The college football season kicks off tonight and this week’s installment of Thirsty Thursday focuses on Mönchshof Schwarzbier and Tir Na Nog Old Vine Grenache, two adult libations that can be enjoyed while watching the gridiron match-ups or over this Labor Day weekend.
Mönchshof is part of the Kulmbacher family of beers and is brewed in the Oberfranken Region in northern Bavaria. I first became acquainted with Kulmbacher beers while studying at the Universität Bayreuth (slightly south of Kulmbach) where I recall consuming just about every beer under the Kulmbacher label. In fact there was a small market down the street from our resident dorms, Bussardweg, that sold 5 liter mini-kegs of Kulmbacher beers for only 10 deutsche mark (that’s was only 5 bucks back in the day!). More than a few times I took advantage of this thirst quenching deal, which included the purchasing of Mönchshof Schwarzbier. Hands down this is one of my favorite Schwarzbiere (black beers), as the beer has a balance expression of dark bread, malty, and chocolaty flavors. One of the best parts of the Mönchshof is the fact it’s fairly light for a dark beer and is extremely smooth. Great for game day or any time your palate needs some relaxing satisfaction. Here’s my complete review:
- Mönchshof’s Schwarzbier pours dark brown in color with a light head. Not overly fragrant, the nose expresses subtle hints of roasted malts. Full bold flavors of dark bread, malt, and chocolate are expressed on the front half of the palate, which gradually diminishes on the back half of the beer. Chocolate malt lingers on the finish along with a slight amount of acidity similar to coffee.
We’re starting off the introduction of wine into the Thirsty Thursday line-up with a phenomenal old vine Grenache from McLaren Vale, Austrialia. Tir Na N’og, Gaelic for “Land of the Youth,” is one of my preferred old vine grenaches available for under $30 (usually retails in the mid $20′s). While not exceedingly complex, the wine has intense and rounded dark spiced fruit flavors, making for a powerful but enjoyable wine. Here’s my complete review:
- A classic example of a wine that doesn’t need to be complicated to be of high quality. Dark ruby red in color, the Tir Na Nog is fairly big on the front half of the palate with spicy black cherry and licorice surrounded by a slight ting of orange peel. Round and supple, the flavors pleasantly slide off the back finishing clean with a hint of black cherry. This wine screams for grilled meat (rare-to-medium/rare).