Metropolitan Brewing

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Lager - Schwarzbier
Ranked #10
Ranked #8,777
4.02 | pDev: 8.46%
Metropolitan Brewing
Illinois, United States
Very Good
Notes: If you grew up in the US, there's a solid chance you once thought lagers were pale-yellow, flavorless, over-carbonated, marketing-driven, adjunct-riddled shame poured into icy-frosted glassware. We've all been there. But now we're here.
Behold: Schwarzbier, the blackest of lagers. This is the one you pull out when you have a fucking point to make about the diversity of lagers. Magnetron is malty, medium-bodied, and gently hopped. The magic of lagering makes this brew rich, but mild and well-balanced. Expect flavors of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, and a crisp, dry finish.
Darker than Satan's soul. As metal as Dave Lombardo's double-kick. None more black.
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 129 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unknown vintage; drank 3/5/20 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

An even pour yielded a nice khaki head; frothy, tree-rung lace.

Root beer, fresh earth, mild black licorice & faint clove notes in the nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Root beer & fresh earth flavors up front; mild chocolate & faint clove notes on the finish.

A nice Schwarzbier!

Mar 06, 2020
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer was black in color with an off-white head crowning the top of the glass.

Smell - There was a smooth maltiness with hints of hop bitterness to come.

Taste - My first thought was this was more bitter than the style generally is. The hop profile was a little high for the style with the malts were a hair too burnt. The smooth creaminess I would expect was there but did not quite cover the other flaws.

Mouthfeel - The feel was just about right, quite smooth.

Overall - Overall, this is not a bad beer. It just seems to miss the mark by a bit.

Aug 31, 2019
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FBarber from Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish tinged dark brown color. Opaque due to the hue, but then when held to the light you can see the beer is clear. Thin tan head dissipates steadily.

Aroma is quite bready - more akin to a doppelbock than a schwarzbier. Lacks much in the way of the roasted maltiness you'd expect. Aroma is bready with dark fruit notes. Light cocoa comes through with some earthy hops on the back end.

Taste follows the nose - dark bread, dark fruits, some light bakers chocolate, a hint of toasted malts, but nothing like you'd want from a schwarzbier. Earthy hops on the finish provide some light bitterness.

Feel is medium bodied. Mild carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall this is really lacking the nice roasted maltiness of the best examples of a schwarzbier. It come across much more like a doppelbock. I appreciate what Metropolitan is doing, but I'd love to see this one with a much more roasty character.

Apr 22, 2018
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm starting to like Metropolitan more and one of the biggest reasons is they try to do less.
And the quality shows. What they focus on (only 10 active beers and all in German regional traditions) helps them produce above average beers.
Put this Schwarzbier next to a good one from the Motherland, and Magnetron stands up.
While not a good-looker, I did like the caramel and darker malts wafting up offering their sweetness.
The taste was the same, but not as sweet; balanced nicely with modest hops.
In the mouth, it did its job with a lunch of a hearty soup.
I am going to spend more time with Metropolitan.

Jan 18, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark roasty chocolate pour with a very unique looking sombrero shaped head that's domed in the middle. Egg foam colored. Lots of carbonation in this bottle.

Aromas of roast malts, chocolate shavings, and sour lactose.

Flavors of mild chocolate, roast malts, and some slight sourness from other caramel/crystal malts.

Feel is roasty and smooth, with a generous roast on the finish.

Jan 10, 2017
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a dark blackish brown with sneaky carbonation. Taste was a purer version of the smell, with good biscuit, honey and malts to go with black soil, bittersweet chocolate, slight coffee, and creamy dark fruit. Smell has the booze show more as well. Feel could be a little more robust, but otherwise an enjoyable option from metropolitan

Sep 11, 2016
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Binnys single shelf pick up. It poured an opaque dark with off white head that is not leaving much of a lace. The scent had faint roast. The taste was evenly balanced and easy to drink. There is a slight roast and caramel sweetness. The Mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall this is a solid beer and worth a shot.

