Eau Claire's Lazy Monk Brewing
is the brainchild of Leos Frank, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s. His distaste for American beer led him into homebrewing and from there he took the leap into commercial brewing a few years ago. His brews are traditional styles from his homeland and nearby Bavaria which makes for a beer list which is, to my taste, pleasantly devoid of any iteration of pale ale. Indeed, there are no ales at all to be found.
A recent trek to Eau Claire led me to the wonderful Just Local Food Co-op
which had Lazy Monk growlers as well as recently-introduced cans. I bought one of the former filled with Frank's Bohemian Dark Lager. My knowledge of Czech beer styles is very, very limited but I gather this brew would be considered a Černé Pivo. How does this style differ from the Munich dunkles or a schwarzbier? Not sure about that...
Bohemian Dark Lager pours a luscious deep amber and is very clear once you put your glass up to the light. I got a pretty decent head that stuck around for a while but there wasn't much Schaumhaftvermoegen
to speak of as it immediately fell back into the beer. Much to my shame, I had a bit of a stuffy nose when I drank this and so all I could catch were the wonderful roasted grains and a bit of stone fruit.
The beer had a medium-light mouthfeel and I tasted primarily those darker malts which reminded me of well-done toast. There was also a bit of plum-like flavor as well just like in the nose. The real difference between this brew and the dunkels and schwarzbiers I've had is that this was much less sweet than a Bavarian dunkles and much more dry than either of the German styles. Indeed, this is one of the driest beers I've ever had. I think it was due to, not only having the yeast deal with most of the sugars but also because of the carbonation and hops. Of the latter, I didn't taste a whole lot as I was expecting. There was a bit of that spiciness but it didn't pop out at me like Saaz does in a Bohemian pilsner.
The finish continued the dry theme along with some mild grassiness.
Bohemian Dark Lager was a thoroughly enjoyable brew and unlike any dark lager that I've ever had. I can't say much in terms of how it adheres to the style as found in the Czech Republic today but it definitely fits in with the descriptions of the style that Evan Rail
and Ron Pattinson
Junk food pairing: Bohemian Dark lager pairs well with meat flavored snacks like Ruffles Flame Grilled Steak potato chips or Snyder's Cheeseburger Pretzel Pieces.
Labels: Beer, Czech Dark Lager, Lazy Monk Brewing, Tmavé Pivo