Today I was in the mood for mystery. I want a beer that I know nothing about so I can fill in the pieces. Jason gave me a bottle of Z Lager from Fort Collins Brewery brewed in Fort Collins Colorado. I am not very familiar with beer from Fort Collins Brewery but I like trying beer that is new to me and that in itself makes this beer appealing. I didn’t know what to expect because the name doesn’t give away too many details about the beer. Looking at the imagery will give you a better understanding, but I really just poured my glass without really knowing what I was about to drink.
Z Lager pours with a ½ inch brownish-white creamy head. The nose is extremely malty which gets my attention. There hop character in nearly absent. In the background I notice a whiff of smoke, so now I am starting to put two and two together. The color is a rich amber-brown which gets the hamster in my head jogging on its wheel. I know what I am drinking here, but I want to be sure so I drink. Yep, I was right the flavor is full of caramel and fairly malty and then the smoke comes to the forefront without being overpowering or cumbersome. The mouthfeel is pretty light and the finish is dry. This is a rauchbier, quite literally a German-style smoke beer and a classic style at that. It is typically a smoked version of a märzen/Oktoberfest beer. I recognize it because I tasted a couple German interpretations and brewed the style myself.
Fort Collins stays true to the style with Z Lager leaving me the clues necessary to solve my mystery. This beer is pretty impressive in every way except for its mouthfeel. I just wish that it was more substantial. I did very much enjoy drinking it though. If ever I make my way out to Colorado, I will surely stop at Fort Collins Brewery for one of these. Case Closed!
Consumed: Mother Earth Globe Glass
Verdict: Buy a Twelve Pack