COMPLEMENTING THEIR COMMENDABLE lineup of Franziskaner Weissbier, the Munich-based Spaten-Franziskaner brews a line of lagers branded with the first of their two names. As is often the case with thrill-seeking American palates, the most well-known (and well-received) of their products is the Spaten Optimator, a dangerous doppelbock, far easier to gulp than its 7.6% might suggest. Overall fairly standard to the style, the strong malt base of this treacle-colored beer supplies a solid foundation for its noticeable but not overpowering alcoholic edge. Its tight burst of creamy head is unusually durable and,along with the relatively full body lends the Optimator features of a powerful stout, yet as a lager the Optimator is still crisp and clean in the finish. Milky smooth from front to back even at warmer temperatures, other prominent notes are of caramel, a little leafy bitterness wrapped in roasted nuts, and then a bit of pepper to accompany a concluding dose of carbonation. Rather limited on hops, perhaps, but who needs ‘em?
Served: On tap (Bauer’s Brauhaus, Palatine)