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Chicagoist's Beer of the Week: Baderbrau's Red Velvet

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Jan 31, 2014 11:00PM

We speak often about the burgeoning community of craft breweries in Chicago. But this week we're looking at a new release from one of the city's oldest brands, which was revived under new ownership in the past couple years.

Red Velvet is the latest seasonal release from Baderbrau, following their Oktoberfest beer that last autumn. It's brewed in the bock style and pours a gorgeous ruby-amber color in the glass. On the nose, we picked up a hint of dried cherries along with slightly caramelized malts. With a name like Red Velvet, we expected this beer to be on the sweet side but we were pleasantly surprised to find a balance of sweet and bitter. The caramelization of the malts keeps the body well rounded and lends some richness, but there's a roasty quality that also plays off of some earthy hops to provide a sharp bite towards the finish. Delving deeper we picked up a touch of pecan, sticky bun, and Darjeeling tea beneath the surface. At 6 percent alcohol content, Red Velvet is full-bodied and rich but certainly not cloyingly sweet. It's an easy drinking amber lager that should be a general crowd-pleaser for any beer drinker you might find yourself tipping back a pint with.

Baderbrau was an iconic, yet short lived Chicago-brewed Pilsner that was originally launched in the late 80s, but the original brewery folded in 1997. Goose Island brewed the beer for a few years after that but eventually discontinued it in favor of their own labels. In 2012, the brand was revived when an old fan bought the lapsed trademark and URL, and now the beer is currently being brewed in Steven's Point, Wisc. while the new owners search for a spot in the city to build their own facility. We covered the story in detail here. With Red Velvet, these guys are telling us that they want to not only relaunch a favorite old pilsner, but stay in tune with the rest of the craft beer industry and release new, interesting, flavorful beer.

Red Velvet will be available in the coming weeks on draft and in 12-ounce bottles.