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Monday, March 14, 2011

MataVeza Organic Black Lager

And now for something completely different... a black lager brewed with yerba mate!  MateVeza (mate+cerveza) is a Ukiah-based brand out of Northern California and is brewed by the Mendocino Brewing Company.  The concept is simple (brewing beer using yerba mate for a natural caffeine kick), and apparently falls on the legal side of the recent banning of caffeine-infused malt liquors).  At the end of the day though, taste is why we drink, so let's crack open a bottle of MateVeza Organic Black Lager and see how it measures up.

MateVeza Organic Black Lager poured a thick black in the glass with a thin tan head.  The nose was soft and comprised of coffee, chocolate, musty mate, and black-strap molasses.

MateVeza Organic Black Lager hit my mouth with a medium carbonated swell but no outstanding opening flavors and faded to a big, earthy body of smoke and tobacco... aggressive flavors that came off as very tones and porter-like.  The rest of the drinking experience was highlighted by toasty malt flavors, and it ended on a surprisingly dry finish... great flavor but a very short life and a little bit of dusty mate.

MateVeza Organic Black Lager stands on it's own as a good beer without the mate-infused novelty.  It has all the right aspects of a good dark lager, leaning heavily into porter territory, and manages to incorporate the mate in a way that is complimentary of the core of the lager.  The caffeine content (about a cup of coffee per 22oz. bottle) excludes this from being a beverage to be consumed en masse, but it is certainly worthy of picking up to try out.

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