The next Wisconsin brew I put in my fridge was Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark, a formerly independent brewery now owned by MillerCoors. The question of “What is a craft brewery?” is raised when smaller breweries (be it Leinenkugel’s, Creemore or Unibroue) get bought out by the big guys. Is it the craftsmanship that goes into the beer (and resulting quality of beer), size of output, ownership or some combination of factors? If quality makes the determination, Leinenkugel’s gets a failing grade.
The Creamy Dark is my first American dark lager and, based on this experience, isn’t a style I’m willing to try again. The beer poured an extremely clear mahogany colour with a nose of toasted grains and an off-putting herbal quality. As for flavours… well, the beer had almost no taste. A little roasted malts with a faint bitterness, but little else. I was expecting a nice body (isn’t creamy in the name?), but even that was a little watery. So a big thumbs down for Leinenkugel’s.
Friday night I caught The Trotsky (highly recommended) and then cracked upon a friend’s homebrewed barley wine. His homebrews are always bottle conditioned and I think this one got too much yeast – it was a gusher as soon as I opened it, making it hard to pour without getting a glass full of sediment. For a barley wine, it was really hoppy, especially citrus and pine. There was also some strong heat from the alcohol. Between that and the sediment, I had to pour a lot down the drain. Sadness.
Today: 450mL. Year-to-date: 99.3L.