Sep 10, 2016
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MaximalC from Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky chestnut color with a moderate head of variegated khaki foam. Straightforward aroma smells of salted caramel with a touch of roasted malt.

The taste features nuts, caramel, noble hops, and a hint of apple peel. Roasted malt and milk chocolate peek through on the back end. Light body and fine carbonation make for a delicate, airy mouthfeel.

Overall, this is smooth, gentle schwarzbier that lands south of the roastier territory I prefer for the style. With that said, it remains very drinkable with no off flavors.

Aug 06, 2016
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Redrover from Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. brown longneck poured into a pint glass. The beer is a black with brown and ruby highlights. There is a decent brown head.

It has a fresh aroma of roasted malts, dark fruit and a something floral..

The beer leads with nicely roasted malts that have a hint of dark chocolate and coffee. Not overly charred malts seem to be just right. There is a touch of sweetness like a slowpoke sucker and them a bit of bitterness at the end of the sip. Everything works really well together.

The mouth is medium with active carbonation.

This is an easy drinker. Extremely easy to pair with food like a grilled Havarti and ham sandwich or grilled meats.

This will be a serial repeater!

May 13, 2016
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy with a short creamy head. Scent of toasted grain, earth, mild brown sugar, and a hint of coffee. Taste of sweet dark malt, subtly earthy hops, brown sugar, and the same hint of coffee. This one sits well.

Mar 27, 2016
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Midnight body, light tan creamy head that lasts, good lacing. Aroma is lightly roasted malt, slightly perfumey, something je ne sais quoi. The taste continues this mysticism; toasty cereal that borders on roasted, beechwood, wet stone, a bit of soil in a great way, all of which transitions to semi-dry caramel on the finish with mild bitterness. Everything is very delicate, each individual flavor like a fragile snowflake that combine to form a beautiful, solid blanket of white (er, taste). Light body, airy, smooth, with lively carbonation.
This is a great beer. Unique flavors and aromatics; I think I identified them correctly, some for sure, but I'm still searching for exactly what they were. Regardless, it was well balanced and delicious, and dare I say refreshing; dark-ish flavors fit the mood for the winter, but the light body make it a summer option as well.

Feb 16, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a dark brown body, opaque and nearly black. Two finger frothy offwhite head, nice retention, lots of lacing. Smells of caramel, biscuit, touch of honey, minerals, earth. Wonderful combination of malt and yeast. Flavour is biscuit, bread, yeast, minerals, earthy noble hop bitterness, touch of chocolate, no roast. It's an appropriately hopped up lager with a lot of flavour. This is quite tasty indeed. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly creamy, crisp with appropriate carbonation, nice earthy and grassy bitterness on the backend. This is a delicious darker lager with a lot of depth yet remains quite refreshing and wonderfully packed with flavour.

Feb 07, 2016
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Tone from Missouri

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of roasted malt, slight sweet malt, hops, slight chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, hops, hint of yeast, hint of alcohol, and slight chocolate. Overall, the chocolate notes help balance the body noticeable bitterness; a decent Schwarzbier.

Jan 30, 2016
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Olympic tavern. 16oz pour into a shaker pint; it was the beer of the day so this was a $4 pour.

Appearance: Black body with tall khaki head.

Smell: Light roast malt, light milk chocolate note with fruity lager yeast.

Taste: Flavor starts off light malt sweetness and bittersweet chocolate. Hint of dark fruits in the malt profile as well. Lager yeast is also present, but not overly assertive. Finish is light to moderate roast like a breakfast blend coffee and a mild smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Lower end of a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Super easy drinking lager.

Overall: Man, I keep forgetting just how good metropolitan brews German lagers. Fans of this beer style rejoice because this is an outstanding local brew!!! Drinks easy and packs alot of complex and flavorful malt. I will be on the look out for other great schwarzbier thanks to this well done beer.

