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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Two Brothers Night Cat Hoppy Wheat Ale

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Feb 13, 2015 10:05PM

2015_2_13_night_cat.jpg This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, we're taking a look at a seductive seasonal from one of our standby local breweries.

Night Cat is a Dark Wheat Ale from the good folks at Two Brothers Brewing Co.. It pours a deep brown-amber color in the glass with thick, frothy off-white foam on top and a prevalent aroma of grassy, earthy hops. On the palate, there's a hint of roasty malts up front, but the hops steal the spotlight rather quickly. The earthy aromas translate to the flavor, but the overall hop profile is quite juicy with a burst of citrus rind and wheatgrass that plays off of the dark, biscuity grains surprisingly well. The malty caramelization definitely helps to balance and the wheat in the brew lends a nice creamy mouthfeel. At 5.8 percent alcohol content, Night Cat is a unique twist on a wheat beer that's very appropriate for the cooler months, yet still sessionable.

A lot of breweries are releasing hop-forward dark beers right now. We've seen an influx of Black IPAs on store shelves in the past year. Our biggest issue with these beers though, is how many brewers fail to balance the bitterness. In a normal IPA or Pale Ale, you can balance hop bitterness with malty sweetness, even if the end result tastes dry. If you marry hop bitterness with heavily roasted grains, however, you're going to get bitterness from your malt as well as your hops. That can get a little tricky for some breweries to manage and many of these beers are overly bitter. In our opinion, Two Brothers is using a beer like Night Cat to show a lot of younger breweries that it's possible to make a beer like this and keep all your ingredients balanced and in check.

Night Cat is available all around town on draft and in 12-ounce cans. Check to see where you can snatch some up this weekend.