Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier

Review Date 8/13/2013   By John Staradumsky

So Lonestar. You have the ring, and I see your Schwarzbier is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you handle it. –Dark Helmet

OK, maybe that’s a paraphrase of a famous line by Rick Moranis character Dark Helmet in the classic Sci-Fi comedy Spaceballs. Still, it’s a quite fitting reference here as I sip a bottle of Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier by Strongsville, Ohio’s The Brew Kettle Production Works. That’s because Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier is indeed a big schwarzbier, bigger in alcohol content at 9% by volume than any I’ve had before.

German-style schwarzbier (or black lager) normally run in the 5% range, making this one quite a bit stronger. So, I had my suspicions on how well this one would work. Sometimes beer styles sort of get lost when you imperialize them, as the higher levels of malt and hops change the character of the brew. Would that happen here? Only The Schwartz knows for sure.

From the label:

A true TBK original, we kick this German-style black lager up a couple notches. Smooth lager taste with a touch of roast and deceptively easy drinking. May the Schwartz be with you!

The Brew Kettle Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier pours to a dark black (though not opaque if you hold to the light) color that makes it almost, but not quite as black as Dark Helmet’s helmet. The beer sprouts a moderate creamy head formation and a delightful dark malty, slightly roasty nose. As I said, I was a bit skeptical how they were going to make a beer this big and stay in the spirit of a Schwarzbier, but they’ve done it. Dark Helmet is mildly roasty like a good schwarzbier should be and medium in body. The beer is, to be sure, roastier than say, a Kostritzer Schwarzbier, but it has to be at this gravity. Still, it retains a Schwarzbier character, which is for me very important. In the finish, the roastiness and a definite alcohol warmth balance the beer nicely and make it very drinkable.

Definitely an interesting brew, something I have not seen before, and nicely done as well. Extra points for the label and movie reference. Food pairings? I’d suggest it with Colonel Sandurz Chicken, Yogurt, or better yet, why not send out to Pizza the Hutt for a pie? You know, before pizza sends out for you.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned