Florida's big year at the Great American Beer Festival, with seven Sunshine State brews medaling in the largest competition in the U.S., nearly double the second-best year of 2014, which saw four medals, one from the pro-am competition.
Even more remarkable is the fact that five of those seven beers came from the bay area, including Six Ten Brewing's Mischievous Black, a German-style schwarzbier that took home gold in the dark lager category.
Literally "black beer," schwarzbier is a traditional style that doesn't taste like it looks. If you're not familiar with the style, Mischievous Black is a fantastic place to start—it's a spot-on rendition that hits all the right notes.
Despite the name, Mischievous Black is actually a very dark brown, with ruby undertones that become visible if you hold it up to light. The amount of heavily-roasted grain—the stuff that makes dark beer dark—in the beer is just enough for color and flavor, but not enough to add any astringency or harshness to the brew.
Instead, the flavor is mild and the roast subtle, finishing as crisp and clean as you would hope for in a traditional German-style lager. There's a nutty quality to the beer, alongside some nuanced dark chocolate flavors, but don't expect a stout or porter—this beer is actually quite light-bodied and very refreshing.
If you'd like to find out what a gold medal-winning schwarzbier tastes like, look for Mischievous Black on draft throughout Tampa, Brandon and Land O'Lakes starting Black Friday (appropriately enough), as well as in Six Ten's tasting room (7052 Benjamin Road, Tampa) on the same day, alongside limited release brews and drink specials to coincide with the Mischievous Black's release.
— Justin Grant
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