wpid-img_20150122_214522.jpgLagers are usually crisp, light filtered beers without much complexity. There’s nothing wrong with a lager, but it’s not my go to beer. However, it is a big player in the beer market outside of the craft beer movement, so I thought I would give some attention to a lager.

Except I’m a rebel – and I chose 8th Sin Black Lager by Hop City to sample. I was lured in by snappy packaging, and the fact that Guinness is dominated by more of a lager profile with a creamy head from the nitrogen. Schwarzbier is a German style of dark beer without all of the forward notes you’ll find in a porter or a stout, a nice gateway beer if an Imperial Stout is still a bit too intimidating. This particular black lager is brewed with a nice salad of 8 malts: Pale 2 Row, Roasted Barley, Chocolate, Carastan, Crystal, Dark Crystal, Munich, Torrified Wheat.

I was expecting something very light on the palate in typical lager style, but there was a lot of complexity in this can. I’m snarky so I served it in a Guinness pint glass.

Appearance: Dark pour with red notes like a stout, with a rich tan head. It looks like a stout, but does it act like a stout?

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy aroma for a lager, but the brewery does boast the name Hop City after all. Faint biscuit notes.

Taste: Very light body and mouth feel like a true lager. Balanced malt flavours, with dark chocolate and espresso notes dominating the palate.

Aftertaste: Sweet lager after taste, fades pretty fast.

Overall: Interesting spin on a lager. Suitable for early spring patio sessions. I would pick this up over other lagers out there, but it won’t be my first instinct to select it. Distinctive packaging helps – I feel like I can ask my co-worker to go pick up the lager with a sugar skull design on the can and they will come back to the office with the right choice.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com