When you think of winter beers most people immediately jump to big, dark and boozy stouts, barleywines and porters. All of these styles are great and perfect for cold weather, but there are other styles that can also provide rich roasted malt flavor. I am also a big fan of dark lagers, I drink them all year long but especially in the winter. The dark lager designation covers a range of styles and many provide full malt flavor in combination with a lighter body and lower ABV. Sometimes I want an imperial stout with double-digit ABV, other times I want a similar flavor profile without all the booze, so it is great to have some sessionable dark lager styles available. One dark lager style that I have been enjoying lately is Munich Dunkel, the darker cousin of the popular Helles lager style. One Munich Dunkel I recently sampled is Brother Benno from Foundation Brewing. While Foundation is probably best known for hoppy beers like Epiphany, I have really enjoyed a whole range of styles from the brewery, and was excited to give this dark lager a shot. Foundation Brother Benno is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.
Foundation Brother Benno pours clear light brown with a solid off-white head. The aroma isn’t strong but features some roasted malt. The flavor is malt forward, notes of toffee, bread crust, and cocoa. A touch of earthy hops adds some balance and a hint of bitterness in the finish. Brother Benno is light and easy-drinking, sessionable at 4.7% ABV. The finish is crisp and very clean, just the faintest hint of lingering malt flavor. This is a very tasty dark lager, it strikes just the right balance between full flavor and drinkability. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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