Black Lager – definitely not hyped, often under-represented and undeniably mis-understood. This style is one I fell in love with long ago – before Great Raft Brewing became a dream. Andrew had a delicious black lager recipe from his homebrewing days that we both really enjoyed. The rich flavors of a dark beer were balanced perfectly with the smooth easy-drinking qualities of a lager. It was the best of both worlds and came in handy because there were not many black lagers available on the shelves.
Fast forward a couple of years to the two of us starting a brewery. We put a business plan together, started talking about names and logos and most importantly – beer styles to brew as our staple, flagship brands. After many long nights of planning, I told him that if we open a brewery, we absolutely have to agree that we will make a black lager. Not because it would necessarily be a top seller, but because it is a style we both loved and wanted to share with others. Andrew agreed, and our black lager recipe became something we continued to perfect and sample at events and ultimately became the official beginning of Great Raft Brewing. In fact, this recipe today is almost identical to the first batch we brewed back in the Fall of 2013.
On October 15, 2013, Great Raft Brewing sold its first beer as an official brewery at Zocolo (RIP). This pint of Reasonably Corrupt black lager was sold to then-City Councilman Jeff Everson as the first locally made beer to be commercially sold since Prohibition.
While the beer has an interesting story, so does the name. A family friend used the term “reasonably corrupt” while describing Louisiana politics at a dinner party – corrupt but just reasonable enough to get stuff done. That really stood out to us. Politicians can often be ambiguous– and honestly this beer can be too. I can’t tell you how many afternoons we spent standing in a grocery store or liquor store, sampling our beers, for people to just walk by and say “I just don’t like dark beer.” I always told them “don’t let the darkness fool you,” because black lager isn’t any more heavy or filling than the light lagers you know and love. About 50% of the time that I could get people to at least take a sip, they loved it and ended up leaving with a six pack.
Reasonably Corrupt can definitely surprise you. It’s approachable because it isn’t heavy or filling like many other dark beers. It has a delicate balance of roast, chocolate and subtle sweetness and is just super smooth. It’s a great beer to drink all year long. Many think that because it’s dark, it is a beer only to be consumed in cooler winter months. I’ll tell you, this is my favorite beer to drink with crawfish (TRUST ME) and oysters. I’ll admit, it’s not what I pack in the cooler to take to the pool or lake, but it is definitely a great beer to drink if you love stouts and just aren’t up for something heavy while it’s hot out.
So now that I’ve sold you on picking up a six pack of this tried-and-true beer, here are a few more creative ways to enjoy this beer. Sales Director Bob swears by the Reasonably Corrupt michelada as the ultimate hangover cure. It’s great for cooking as well. Add it to a gumbo, sautéed mushrooms and any other dish where you need a savory kick. And check out this recipe below for Chef Nick’s Reasonably Corrupt BBQ sauce. It’s seriously delicious.
We’ll see you for a pint of Reasonably Corrupt soon! (Pro tip: come by the brewery and try a pint on nitro.)