Grätzer was born in a meeting between Lauren Salazar, New Belgium specialty brand manager, and several of the 3Floyds crew in a Chicago dive bar. According to Lauren “we made our plan there. I suggested a fun version of this style — I have wanted to make this beer for some time, they loved it. They suggested we put pus-ridden zombies on our label, we loved it.“.
This description from the New Belgium website describes the beer. “It’s not dead, but Gratzer is definitely a long-buried style from Poland. And together with 3Floyds we have unearthed the best of beer zombies. Full of bold flavors from oak-smoked wheat, and along with Midnight Wheat, this beer presents a pure black pour. A subtle, spicy note from the Polish Lublin hops hides in the aroma, just below the dark and smoky surface. Despite all appearances, the Gratzer is very drinkable at 4.5% ABV, and walks itself with a nice, light body. Cheers to drinking smoky, undead beers. Prost!”
The art work combines ideas from both breweries. New Belgium is known for Fat Tire and 3Floyds often feature gothic novel style artwork on their beer labels. Jodi Taylor, New Belgium artist and designer, did the bottle artwork. She is responsible for the artwork on Lips of Faith releases. What could be better than zombies on bikes? Go to this link for more detail on the label.
Tasting notes –
Grätzer pours out a deep brownish/black into a New Belgium goblet. Immediately you notice a roasty/smoky aroma. A generous tan head is present. There is a smoky/roasty flavor that dominates and becomes even stronger as the beer warms. A very mild sour taste from lactobacillus is noticeable. The Lublin hops blend well with the malts and the body is light. Interesting beer!
Grätzer paired well with marinated grilled shish kebabs.
Thanks to Nic Turiciano, social media guru from New Belgium, and Lauren Salazar for their help on this post!