Friday, January 27, 2012


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Germany produces the best lagers in the entire world. Czech and Austria are close seconds in my book. Today's beer is one of my all time favorite lagers. 

Mönshof Schwarz 

This is a quintessential example of the schwarzbier style. In German, this means, "Black Beer". As you can probably tell, that is because the beer is extremely dark in color. This might scare some people away, but it really shouldn't, it has a light body and a great, malty flavor. Like most German beers, Schwarz has a subtle hop flavor (especially if you are comparing to American beers). It goes down smooth, so it is easy to drink a lot, but you shouldn't it too quickly. Savor it. 

Take a look at the bottom of the left glass. See the sediment at the bottom? That is the yeast from the bottom of the bottle. This is a much more mainland European thing to do. The yeast is included in the bottle and as it sits waiting to be consumed, it settles out. Generally, this means that the last half inch or so of the beer will be heavy with yeast. Here is the point to choose. Yes, pouring that beer into your glass will give you more beer to drink, but it changes the flavor drastically. 

Experiment: Next time you have a beer with yeast, try some before adding the yeast, then again after. Notice the difference. You can tell if your beer has yeast by holding the bottom of the beer up to light. If you see a coating, then there is yeast in your beer. 

I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but yes, yeast is perfectly fine to drink and will not harm you in any way. In fact, some beer is normally served with the yeast included (hefeweizen, witte). You can also tell if there is yeast in your beer if it is cloudy. If a beer is too cold (or depending on the properties of the yeast), the yeast will agglomerate (clump together) on the bottom. The beer will pour clear, but as you can see, there will be large clumps of yeast at the bottom (This happens a lot with home-brewed beer). When this happens, you basically lose the last sip of beer (unless you really like the feel of soggy, clumped yeast). No big deal though, the beer still tastes great.   

The nice part about schwarzbiers is that they are good in any season. They are light enough to drink in the summer if you want a bit more flavor, but can sustain you on a cold winter afternoon as well. I could drink this beer all day long. 

Note: See the two different glasses used? See how they are different shapes? That's ok. They are both meant to hold German lagers. There are probably 3-4 other glass shapes that are also acceptable for German lagers. They are acceptable in probably the most different glass shapes. 

Glassware: Pilsner glass, flute, mug, or stein.

Synonym Beer: Session Black Lager (Definitely try this beer if you see it. It is great.)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

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