utica makes a black lager and there is a Mexican one I can think of, Negra Modelo. It is one of those styles I suspect would be greatly enhanced by knowing what is eaten with it. Isn't the hop fairly recessed in favour of the roast black malt? That is a trick in Scots ales.

Lars Marius Garshol -

"... is it a lager, or is it a stout?"

Strange question. It's a schwarzbier, of course. This is as if a German were to drink Guinness and write something like "A black ale? Hmmmm. Is it an ale, or is it a schwarzbier?"

Well-written piece, but it does seem to betray a certain anglocentricity... :)

Alan -

Take that Blork! A Norwegian striking to the heart of the Montreal question exposed through schwarzbier. Faskinatin'.

blork -

Indeed, I will confess to anglocentricity, although it wasn't intentional. Mea culpa. It's just that I was unaware of schwarzbier before this. I hope it is apparent that my "review" is strictly from my point of view, as I would never presume to be such an expert that I could make any sort of universal proclamations. As such, I was faced with a conundrum -- it called itself a lager but it looks like a stout. And in the mouth it is neither! So I wrote about it.

What...? People read this stuff? ;-)

Alan -

All of Norway reads this stuff.

Matthew -

Köstritzer is a great beer. But next time, try it from a bottle. Or better yet, on tap. It is available here and there around the US.

If you can ever find Herold Dark from the Czech Republic, in my opinion, it is an even better schwarzbier. And then there is U Fleku, of course, but you have to go to Prague for that (well worth the trip!).

And Xingu from Brazil is a good representative of the style.

Welcome to the wonderful world of schwarzbier (stout, the lager version)!

Hops in my backyard. Don't know what to do with them! -

How would this compare to a Black & Tan?

Alan -

Smoother, lower hops. But I suppose whose black and tan you mean. Yuegling's uses its porter and lager but you also would have a roastier version when mixing Guinness and an alem say.

Matthew -

By the way, Alan, I do not think Negra Modelo should be called a schwarzbier. It is on the sweeter side, and is more of a Vienna style. Also not as black, though obviously drawing the line based on color is bound to be somewhat dubious, even for a style that has "black" in its (German) name.

Alan -

Maybe it was another - it was the summer of 2001.

John S. -

I tried Köstritzer lately, it really was a new taste and I liked it. Now Im looking for other shwartzbiers that coul be sold around my place, Im living in Quebec, Canada, any suggestions?

Pootz -

Kostritzer is a standard favorite with me it's a bit pedestrian but it is a commercial version of traditional "blackbier" much like Lowenbrau is a commercial Munich edelhell. There are many better Schwarzbiers and this one mimics the dry roasty ones of east Thuringia....the black (or schwarz) biers of west and southern Thuringia are actually a slightly dryer cousin of the Munich dunkel....but in Canada only Paddock Wood in Sask. and Brick of Waterloo make this less astringent style.

I am a lager lover and I realize that lager is a great deep mystery to a generation of micro drinkers weaned on UK/Belgian ale styles. In their strongetst most traditional sense they are not comparable in any way to a lager.

Ale is a sharp acidic fruity/floral drink fermented quickly at warm temperatures and traditionally seved after 15 days. If it is aged it is because it is made strong, bottled and cellared for the flavors to develop ( like IPA, Barley wine, Imp stout and most belgians)... this was a primative form of conditioning which Lagers developed into a process of cold conditioning in barrels and wood tanks for long periods (usually a season as everyday lagers never go over 6.7% and have low alpha content from noble hops)

Lager is a malt pronounced drink boasting sometimes 5 or 6 malts that is slowly fermented in cold temperatures and cold conditioned for periods of up to 90 days...this gives it a smooth character and silky mouth with its complexities coming in the maturation of the malt mixture...hops undergoing this process become less bitter and more woody-herbal-botanical. When lager has matured it is meant to be consumed fresh and quickly.

In this veign and IMHO lager is the epitome of the brewers art and must be appreciated for what it is...the people's drink..one that is bready, filling, smooth and meant to be drank fresh when the kegs are tapped from the cold storage. We have many vaieties we have Viennas, Dortmunders, Munich helles and dunkels, Bocks both dunkler and helles, steinbier, Schwarzbier, Pilsners, golden Salzberg, Bamberg rauchbier, festbiers like Maibock and amber Oktoberfest, Roggenbier, kellerbier and zwickelbier, and American steam beer..we have the strong lagers in Bock, dopplebock and Baltic porter. Each with it's unique character and deep flavor profile.

