Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mother Earth Brewing Dark Cloud

The history of beer in Munich has a dark past.  When I speak of a "dark past," it is nothing sinister.  Instead, the first beers brewed in the city, as well as elsewhere in Bavaria were dunkel lagers, or dark lagers.  Generally speaking, the grist used to make the beer is made from primarily German munich malt, with some German pilsner malt.  Some chocolate malts may be used to darken the color of the beer, but not to affect the taste.  

Mother Earth Brewing is a craft brewer whose motto is "Peace, Love & Beer."  Located in Kinston, North Carolina, the brewer produces four year around beers -- Sisters of the Moon India Pale Ale, Endless River Kolsch Style Ale, Weeping Willow Wit, and the Dark Cloud Munich-Style Dunkel Ale.  I first tried Mother Earth Brewing when Clare and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks.  A small restaurant in Ocrakoke had the Sisters of the Moon.  It was a very good IPA and, when I saw some other Mother Earth Brewing beers, I bought a couple and brought them home to try at a later date. 

The Dark Cloud is definitely a dunkel lager because it pours a dark brown in color.  The beer is very carbonated, with a thick foam developing as the beer is poured. The aroma of the beer is full of malt, with a gentle sweetness.  This beer is surprisingly light and sweet for a dark lager.  I definitely enjoyed this beer, which I think is a very good example of an American craft brewer working with a European beer style.

The brewer suggests several pairings for this beer. These pairings include cheeseburgers, chicken with brown mushroom gravy, Eastern Carolina BBQ, and garlic mashed potatoes.  As you can tell, these pairing all suggest meatier, earthier flavors, which I think is probably the best pairing for a beer like the Dark Cloud.  The lightness of the beer will not make any of these foods seem "heavy."  The sweetness of the beer would pair well with the tart, vinegary taste of Eastern Carolina BBQ (of which, by the way, I am a big fan).

From what I can tell, Mother Earth Brewing is a small craft brewery.  Just as I look for wines made with grapes I have never heard of, I also look for craft brewers (and beer styles) that are completely new to me.  Prior to visiting Okracoke, I had not seen or heard of Mother Earth Brewing.  Since then, I have not seen Mother Earth beers around where I live, but they are obviously available in North Carolina.


For more information about the Munich Dunkel style, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program.

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