Stevens Point Brewery
2012 Black Ale
What could be more appropriate than starting the new year with a beer named 2012 Black Ale? It's a dark and malty brew is made by Stevens Point Brewery.
What is it? 2012 Black Ale from Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Style: Gabe Hopkins, brewmaster at Stevens Point, says this beer doesn't fit neatly into a designated style. Although it's brewed with an ale yeast, he considers it similar to the black lager called Schwarzbier, a light-bodied, low-alcohol beer that originated in southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany during the 16th century. The brewery's goal is make a dark black beer that is light to moderate in malty flavor, and clean and balanced overall.
Background: About three years ago, says Stevens Point Brewery marketing director Julie Birrenkott, the brewery started developing a recipe for a black beer. Its darkness and time of release seemed to coincide with the mysterious dark concepts associated with the Mayan "Long Count" calendar, which designates December 21, 2012 as the end of a world, hence the beer's name. Birrenkott says she's not sure what might happen with the beer in 2013. "There are no plans to change its name, but we might add a line to the label that we're still here and still drinking," she laughs.
Stevens Point 2012 Black Ale is made with a blend of pale and Munich malts, along with other roasted malts for color. Cluster, Saaz and Cascade hops offer a bitter counterpoint to the roasted and semi-sweetness of chocolate malt. The beer takes 21 days from brewing to release, and its alcohol content is approximately 5.5% ABV. Stevens Point 2012 Black Ale sells for $6.50/six-pack (bottles) and $10/twelve-pack (cans).
- Aroma: Light malty with just a hint of roastedness.
- Appearance: Dark black with a medium soft, brown head.
- Texture: Medium bodied, with a round mouthfeel.
- Taste: Firm maltiness with some light roasted qualities. There is a bitterness, but the maltiness wins out.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Lingering chocolate maltiness, but finishing clean and balanced.
Glassware: The heavy beveled glass mug or stein insulates the beer, keeping it a constant cool temperature while really showing off this beer's rich black color.
Pairs well with: Flavors of chocolate malt and cascade hops make 2012 Black Ale a nice companion to dishes with tomato-based sauces and sweet Italian sausage. At lunchtime, it's a good match for a Reuben sandwich.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers (out of four)
The Verdict: Stevens Point 2012 Black Ale has a smooth chocolate, malty character. Its dark roasted tones provide a semi-sweet backbone that isn't overly roasted or burnt. There's also just enough hoppiness to leave you with an overall balanced clean finish. The ale yeast also adds just a slight fruity tone that remains in the background. For the cost-conscious, this is an inexpensive beer with nice flavor. However, when facing the apocalypse, I'm not sure the price of the beer in my hand will really matter.