22 December 2007

Orlio Organic Black Lager (VT)

I'd never seen this before in my area, and at the time I bought it, was unaware that it was made by a subsidiary of Magic Hat. Orlio brews three organics: a year-round common ale, an IPA for summer, and this black lager for winter. The brewer describes this as:

A rich medium-bodied black lager whose sweet deep malt flavor is balanced by a moderate hop bite and roasted malt tartness that create notes of bitter chocolate and a slight lingering sweetness.

It pours very dark. Only when holding it up to light can I see my fingers on the other side, along with shades of red. The initial waft of aroma reminds me of pork rinds -- not what you'd like to advertise for an organic beer -- but really that's just roastiness and maybe smokiness. The body is fairly rich with restrained carbonation. The taste is what you'd expect from a nice schwarzbier. Roasted malts, more coffee than chocolate to me. It leans more toward sweet than dry or bitter, and the above description of "lingering sweetness" is accurate.

I don't like this quite as much as Sam Adams' take on the style, but I'd still recommend this for those who like the style or for those seeking all things organic. The truth is, that organic beer is closer to, say, organic apples than organic hot dogs. There's no particular reason its quality should suffer.

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