Drink of the Week: Kostritzer Black Lager

February 04 2008 - 9:02 AM

When I was working in East Germany a few years ago, near a mid-sized town called Erfurt in the Thuringia region (somewhere between Berlin and Frankfurt), we loved the local beers.  One of them, Radeberger, a great pilsner is now more commonly available in the States.  Every night my co-workers and I would have a delicious glass (or glasses) with the foam forming a mountainous peak, and enjoy white aspargus in season, as well as delicious dumplings.

One beer that I especially loved was a black lager, Kostritzer, made
in a small town called Bad Kostritz.  I did some research, and the
brewery, according to Wikipedia, was founded in 1543.   The label
mentions that the beer was a favorite of famous German writer Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe, afer whom a street in Chicago is named, and the
label of the beer has a painting of  what appears to be Goethe

The brewery survived world wars and communism to be a popular
regional beer in Thuringia.   The brewery’s website was all German, and
while I was able to figure out that I passed the minimum age (16) to
view the website I couldn’t figure out much more.  I did enjoy the
opening video, which faintly reminded me of those Old Style ads from
the early 1980s that discussed "krausening".

About a year ago or so, I was pleasantly surprised to find
Kostritzer turn up on the shelves at Binny’s (I found it later at
Sam’s).   Unlike a lot of dark American microbrews, Kostritzer does not
have the heaviness or sweetness, even compared to Sam Adams black
lager.    It has a malty taste but is not overpowering. 

Kostritzer Schwartzbier "Germany’s Black Lager"
Sam’s and Binny’s