This is why I have trouble with nescient statements like this:
" Lagers are, by their nature, light in flavor,"

I suggest you try more traditional lager styles and revisit this sentiment.

then there's this:

"is it a lager, or is it a stout? It isn't really either, so where does that leave you??"

Not to belabor the obvious or put too fine a point on it, this is an apples and oranges equiviency..."stout" is not Schwarzbier and Schwarzbier is not stout...Schwarzbier is a dark lager indideonous to Thuringia Grmany and Stout is an dry porter ale indigeonous to Ireland...the only thing they may have in common is color.

Alan -

That all may be true, Pootz, but your troubles with Blork's post have to also take into account the real problem - the absolute absence of good quality examples of most of the beer styles you were good enough to list. My January post of some hard-scrounged and, in part, long-stashed Germans left me dumbfounded over the Bamberger Ungespundet-hefetrüb from Mahr's, interested in others but a little bored with the rest. Until there is proper representation of these styles, I think it is fair to say that craft ales are far more interesting as far as North American access goes.

Lucky -

I worked in Germany for a few months in 1996. It was in the hotel bar where I first encountered Kostritzer. It is very different from what I was used to being a country boy from Southern Maryland but I have to admit served fresh fron the tap, it took 7 minutes to draw a 1 litre mug, it was simply the best beer I have ever tasted. I have found a couple of stores that can order it and buy a case or two a year. The owner of the hotel said that the taste was in the way it was poured you have to let it come to a head and settle, don't tilt the glass. Happy drinking.

daniel tunnard -

They've had black lager in Argentina for as long as I can remember, and it's always tasted like fizzy lager with black food colouring. Quilmes used to call it "bock". Now with micro breweries becoming vaguely popular, Quilmes have started calling their black lager "stout". It tastes like fizzy lager with black food colouring.

Lady Daisey -

I was never a big beer drinker until I moved to Germany... and discovered Köstritzer. I love it! I've only had it bottled or from the tap. My only comment, in addition to all the lovely stuff that's already been said about it is... my husband and I enjoy drinking beer on our midnight strolls around Berlin, but Köstritzer is a hard beer to walk around with because it IS rather foamy and froths from the top of the bottle. Other than that... every sip is like chocolatey espresso straight from the heaven's kegs.

John -

I'm really new to beers, and I found this to be too bitter. I did however like the feeling it brougt to my palate.

I am a bit of a sweet tooth though. Perhaps I should just stick to Cola, lol. Maybe I should try some chocolate and oat stouts..


I had the honor of serving your fine beer at the Catalina Micro Brew Fest this last weekend. It was quite a popular and was my introduction to your fine beer. I told the tasters that this was a beer that looked more intimidating than it tastes and they agreed and many enjoyed it.

elysianer -

only seen this in bottles and it is a treat. its black in the way that becks or st pauli is but i think the taste is far superior.

Jeffrey Engel -

Stouts aren't the only beers that "look like stouts". Actually, does it *really* look like a stout? A stout to me looks like coffee... it's thick and dark brown and because it's done with nitrogen, you don't see any carbonation. A dark lager, schwarzbier and bock are almost always carbonated and look like coca-cola usually. I'm speaking in generalities myself, however I've never seen a stout that looked like, say, a Bock or Schwarz. And I've never seen visa versa.

Kris -

Defiantly have to have it out of the tap and with a dish of yagastitzal and potato dumplings and red cabbage. Yum yum! There is a great German restaurant in new palz ny called the brower house. Go for a hike or rock clime and then drink some good beer and food.

tony -

they served this at the german house during the vancouver olympics - ran out of the damn stuff and had to order an emergency shipment from germany! it was so smooth, reminded me of drinking guiness in ireland, but it had a distinctively different aroma.

If you are in Montreal apparently the depaneur corner Rachel and Iberville has it in bottles.

Leo Anselm Lindquist -

wHERE could I get a brand Konig...of black German beer. Once had some in FL.