5 Best Schwarzbiers of 2021
What beer do you think Batman drinks when he's hanging out in his bat cave after stomping on a bunch of baddies? We imagine if Batman did enjoy a craft beer or two, it would probably be as black as his bat suit. Something like a schwarzbier!
Sometimes called black lagers, schwarzbiers are similar to German-style dunkels, but drier, darker, and roastier. Literally translating to black beer in German, these lagers may actually be one of the oldest beer styles in the world. In 1935, archaeologists working in a 3,000-year-old Celtic tomb near Kulmbach in Northern Bavaria, Germany, uncovered an ancient jar (called an amphora) that contained remnants of some kind of black beer. 😱 These excavators (and modern day Indian Joneses) discovered the oldest evidence of brewing in Europe.
Now, we don't know exactly what type of beer that amphora contained, but we do know that monks in this area would eventually become famous for their Kulmbacher Kloster Mönchshof Schwarzbier, which literally translates to black beer from the monks' courtyard cloister.
Today, these beers are known for their distinctive copper to chocolate to charcoal color from Munich malts. But despite pouring an inky black, these beers have a surprisingly light body. Much like Batman's triple-weave kevlar suit. It's just so breathable.
And unlike other dark beers such as porters and stouts, schwarzbiers actually feature a good amount of noble hopping to provide a longer bitterness. A dry finish caps off this style known for its rich coffee, chocolate, and cocoa notes.
In modern-day brewing, this style isn't uber popular by any means. But like a dark knight, we find this obsidian style to be kind of an unsung hero.
American craft brewers from Divine Barrel Brewing Co. in North Carolina to Corporate Ladder in Florida to Folksbier Brauerei in Brooklyn and everywhere in between are trying their hand at this style. Plus, our friends across the pond are still executing historically perfect versions. From an American schwarzbier brewed with Germanic pale and dark malts and hopped with Tettenang to a traditional one from a micro brewery in Germany, here are Untappd's Top-Rated Schwarzbiers of 2021.
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