Friday, November 21, 2008

Köstritzer Schwarzbier: A favorite of Dandies and Fops since 1543!

As you might expect, I first purchased this beer for the intriguing image on the box. As luck would have it, it's also fantastic beer. I wasn't sure initially if my impression was clouded by my sheer delight in the cover art, but several repeat purchases later I am convinced that this is my new favorite beer.

Schwarzbier is a lager made with a dark-roasted malt, as you might have guessed. I confess I don't have a lot of experience with schwarzbiers, but I think I should probably try a few more since it's conceptually right up my alley. The Köstritzer has a delicate, frothy head, a light body, and tastes of coffee and burnt sugars. So it's all the crisp effervescence of a lager with the sweet, roasty maltiness you normally expect in a porter or a stout.

But going back to the artwork: I am captivated with the image. If I had described the box as having a picture of someone holding the beer, reclining, and rubbing their leg suggestively, you would have immediately assumed that person was female. This reclining, passive gaze is almost exclusively associated with the depiction of women in the history of art, and in beer advertising in particular. The Art Theory 101 student inside me finds this Köstritzer image remarkably unusual. I could be wrong of course, but I just can't seem to think of other examples of this kind of male objectification, in 18th century period dress, no less. He is of course covered in some kind of blanket or coat, but again there's the notable exception of where he's decided to show us his breeches. If you you have any expertise on this subject, I am dying of curiosity and I'd appreciate your insights.

On a sillier note, the part of me that is easily brainwashed by nonsensical TV commercials has noticed that our dapper gentleman appears to be wearing a snuggie. Because sometimes you're cold, but wearing a blanket would make it difficult to drink your Köstritzer.

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