Sorry it took me so long to reply! I was on vacation for a while.
Anyway, as has been suggested once before in this blog, try Blue Moon. It's a good litmus test to determine whether or not you would even enjoy beer at all-- if you can't drink Blue Moon, there's not much you really could enjoy aside from some flavored brews like Lambics, Quadruppels, and some of Samuel Adams' lighter fare. If you discover that you like it, let me know, and I'll give you another suggestion.
Speaking of vacation, I went to Eulogy Belgian Tavern in Philadelphia over the weekend*. I highly recommend visiting if you're ever in the area-- the draft list is enormous on the first floor, and there's an entirely different draft list on the second floor of the establishment. The list of bottles is even longer than the Bier Garden, which is my favorite local beer spot. Hell, they even have a neon Delirium Tremens sign
complete with dancing pink elephants. That's when I knew I was in the right place, as evidenced by Piraat in one hand and Kwak in the other
. I finally tried Kwak (my glass shown here
) for the first time, so thanks to Ramster and Ket for the recommendation! It was damned good.
(*I had originally wanted to go to the Belgian Cafe, but the parking was ungodly. If you're ever in Philly, do yourself a favor and buy the Independence Pass which lets you ride any train, trolley, bus, and subway all day. That's how I ended up at Eulogy-- I emerged from the subway at sunset and saw the words "Belgian Tavern". It was like destiny splashing me in the face with delicious fermented grains.)
The vast majority of modern lagers tend to be pale clear beers; however, a few brews break the rules. These are throwbacks to the days before clear beers became dominant. One such beer is McSorley's Irish Black Lager
. This one is on the opposite end of the spectrum, so much so that it looks like a stout. The traditional name for stouts in Irish is "leann dubh", which means "Black Ale", so it makes sense that the beer they call "Black Lager" has similar characteristics.
McSorley's was originally a pub in New York City by an Irish immigrant of the same name in 1854; since then, everyone from Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt to E.E. Cummings and John Lennon has had a beer there. However, women weren't allowed to enter the pub until 1970, and even then, it was only because they were legally forced to do so (see Seidenberg v. McSorleys' Old Ale House, Inc., 317 F.Supp. 593 (S.D.N.Y. 1970
)). Aside from its obvious misogyny, McSorley's is a great place that has been turning out good beer for a long time (the brewery itself is located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania).McSorley's Irish Black LagerBrewed by:
Lion Brewery, Inc.
Latrobe, Pennsylvania (United States)
Style: Euro Dark Lager
Poured from a 12oz bottle; no freshness date provided.Appearance-
4 out of 5. This beer pours with a decent one and a half finger tan head that quickly dissipates; luckily, abundant bubbles soar up to the surface afterward. The liquid itself is chestnut brown around the edges and opaque black in the middle. It loses points for the lack of head retention, but it otherwise looks great.Smell-
3.5 out of 5. The first whiff brings burnt molasses malt, a little smokiness, and a lot of nuttiness. The undertones of bread and light floral hops make this beer seem like a stout having an identity crisis. If the scents were stronger, it would smell more enticing.Taste-
4 out of 5. It's like a piece of sourdough bread dipped in caramel and slathered with almond butter. I maintain my opinion that this tastes like a light stout- a tad sweeter but still carries smokiness, roasted malt, and nut as in the smell; however, sipping it brings the taste of bread to the forefront. It seems like the hops are trying to bite the back of my tongue but give up halfway through, though they do leave a nice little floral hint that mingles with the leftover nuttiness in the aftertaste.Mouthfeel-
3 out of 5. It's dry, which is good, but the lager-thinness doesn't work well with the actual tastes, which leaves something to be desired. Then again, if you're the kind of drinker who finds stouts to be too heavy, then this may be right up your proverbial alley.Drinkability-
4.5 out of 5. The upside of the thinness is that McSorley's is very easy to drink. It's the versatile kind of beer you could enjoy on your own or take to a (non-college) party.
Overall, it's a B.
As is often the case with darker beers, McSorley's taste better when it warms up a bit, so give it a good ten or fifteen minutes out of the fridge before pouring it if you want to truly appreciate its tastes.