Lakefront makes about 300 barrels of Snake Chaser just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
One of the most sacred holidays for the beer enthusiast is St. Patrick's Day. For most, the beer for this day is the embodiment of the perfect pour, that black velvet elixir of the season that shapes our very impression of the dark beer made famous by Ireland's Arthur Guinness. "It has a strangle hold on what we expect for a stout," says Lakefront Brewery president Russ Klisch. "It is tough for a Wisconsin brewery to put a stout on because of the power behind the Guinness brand," he adds.
That may be the reason why local beer drinkers find so few locally made stouts on tap despite "'tis the season" for the luck of the Irish and St. Paddy's day. A trip to a local beer cooler will confirm there are few choices if your intent is on a locally brewed Irish-style stout. Among those that won't disappoint is Lakefront's Snake Chaser.
What is it? Snake Chaser from Lakefront Brewery of Milwaukee.
Style: Snake Chaser is an Irish Stout, also known as the dry stout The style is very much the archetype of dark beers, if not the national drink of Ireland. The Irish stout offers a vivid, even silky black color with a creamy brown head. The dry stout gains much of its bitter character from roasted barley. Overall, expect this style of stout to have an emphasis on the chocolate and caramel flavor of malts, with a distinct dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. These stouts look thick, but are actually medium to light-medium bodied, and they commonly range in alcohol from 3.8% - 5% ABV.
Background: Snake Chaser has been around for about five years as a seasonal brew for Lakefront. The beer is made with three different types of malts, but its flavor is attributed to a European type known as Paul's Black Malt. Klisch says this black malt is added to the Lauder Tun, rather than in the mash stage of brewing to soften the harshness of the roasted qualities, and give it more balance and smoother flavor qualities. Lakefront makes about 300 barrels of Snake Chaser just in time for St. Patrick's Day. It sells for about $8.50/six-pack.
- Aroma: Firm, roasted malt.
- Appearance: Dark with bronze tints, and a thick soft brown head.
- Texture: Medium to full bodied, round and soft.
- Taste: The malt stands out. Begins with a firm chocolate malty flavor, but the roasted flavors provide a very solid backbone to this beer.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Smooth roastedness provides some bitterness. But emphasis is on roasted flavors, not burnt.
Glassware: The dark black color, thick head and body will stand up well in a wide mouth mug. But to appreciate the color and head, make it a clear tankard.
Pairs well with: Snake Chaser's roasted maltiness makes is a wonderful beer for some medium sharp cheddar cheese. For an entrée, try rotisserie chicken with a touch of garlic.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers.
The Consensus: B (good) from Beer Advocate and a 52 from