Some of my favorite winter beers tend to be heavy and boozy, like imperial stouts and quads. The high ABVs of these beers limit the volume I consume, usually any of those beers are one-and-done on the night. For this reason it’s nice to have a few sessionable options around for balance, and nobody does session beer as well as Notch Brewing Company. Notch has recently added a couple new beers to their lineup including Zwickel Beer, an unfiltered German lager. Zwickel beer is a style that I wasn’t very familiar with with until recently, and now it feels like a bunch of local breweries are making versions of this pale and hazy lager. One of Notch’s specialties are traditional European lagers, I’ve tried a number of styles at the brewery that I had never head of before. They originally introduced Zwickel Beer on draft at the brewery but it is now distributed in 16 oz cans. Yes, you read that correctly, a few of the new Notch releases are in tallboys now, the perfect packaging for session beers.
Notch Zwickel Beer pours slightly hazy light yellow with a small white head. The aroma is mostly floral and herbal old world hops. This is a crisp, clean, flavorful and super-drinkable lager beer, something that Notch excels at. The hops add notes of grass, spruce and lemon along with a mild bitter bite. The light malts add hints of bread crust and crackers. Zwickel Beer is light bodied, balanced and very much a session beer at 4.5% ABV. This is another winning release from Notch, tons of flavor but still light and refreshing, just what you want in a quality pale lager. I will drink a ton of these this summer, and a few to balance out the boozy stouts I enjoy this winter. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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