Santo (St. Arnold Brewing, Texas, USA; 4.7%):

Describing this beer as a “black kölsch” doesn’t work on many levels, not the least of which being that, as the brewery freely admits, the style doesn’t exist. Hell, it’s not even black beer, more like dark brown, with an aroma that is vaguely kölsch-like in that it bears little to no fruitiness, with earthy, potting soil qualities paired with a soft roastiness. The body is a bit more ale-like, rounded with chocolate-cocoa quality laced with nuttiness and a drying thinness, finishing dry with a bit of allspice and cocoa lingering. Not big enough to be a brown ale, or a rather anemic brown ale if it were, yet somehow too full and rounded for a kölsch or altbier. I’m not sure what it really is, but I feel pretty confident that it would, as the brewery suggests, “pair perfectly with a plate of enchiladas.”

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