I don't often write about Wisconsin beers because most of the beers produced in that state that are sent to Illinois tend to be of the milder variety. This is not to say that Wisconsin makes bad beers. Some people prefer that maltier style; it's just not where my palate has been of late. Yet there's no question that with the state's rich brewing tradition fueled by its various European heritages, Wisconsin is capable of hitting home runs in brewing. One of these is Sprecher Brewing's Black Bavarian lager.
This schwarzbier (German simply for black beer) is coal black but when candled it has ruby tinges. Its head is robust and slightly tan, a beauty. And the aroma kicks out some piney, spicy hops and is quite herbaceous. The flavor knocks this one out of the park. You get roasted malts, herbs, pine, toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, and a decent amount of acidity. Its body is light enough to make this easily sessionable; however, it sits around 6% making it no wimpy stadium lager. What really separates this schwarzbier from others of the style I've had is the lovely, robust bite that nips you upon each sip. I can't figure out whether the hop acids are providing this or if it's the roasted malt acids. Further research will be required - and I don't just mean drinking more of these although that's a method of study I'm apt to pursue. All I know is that this beer makes you take notice and will stand up to a whiskey pairing or any spicy food with which you dare try suppress it. Black Bavarian's not going down without a fight.
Sprecher Brewing Black Bavarian: 4.8 of 5 stars. Exceptional.