Sprecher was one of the first really good breweries I was exposed to when I was just a pup. A friend was from Wisconsin and he’d occasionally bring some beers, and root beer, back to try. When I lived up in Michigan, too, it wasn’t uncommon for restaurants to carry Sprecher root beer on tap! Yummy stuff, but the subject of today’s review is clearly NOT root beer!

Sprecher’s Black Bavarian is a black lager in the “Kulmbacher” style, which I couldn’t find much about, but the beer is a German-style “schwarzbier” or black beer. Sprecher specializes in German style beers.

According to the website, Black Bavarian weighs in at 5.86% ABV, 32 IBU’s and is made from five different malts and four different hops. I bought mine in Wisconsin at Riley’s World of Wines in Madison in a 16 oz. bottle.

The beer poured black, like a porter or stout. I was drinking out of a little plastic hotel cup, so I couldn’t see much in the way of highlights or anything! Nothing says “classy” like plastic hotel cups! The head was fluffy and tan.

Aroma was roasty and smoky, even though this is not a smoked beer. My nose, as you know, is not so great, but the main thing I was getting off this beer was smoke, and lots of it.

The flavor was the same, with lots of smoke and roast, a little coffee, but to me this tasted like a smoked beer and I thought it was great! It had a really nice body and seemed to have relatively low carbonation, so it went down nice and smooth with each sip. I really liked that this was a black beer, which I tend to like anyway, that breaks out of the stout/porter mold. I generally dislike the heavy smoked flavor of a lot of smoked beers, so the natural smokiness this had from the dark roasted malts was perfect for me. With a creamy, smooth texture, this beer was way too easy to drink!

All I could think of is how well this would pair with some good ol’ Kansas City barbecue, and I think it would be an incredible pairing with anything hickory smoked, as well as some smoked cheeses, although it might need more carbonation for the cheese.

Regardless, this was a really good beer and I wished I had bought more than just one of Sprecher’s offerings while I was up there!