Monday, July 6, 2009

Beer pick of the week: Feuer Wehrmann Schwartzbier

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 9:39 PM

click to enlarge Black as soot: Pennichuck Feuer Wehrmann
  • Black as soot: Pennichuck Feuer Wehrmann

Pennichuck Brewing Company

Milford, NH

5.0% ABV

One of several Pennichuck beers that pays tribute to firefighters (the name means "firefighter"), this one taking the form of a traditional German schwartzbier. Schwartzbier ("black beer") is a dark, malty lager made with roasted malts. Although similar to British porters and stouts, schwartzbier is a bottom-fermented lager, making it cleaner and less bitter than its Anglican cousins. If someone tells you they don't like dark beer, try this one on them.

Feuer Wehrmann pours nearly black, with a hint of light around the edges. The aroma is slightly smoky and sweet with some nice toffee notes. The taste is rich and roasty, with a nutty bite. Burnt caramel, chickory, carob, and herbal hops round out the flavor profile. Bitterness is low to moderate, both from the malt and hops. Smooth, almost creamy, mouthfeel, with a solid presence front to back. The dry, roasty finish holds the malty tastes well, with a bit more bitterness building over the session.

Beer like this makes it easy to see why Germans have such high per capita beer consumption. Great structure and drinkability make it perfect for pairing with rich foods, where it can contribute plenty of complementary flavor without leaving the palate oversaturated.

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