Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Local Option's Dampf Loc
By Jason Baldacci in Food on Apr 5, 2013 9:15PM
Over the past month or so, our beers of the week have focused on some budding Chicago breweries that have started to pop up around the city. This week, we're looking at one of Chicago's staple beer bars that's branched out and started brewing their own beer.
Dampf Loc is brewed for the good dudes over at The Local Option on Webster Avenue by Dog Brewery in Westminster, Maryland. It's a hazy, light amber in color, with hints of caramel malts and earthy hops on the nose. The beer is very malt-forward on the palate, with big notes of fresh baked biscuits and a bit of roasty caramelization to lend a touch of richness. Those earthy hops from the aroma come into play to lend a note of black tea, and there's an herbal dryness on the finish that's quite pleasant. At 5.3% alcohol content, Dampf Loc is incredibly sessionable and a really cool expression of malt for any beer geek looking for a break from overly hoppy beers.
The Local Option crew wanted to create a modern representation of a classic, yet slightly obscure German style that we don't really see a whole lot of in America. Dampfbier literally translates to "steam beer," which is a reference to the very bubbly, active fermentation these beers undergo that almost makes them look like they're steaming or boiling. Traditionally, dampfbier was brewed only with malted barley (no wheat or other grains), but fermented at warmer temperatures with weiss/wheat beer yeast which can help lend notes of spice and fruitiness, along with a smooth, cloudy mouthfeel. These ales are usually deep golden to amber in color, malt forward, and mildly hopped, and while they were typically brewed in the summertime, we wouldn't have a problem drinking a beer like Dampf Loc any day of the year.