Jack’s Abby in Framingham, MA has gained a foothold in the local craft beer market by brewing a variety of creative takes on traditional (and not-so traditional) lager styles. One of their newest releases is a collaboration beer with Evil Twin Brewing. Evil Twin has been called a gypsy brewery, it was founded in Denmark, but now much of their beer is contract brewed in the US. Instead of setting up a brick and mortar headquarters, Evil Twin has an ever changing arsenal of recipes that get brewed and distributed to a wide range of locales. Evil Twin brews tend to be innovative and push the limitations set by style. It shouldn’t be surprising that a collaboration between these two breweries would be a schwarzbier, a German style dark lager. Schwarzbiers fill the lager-only rule that Jack’s Abby sticks to, while providing lots of possibility for the innovation that drives both breweries. Jack’s Abby and Evil Twin named their collaboration Jack’s Evil Brew, and it features locally sourced dark malts from Valley Malt.
Jack’s Abby/Evil Twin Jack’s Evil Brew pours a dark brown with a mild white head. The smell is pretty mild, but you get some hints of coffee and chocolate from the dark malts. These dark malts dominate the full flavor; mocha, dark chocolate, roasted barley and brown sugar with mild touches of smokiness and nuttiness. There is a mild hop bitterness that adds some balance, but the beer is very malt forward. While the flavor profile is similar to a stout the difference is in the finish. The lager yeast and cold fermentation temperature results in a very clean finish, with just a hint of black coffee in the aftertaste. The beer is medium bodied and very easy to drink for a darker style. At 5.2% ABV Jack’s Evil Brew isn’t overly strong. If you love the flavor profile of stouts, but get burned out by the high ABV stouts that many craft brewers put out, this is a great beer for you. No surprise that two talented teams join forces and make a well crafted and delicious take on a schwarzbier. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.