The lager pours an opaque mahogany without any light showing through. It’s topped by an inch thick cap of creamy, tan foam that shows modest retention. Droplets of residue coat the glass down to a soapy collar. An aggressive pour yields the best results.
The aromatics are a blend of floral hops and caramel. A scent of roast malt asserts itself as the beer warms.
The palate begins with a taste of bready malt and transitions to a piney flavor punched with spicy noble hops. The finish has a touch of chocolate and is marked by roast malt that’s nearly burnt. The base has an earthy character of black tea mixed with dark bread. A slight tangy citrus also appears in the background.
The feel is smooth and somewhat dry with a medium body and moderate carbonation.
The appearance could be improved upon. The aroma is pleasant and appropriate for the style. The feel is spot on. At first, the palate’s use of hops seems too aggressive and the roast character of its malt is a bit burnt. However, as the beer warms, those flavors mellow and the lager becomes reaches its expected balance.
The Brooklyn Winter Lager is smooth, easy to drink, and does satisfy that craving for a darker beer. Sure, there are better examples of a Schwarzbier available, but this one is pretty good, too.
Brooklyn Brewery recommends the following food pairings with their Winter Lager: dark bread, hearty meats, barbecue, stews, root vegetables, pastries, and Gouda cheese.