Jan 07, 2016
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spacecake9 from Illinois

3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a good beer. But I'm struggling to describe it. I can't tell you the last time I had a black lager or Schwarzbier. Something different, definitely a change of pace for me.

Apr 29, 2015
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joe1510 from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle
$9.99 6-Pack
Binny's Willowbrook

Magnetron has a coffee black body with chestnut highlights running up the glass when backlit. A sturdy mocha cap forms on the pour and instantly becomes immensely creamy. The staying power of the foam is impressive, never disappearing throughout the drink. Impressive sheet lacing remains plastered to the glass. Looks about as good as you can get.

That foam makes it a little tough pulling out the nose but what's there is right on. Brown bread maltiness comes in mass quantities. The roast is minimal with a lick of anise. Faint earth runs throughout along with some nuttiness. A softly spicy hop presence rounds everything out nicely.

Ah yes, the flavor profile follows the nose closely but is even more expressive and clean. Bread-y notes galore from front to back accompanied by soft roast and a whisper of anise mid-palate with a touch of brown sugar on the finish. Noble hops add a touch of pepper spiciness to balance the virgin clean malt bill. Even handed and delicious.

I like both rich, fuller bodied schwarzbiers and their lighter, easier drinking brethren. Magnetron falls in the middle of the spectrum. It's not chewy but there is some texture. The body sits firmly at moderate in weight, as does the carbonation. The finish is spicy, without being bitter, and nice and dry, aiding drinkability. One simply isn't enough.

Metropolitan, in my not so humble opinion, is one of the best, if not the best, German-style breweries in the United States. Magnetron is clean and crisp with a great depth of flavor. There are no hard lines here, everything segues perfectly into the next. Another home run by those fine folks on Ravenswood.

Dec 17, 2014
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chanokokoro from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an unbranded mug

Pours a dark chocolate brown capped by a light beige two finger head. Average retention, splotchy lacing. Husked grain, biscuity notes, toffee accents, and just a touch of cocoa powder. Opens with toffee and just a touch of cocoa. Biscuity malt joins in with just a touch of almond and finishes with hints of caramel and grassy hops. Heavier side of light bodied with a fairly high level of lively carbonation. A really nice, easy drinking black lager. Nice to see Metropolitan brewing a schwarzbier. Overall, it's a German style that is sometimes overlooked, and considering Metropolitan's past history with other German styles it's no surprise that this brew is another winner.

Mar 31, 2014
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barnzy78 from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - cola-like colored beer with a creamy tan head that leaves some stickiness on the glass
S - cream, roasted malt, caramel, yeast
T - very creamy, chocolate, roasted barley, earthy hops toward the finish
F - smooth and creamy, medium body, finishes semi-dry
O - drinks kind of like a milk stout and is different than some other Schwarzbiers out there. This is a good one. It's easy drinking and definitely sessionable.

Feb 12, 2014
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falloutsnow from Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From: Binny's, Schaumburg, IL
Date: None on bottle, late 2013 release
Glass: Ayinger willi glass

Metropolitan's Magnetron is a fairly true-to-style schwarzbier, with no over-the-top flavors, just an excellent blend of medium to low-level flavors that are smoothed to near perfection by appropriate lagering. Having enjoyed many schwarzbiers, I can say that this is one of the more flavorful and sessionable black lagers I have tried. Glad I was able to enjoy this during the winter months, hope it returns next year. Also a pleasure that it was in six-packs for $11.

Pours a 1cm tall head of beige-colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles, frothy-looking, with above average retention of about two minutes. The head falls to a thin cap of residual lace atop the body of the beer, thicker around the edges of the glass. Lacing is good, with some large dots and blotches clinging in moderately dense patches across all sides of the glass. Body is a very dark amber brown color, bordering on black, with light bringing out slightly brighter amber brown hues. Carbonation visible through the transparent, though dark, beer, moderate in number and activity.

