New Belgium ‘1554’ Black lager


image“Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text,1554 BLACK LAGER BEERĀ uses a lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.”

This is our first crack at this unexpectedly American brewery. Served in a beer tulip the deep mahogany pour produced a huge one inch light tan head that eventually settled to a thin covering on top. Standard lacing. Really nice dominant aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and espresso on the nose. Backing up are lovely undertones of toffee, molasses, cocoa and vanilla. This is actually quite a complex aroma, credit to the brewers, if we didn’t know any better we would of thought this was a porter! Any hope of a porter-like body was quashed as the mouth feel comes up quite thin with mild carbonation. Medium body. It’s a little slippery upfront with subdued hints of chocolate and coffee. What has us eating our words is as this beer warms the body becomes fuller, in effect boldening the chocolate and coffee flavours in the mid and delivering a solid roasty finish that lingers well into the next sip, displaying good length. 5.6% ABV. Well we can honestly say this is the first time we’ve ever tried a black lager, and it wasn’t a bad way to kick things off. Supposedly the brewers travelled to Belgium for this recipe, well….their hard work has paid off. Good beer.