Surf & Brew

Brewery and Country of Origin: Redhook Brewery of 1 Redhook Way, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA

Date Reviewed: 12-06-13

Beer #777
So... the always popular American Lobster. Personally, lobster is one of our favorite foods, and, as creative culinary artists show us, it is fairly versatile, for the right price. Fortunately, lobster is actually fairly cheap at the moment, but that's not really going to be reflected in the price of surf & turf. There's of course, lobster rolls, a mayo and buttered roll based New England Favorite. Everyone knows of lobster Mac & Cheese, which is bringing class (and cost) to a... well, classic American comfort food. Examples of soups, pies, burgers, sushi, and pizzas among others all include lobster in their list of ingredients. Of course, none of these should be any bit surprising. Lobster is meant to be enjoyed as food. But as a drink? That'd be something. Well, it turns out that Redhook Brewery's facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire agrees. And that is why they have produced their Black Lobstah Lager, a schwarzbier which is brewed with you guessed it, fresh, live New Hampshire lobsters. As the sixth installment of the brewery's "Backyard Series" small batch brews, this beer follows the same practice as old oyster stouts which are brewed and served with oysters. That beer style originated in England where oystermen would commonly serve stouts with their catch. Though the style eventually became famous for actually being brewed with seafood, the beer never tasted salty or briny, and the same goes with this. Though dozens of locally sourced lobsters are used for each batch of this dark beer, very little evidence of this can be found outside of the label.
Date Sampled: 10-16-13 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA 02134, USA
Beer Style: Schwarzbier
Alcohol by Volume: 5.30%
Serving Type: Brewery Growler, 16 oz Tumbler Glass
Rating: 3.07


This schwarzbier pours very smoothly with a low amount of carbonation action, giving this beer a very thin, eighth inch tall foam head with a moderately low density, a low retention, and a tan color. This beer has a clear appearance with no visible sediment, and a very dull, dim shine in the light, as well as minimal effervescent effect. This beer has a very deep dark reddish brown color and shows almost no lacing.


This beer has a moderately low strength aroma primarily full of dark chocolate and semi sweet dark roasted malt overall with no trace of balancing hops and a good amount of nuttiness. There is a small presence of alcohol tinge, and a slightly metallic smell as well. The aroma also has a fair amount of earthy notes as well as a bit of burnt malty bitterness. There are no fruity notes in the aroma, and no fishy, briny, or low tide smell either.


This is a medium bodied brew with a moderately low weight and a matching viscosity. This beer has a below average level of carbonation, and a fairly dry finish which lingers for a short amount of time. This beer offers little in the way of crispness or refreshment, and contains no alcohol warming. This beer has a smooth texture overall.


Though you would assume that this beer tastes like a liquefied lobster roll, there isn't much of a seafood or crustacean taste. The only bit of evidence of this beer's inclusion of lobster comes in the form of a secondary salty or brine like after effect. Overall, like any dark lager, this is a sweet malt rich beer with a lot of dark bitter roast and a good amount of semi sweet dark chocolate. This beer also includes some nuttiness and bread like notes. This beer has a dry lingering finish with an earthy and deep roasted malty aftertaste.

Our Take

Though Redhook say that nearly 100 lobsters are used in each batch of this limited run beer, you wouldn't know much of this by sampling it. This is a fairly straight forward schwarz with a rich, robust, and roasted malty flavor profile, and a good amount of earthy and nutty notes in both the flavor and the aroma. Unfortunately, there is nothing particularly exciting about this beer outside of its brand. If you consider this as a regular schwarz, it makes for a decent go to beer which can offer a bit more earthiness and a slightly salty secondary. As you can see in the picture, we had this beer with salmon, and it seemed to pair fairly well. But we would also say that was due more to the overall sweetness of this beer, which seemed to complement the salmon's sweet sesamie glaze. In general, this is a pretty good beer whose only unique aspect is its story, and a subtle hint of saltiness. Don't go in expecting Rockland Lobster Pie.