Craft Beer of the Week

KCCO Black Lager: Keep Calm, Beer On

Beer: KCCO Black Lager Brewery: Resignation Brewery & Redhook Ale Brewery Style: Schwarzbier ABV: 5.1 percent

The popularity of The Chive should be surprising to approximately no one. The site is built on a simple equation: funny pictures and videos + hot women = lots and lots of hits. The Chive has built a huge following with folks stopping in every day for regular photo galleries like Hump Day (featuring girls with nice booties), Mind the Gap (women whose thighs don't touch), Burn Your Bra (brassiere-less bosoms), and FLBP (future lower back problems -- you figure that one out). Regular site-goers -- Chivers, they call themselves -- are legion. They support The Chive enthusiastically through merchandise sales, give to charities occasionally featured on the site, and even organize IRL Chive meetups, where fans can get together and drink lots and lots of booze.

That interest in alcohol is important. With a built-in and devoted audience that was already in love with beer, it was just a matter of time before The Chive's creators, John and Leo Resig (who, through their company, Resignation Media, have their hands in quite a few different industries) got into the beer industry. They homebrewed up the first batch of KCCO Black Lager at The Chive's Venice, California, headquarters to be shared with coworkers, friends, and fans of the site. Demand for the black lager grew quickly, and so the Resig brothers formed Resignation Brewery (get it?) and after some recipe-tweaking, collaborated with Washington-based Redhook Brewery to brew and distribute the beer.

The resulting brew pours a deep burgundy, clear and effervescent. A thin finger of silky tan head gives off a slightly smoky aroma that's almost like pork sausage. Gently roasted coffee beans, peanut skins and a dash of molasses can also be found.

The flavor isn't going to ruffle any feathers -- even those on the bottle's ostrich. A subtle front gives off subdued notes of raisins and coffee beans, while more flavor emerges at the finish: toasted wheat, walnuts, biscuits, caramel, peanuts. The whipped-cream texture of the brew's medium-light body adds to its drinkability, as does a soft bitterness -- just 22 IBUs' worth.

Resignation and Redhook have announced plans to brew and distribute several more KCCO beers, including and amber lager, and amber ale and a Belgian witbier. But what they have with this initial schwarzbier is a brew that's drinkable as hell, will appeal to the masses that frequent the site and won't turn off the more geeky beer drinkers. It may even elevate the drinking game of the college kids who frequent the site most, and for that, we say Chive On.

Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone. He works at World of Beer in Tempe.

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Zach Fowle
Contact: Zach Fowle