Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Black Lager, Garrison Brewery Halifax, NS

Garrison's brewmaster Greg Nash has done it again. After brewing this years Canadian Beer of the Year with his Imperial Pale Ale, he has released another beer getting loads of attention on other blogs and beer websites.

I got a nice surprise one day after work as a box from Halifax sat on my doorstep. I had no idea what it contained, so imagine my delight upon opening the box to see some beautifully packaged bottles of Garrison's Black Lager. I had heard some positive things about the beer from friends back East and from other beer bloggers and writers. There is something so awesome about getting beer sent to you to sample that words just can't explain.

Take a close look at the picture above, what a beautiful 500ml bottle. Completely black (as the names implies) with an attractive waxed cap and nice gold labelling. The cannon on the front is a great symbol and perfect for the port city of Halifax. I can't remember the last time I held a beer bottle for so long without popping the top. Nash himself describes the beer as a German Imperial Rauch Schwarzbier, but it's also similar to that of a Baltic porter. Nash thinks outside the box as he uses his American training to produce some new and vibrate styles. Our neighbours to the south continue to produce some of the most interesting beers in the world, thus creating their own styles and Nash has brought some of that flair to Canada.

As for the taste: terrific. At 8.3% abv it goes down almost to easy. It wouldn't be hard to sit and watch a hockey game and drink a few of these quickly. It pours very dark black with a long lasting tan coloured head. When the head dissipates it leaves a lacing around the rim of the pilsner glass. It is dark, so dark that no light can penetrate it. I stick my nose into the glass and get a big whiff of smoke, burnt malt and hints of alcohol. The 15% Weyermann Rauch malt added to the brew provides the smokiness. Little carbonation leads to a medium body and with a good malt to hop ratio. In the aftertaste I get small traces of chocolate and a tiny hint of black licorice. A truly fantastic beverage.

"Like I said though call it what you want. The brew is somewhat open to debate and personal interpretation, which hopefully will make it a little more fun, a thought provoking conversation piece if you will. It'll age well and be considerably better in a few months than it is now even though it's a damn fine product already," stated Nash over at Beer Advocate.

The Black Lager retails in Nova Scotia for $5.95 but get it fast as it will run out. Nash only brewed so much for the 2007 season and the remaining 100 bottles will be cellared at the brewery. Unfortunately for us in Ontario the only way to get one is via trade with a friendly Haligonian, but it's worth it.

Now, do I cellar the rest or drink em fast?


Frank said...

I think this may be worth a trip to Halifax! Garrison Black Lager, a few bottles of Propeller Porter and I wonder if Premier Wines has any Rogue Chocolate Stout in stock? I'd better bring two empty suitcases for the return.

Troy Burtch said...

And another suitcase for me!!!

Anonymous said...

As of a couple of days ago, Premier Wines had a full stock and then some of Rogue Chocolate Stout.

Nice article on the Black Lager Troy, I have to pick up some more myself. Propeller RIS is back and even better than last years batches.


Troy Burtch said...

Canadmetal: I lived in Halifax last year and loved the RIS. I even got a couple of buddies to try it and they enjoyed it as well. I am going to have to get my hands on some.

Glad you enjoyed the Black Lager piece. It's a great beer. On a side note - I spoke with Nash and he has something new in the works as we speak.


Anonymous said...

That's great about the new beer in the works..maybe it was the wrong time to leave Halifax eh? haha :P.

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