The Lighter Side of Dark: Debunking the Myths Surrounding Dark Beer

Written by Ashley Routson for

I get a kick out of messing with unsuspecting folk at trade shows and beer festivals. When they ask me for a taste of my lightest beer, I always pour them my Stout. And when they look at me like I’m crazy, I laugh and explain that, although dark in color, the Stout is lowest in alcohol, lowest in calories and lightest in body. Often times, this gets them to at least taste it. And more often than not, I watch people have an epiphany…“I usually don’t like dark beer, but this one is good.”

Oh poor dark beer, always being judged by the color of its malt. Unfortunately, most people have the misconception that the color of beer is directly related to its weight. In the mind of most consumers, dark beers are rich, heavy and full of calories. And conversely, they think that the paler in color a beer is, the lighter it is in body, alcohol and calories. Although both are not entirely wrong assumptions, I have made it my mission to debunk the myths surrounding dark beers.
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Beer Profile: Ruthless Rye, Sierra Nevada

Profiled by Ken Carman for

Aroma: citrus grapefruit Cascade/Centennial-ish, But there’s a subtle rye sense: spicy; seems to balance the citrus with a hint of pepper: probably the rye. Visual: copper, pillow head with a hint of rock. Clarity good.

Mouthfeel caramel chewy: slight malt heaviness but, to be honest… this is moderate in body. Sweet, yet firm dry sense without being over bearing.

I have had many Sierra beers, but this is one of the best balanced when it comes to Specialty. It’s a nice IPA with a good background spicy rye sense: a bit peppery.

This beer is deceptive: you would think a rather simple brew… but not. There’s a great body and a nice background rye sense that merges well with the American-citrus-like hops