Monday, May 7, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Schwarzbier | Live Oak Brewing | Austin, TX

Paint it black.
Warning: I've been listening to Beach House all morning, and I'm pretty much in the same mood that British people get into when they talk about their house cats -- which is to say, equal parts amorous, entranced,  and anthropomorphistic. Such moments lead to reviews that get a bit daft whilst I'm listening to inspiring soon-to-be-summer tunes, and I tend to focus less on the brew itself than I do the feeling of drinking the brew.

But that's okay in this instance because Live Oak's Schwarzbier is as much about the fantastic elements of a black lager as it is the environs in which one can sit and imbibe.

It appears that Live Oak is as forward with the notion of enjoying dark-hued beers in the bright of summertime as much as I am (and I see other brewers trending towards the same belief).  Its very -- quite very, the more I think about it -- analogous to the idea that morose, shoegazing indiecore like Beach House could invoke the June solstice much like a dark beer that is heavily malt roasted and conditioned in chocolaty coffee greatness. 

In fact, Live Oak Schwarz is a wonderful, smokey respite from the floral, citrusy, piney luminance of PAs, IPAs, and IIPAs that tend to emulsify during the summer's monotonous butchery of the earth's weather patterns.  The smooooth amber resin of Live Oak shwarz has been a fine way to erode the unfiltered yeasts and isoamyl acetate esters of traditional summer brews.

Like so many of Central Texas' seasoned and budding brew houses, Live Oak invokes a great deal of inspiration for its line-up from the area's historic German, Czech, and Mexican heritage -- an amalgamation of cultures that makes for an impressive beer lineage.  Therefore, there are several local brewers who dunk their schnitzel into the mustard of dark lagers -- and we are all better for it. 

Friends of the blog, Austin Beerworks and Hops & Grain both do a german-style dark lager, and veterans of the US craft scene Spoetzl (Shiner) have been doing one since 2006.  I love all of those black beers in their own intrepid ways, they are all wonderful and take a tidy portion of my money --  but in my opinion, Live Oak Shwarzbier has the jump on a smoothness that goes to infinity, and for that, they earn the chevron for achievement in this locally contested beer niche.

I thought that Live Oak had made a dead crow stand on a fence with their Primus Weizenbock, but in a side-by-side comparison of duty, their Schwarz may be my favorite thing they've ever done. 

Now, this particular bottle was a favor from a friend, and I want more of it for home consumption -- very, very much more -- so stop dicking around and start packaging your beers, bitte.

ABV: 4.8%
Acquired: Randomly