Beer of the Month: Marzen Revisited

I was delighted to find that this month’s beer deliver contained a beer from the Black Creek Historic Brewery.   I’ve written previously about my love for the fact that their beers are brewed based on archival recipes from the 1800s.  I love the idea of using beer and food generally as a way to explore the past and connect present day people to history.

When I went back to read my recollections on the Black Creek Brewery I realized that I’d had their “Marzen” beer before, which is the one that was included in this month’s delivery.  This particular selection is brewed in the style of something from 1860s and I enjoyed it the first time.

My opinion of the beer has stayed fairly similar – I loved the balanced hop and malt notes in this beer.  It pours a dark amber that is almost brown, is unfiltered, and has minimal head. It’s a bit of a heavier beer which makes it a bit of an outlier for the traditional Marzen style, but despite that heaviness it is still smooth drinking.  I would definitely recommend this and buy it again.

Historical Beer: Black Creek Brewery

IMAG0729For Christmas I gave Andrew a membership to a beer of the (every other) month club.  Since January we have been enjoying the bi-monthly surprise of craft beers delivered to our door.  This month’s selection included two beers from Black Creek Brewery.

Located at the Black Creek Pioneer Village heritage site the Black Creek Historic Brewery opened in 2009 and employs the techniques, tools and recipes used by Ontario brewers in 1860s. In the 1860s there were 155 registered breweries in Ontario.Black Creek Historic Brewery is the first to recreate the brewing processes of this era.

Each batch is created entirely by hand, uses no electricity, and much of the equipment is made from wood and cooper.  The beer ferments in wooden casks, barley is shoveled by hand, and filtration is done in the ‘old style’ using barley husks.

For those interested in learning more about brewing in the 1860s you can visit the Brewery as part of the Pioneer Village and they run a program where you can ‘brew with the brewmaster‘ for a day.  A visit to the Brewery is an added cost ($4.50) to admission to the Pioneer Village and includes tours of the hop garden, cooperage, mill, brewery, and beer samples.  For those living further afield the Brewery maintains a blog, The Black Creek Growler, which is filled with interesting historical and beer related facts.

The two Black Creek selections we received from were ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Marzen’.  What struck me most about Brilliant was the cloudy nature of it.  The old style filtration process means that the beer is almost akin to unfiltered beer and has a dense slightly opaque look.  As far as taste goes the Brilliant was light, kind of sweet, and fairly smooth drinking.  In contrast Marzen was red in colour, had a fruity smell, and a delightful hoppy malt taste.  The Marzen falls under the brown ale category of beer that would have been brewed in the 1860s. It was a neat experience to try ‘historically brewed’ beers that were made on a historic site.