I actually put some thought into this month's highlighted beer. Several possible beers were considered only to be discarded. However, a visit to the enchanted confines of Burp Castle ended the quest. I ordered the Köstritzer black lager and I knew. It is to be a black spring.
The initial attraction was the seeming contradiction in a black lager. How did that happen? What can it possibly mean? They used dark malts. And it means that you get a beer with a flavor like that of a stout or porter but milder. Once I got my head around all this, the intriguing flavor and the aesthetics of Köstritzer Schwarzbier made her our May queen.
There are actually plenty of black lagers out there, but the Köstritzer is a German beer with a pedigree that dates back to the days of witch burning. It may even be the first of its kind. And something about that fits my mood and, perhaps, the zeitgeist, what with normal people suddenly fetishizing black metal because of Until the Light Takes Us or the new Burzum album or whatever.
My SO agreed it was the perfect beer for celebrating the impending mainstream acceptance of black metal, adding something like: "It's a lager. For all you normals." He had the double IPA.
I prefer to think of it as a beer that genuinely evokes Norwegian black metal, despite its German origins. True, the flavor was only mildly smoky, but you could think of that as being simply flat and monochromatic. And the aftertaste is slightly acrid, maybe even charred. And it's a lager, so thin and stripped down, pallid even.
Of course, a real black metal fan would insist on a pre-Christian lager, but for our dilettantish purposes Köstritzer is quite old and blackened enough.