Aroma of pleasant light caramel sweetness, with depth of character in charred toast, mild vanilla, cocoa, toasted bread, nuts, and biscuit. The scents really come through as the beer warms, becoming surprisingly substantial and delicious.

Taste of moderate mild caramel sweetness accentuated by smooth, charred toast and cocoa, a bit of toasted biscuit, and faint vanilla. Front of palate tastes smooth caramel-like sweetness, slight roasted malt and resulting cocoa, vanilla, and slight toasted nuts. Mid-palate of toasted bread, hints of charred crust and cocoa, faint vanilla, toasted nuts, all atop a mild caramel-like sweetness. Back of palate tastes lightly roasted malt with carmel-like sweetness and a faint hint of bitterness from roasted malt or hop usage. Aftertaste is of toasted bread, caramel-like sweetness, toasted nuts, and slight cocoa.

Beer is medium to medium-light in body, with carbonation of medium intensity, leading to a mouthfeel that is fairly well-balanced between foaminess (4/7) and smoothness (3/7), just bordering on fizziness at times, but never reaching it. Closes dry, with light lingering stickiness clinging to the palate and lips.

Jan 14, 2014
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haveaduff2 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Upfront, let me say that I'm a /big/ fan of Metropolitan, so maybe I'm biased. I'm also a big fan of schwarz's. I think this may be the best I've had in the states. My old favorite, Black Bavarian by Sprecher, is now in second place. I drank Kostritzer in Germany and have tried various incarnations throughout the world, but this tops them all. Sweet balanced by roast with a dry, clean finish. Perfect.

Jan 09, 2014
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emerge077 from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a pint at Lizards.

Dark brown pour and black in the glass, there's two fingers of billowing foam and copious irregular rings of drippy lacing. When held to the light it has a ruby glow.
Great head retention, the foam never breaks.

Nutty aroma, slight roasted grain, a little faint and subdued but pleasant.

Very smooth and supple feel, creamy texture. Nutty malt and light coffee roastiness. Slight yeast presence, but the subtle roasty malt dominates, with a dry nutty aftertaste.

Overall this is a great schwarzbier, one of the best local ones in recent memory.

Jan 04, 2014
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knepper from Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown to black with a white head. Taste is smooth roast, wheat toast, and fresh grains. There is a slight sulphur note and some acidity to balance everything out. This is a tasty beer - these guys are killing it. Love the beers coming of Metropolitan lately. I've never been so excited to go grab the next lager release...

Dec 21, 2013
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beatenbyjacks from Colorado

3.22/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this into a pint glass

Appearance - dark brown with a dark caramel head with little lacing

Smell - dark chocolate and roasted malts. Bitter smell at the end

Taste - lots of chocolate and a bit malty at the end

Mouthfeel - very smooth and easy to drink. Malty taste left in our mouth

Overall - not my typical style at all, but easy drinking beer

Dec 09, 2013
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TTAmod from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is the new release from Metropolitan Brewing, a great little brewery in Chicago that focuses on lagers and lagering.

This bottle was poured into a pint glass. No visible date stamp.

A: Very dark brown, not quite black. Clear with a thick, tan head that sticks around for awhile.

S: Smell is primarily of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, and roasted malts. Slight acidic smell and sweetness.

T: Very roasty and nutty. Starts off with slightly sweet chocolate and coffee. Really hard hitting near the end with the roasted malts and hazelnuts. Slight hop bitterness, metallic twang, and coffee-like acidity near the end.

M: Very smooth. Body is medium, yet feels nice and full. Very easy-drinking like a good schwarz should be.

O: Another good beer from Metropolitan. Haven't had many Schwarzbiers, but this is one of the better ones I've had. Very strong taste, but good mouthfeel and drinkability that the style deems necessary.

Nov 23, 2013
Magnetron from Metropolitan Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 129 ratings