We turn the clocks back to standard time this weekend, thus beginning my least favorite four months of the year.
After the time change, I’ll get to spend my workweek slaving away at a desk during the daylight hours, only to be greeted with dark evenings once quitting time comes. But I’ll make the best of these longer nights with some choice dark beers.
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that they don’t like dark beers, I’d be a rich man. Of course, most of the time these words are uttered by someone who just doesn’t want to branch out from the comfort of fizzy light lagers. But even the novice beer drinker can find a dark beer to enjoy.
Here are six dark beers of all sorts you can try. I guarantee you’ll find one of these to be something you’ll come back to.
Great Raft Reasonably Corrupt
Reasonably Corrupt from Shreveport’s Great Raft Brewing is one of the brewery's three flagship beers. This black lager is known as a Schwarzbier and features a dark and roasty malt sweetness. But don’t let the color fool you. At 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), this is an easy drinking beer that’s slightly sweeter and fuller bodied than lagers you know and love. Try pairing this beer with a burger, and you may have found your perfect winter dinner.
NOLA Brown Ale
NOLA Brewing launched eight years ago with Brown Ale as one of its two flagship beers. Designed as an English-style mild ale, this beer is full of flavor, yet light in body. Weighing in at a mere 3.9 percent ABV, NOLA Brown can be enjoyed year-round, whether in the heat of the summer or by the fire during the short winter we have here. Caramel and chocolate notes make this a treat for even the fiercest of dark beer haters.
Bayou Teche Biere Noire
Arnaudville’s Bayou Teche Brewing pays homage to its Cajun roots with Biere Noire. Hearkening back to the days on the farm drinking pre-dawn coffee, the brewery wanted to convey a cheerful welcome in a glass with this black ale. Brewed with dark-roasted German malts and fermented with the brewery's saison yeast, Biere Noire is complex, with notes of French-roasted coffee as well as chocolate. This beer pairs well with nearly any sort of south Louisiana dish, particularly steaks, sharp cheeses, and sausages.
Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock
Located in the Bavaria region of Germany, Ayinger brews one of the most celebrated (see what I did there?) dopplebocks in the world. Celebrator pours almost black, with some ruby red hues. The aroma features dark fruits such as raisins, plums and dates, which follow on the palate. There are also chocolate, molasses and toffee flavors in this incredibly complex dark lager. There’s very little bitterness, yet this medium-bodied beer coats the mouth and is a delightful treat.
Founders Breakfast Stout
Michigan’s Founders Brewing has long brewed the ultimate coffee beer, simply known as Breakfast Stout. This 8.3-percent ABV stout is jam-packed with flavor and will please the coffee lover. Brewed with two types of coffee, dark chocolate and flaked oats, Breakfast Stout is one of Founders' most popular and highly rated beers, and with good reason. The aroma is of fresh roasted coffee, which carries over into the flavor, where the chocolate also becomes apparent. The flaked oats smooth it out, tying the entire package together. You can enjoy this beer any time of day, be it morning, noon or night.
Now we turn to one of the most complex beers available from Prairie Artisan Ales, simply known as Bomb! This imperial stout is aged on coffee, chocolate, vanilla beans and ancho chili peppers, leading to an explosion of aroma and flavor. This is certainly a dessert beer, with the subtle heat from the peppers complementing the intense coffee and chocolate notes. Bomb! is bursting with flavor, but should be enjoyed slowly, as the 13-percent ABV can blast you if you’re not careful.