Two dark beer reviews to pique your interest.
Full Boar: Scotch Ale Brewed by Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, Belmont CA. 7.4% ABV. I tasted this beer from a 22 oz bomber on August 9, 2012. This is a wee heavy style beer. It pours dark/black with a creamy tan head. The aroma is coffee. It has a nice rich chocolaty flavor with a slight smokiness (malt smoked with peat moss – ah, those Scotts!). There is a hint of cherry late and in the aftertaste. This is a sweet beer with no hoppiness, but it’s not overly sweet or cloying. It’s nicely done, and I recommend it if you like dark beers. Pair this with heavy BBQ meat (like ribs) or maybe with dessert. It’s not a thirst quencher, but very flavorful and rich. I highly recommend this one.
Midnight Expression: Brewed by Port Brewing Company, San Marcos, CA. 5.0% ABV. This is a black lager, sampled from a 22 oz bomber on August 17, 2012. The first black lager I ever tasted (several years ago) was brewed by Samuel Adams and I instantly fell in love with the style. It pours black as midnight (actually, like Guinness, it’s a very dark ruby red color, but looks black) with a creamy tan head. Right out of the refrigerator it has a very subdued chocolaty, roasty aroma. As it warms up, the chocolate nose becomes much more apparent. The mouth feel is light and lager like. The flavor is clean and crisp, chocolate and coffee. The flavor is reminiscent of Guinness Draught, but cleaner, not as intense, less coffee and more chocolate. There is no hoppiness, but it displays some grain bitterness (roasted barley?). The aftertaste is coffee which lingers on the palate, but is not heavy.
Midnight Expression is a good example of a black lager. Taste this side-by-side with a Guinness Draught to get a good feel for the difference between an ale and a lager. The black lager is not quite as flavorful, but is crisper, and more refreshing than an ale (Guinness). This is very good beer. I’ve had this several times in the past, and obviously like it (or I wouldn’t keep buying it). I can recommend this to any beer drinker, even those who don’t normally drink dark beers or those who don’t typically drink lagers.