Posted on October 20th, 2009
We’ve already taken a look at a few of the most well known beers of the fall season, such as pumpkin ales and the Oktoberfest style. They’re plenty of lesser known styles of beer that go great with the autumn also. Today we’re going to take a look at few of them.
Schwartzbier – German for “black beer,” this style of dark lager is surprisingly light given its name. Dark grains are used for color, but not enough to impart any of the roasted qualities of a porter or stout. Instead this style gets its bitterness from German hops. Overall it makes for light but full-bodied taste that’s a bit creamy. Sam Adams’ Black Lager is probably the most well known version in America, but Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Saranac Black Forest are also worth checking out.
Biere de Garde – This obscure style is one of the few types of beer native to France. The name loosely translates to “beer for keeping” which is indicative of the style’s high alcohol strength, which was designed to help the beer age well over the hot summer months when it’s too hot for brewing. Unlike other high alcohol brews, biere de garde is usually well balanced in flavor and moderate in body, with light buttery elements to it. All of this makes Biere De Garde a great beer for big starchy meals like Thanksgiving. Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre’s probably the most notable produces of this style with their 3 Monts beer, but be sure to try Avant Garde from the Lost Abbey, Biere de Mars from Brewewy Ommegang (not to be confused with New Belgium’s Biere de Mars) and Oro De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Brewing.
Dobblebock – These heavy lagers were first brewed by fasting German monks to give them sustenance while abstaining from food. They are nutty and sweet in flavor with a medium body. Sam Adams Winter Lager is a great example of the style by an American craft brewer. Ayinger Celebrator, Paulaner Salvator and Spaten Optimator are three more traditional German versions worth a try.
Dunkelweizen – A dark (‘dunkel’ meaning ‘dark’ in German) version of the well known Hefeweizen style of German wheat beer, this style combines the banana and clove qualities of a hefe with dark grains to make a refreshing yet full bodied beer that some compare to banana bread. For a good example of this style try Weihenstephaner’s dunkelweizen. Franziskaner and Erdinger also make excellent traditional versions of the style.
Weizenbock – An even darker version of Dunkelweizen, which combines the dark roasted qualities of a porter or stout and matches them with the effervescent and fruity qualities of a hefeweizen. Try Aventinus from Schneider to taste a classic version of the style. Moonglow from Victory is a great American take on the style.