Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


Sprecher Brewing Co.
Glendale, WI

Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
ABV: 5.7%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
• Goulash
Indigenous to southern and western parts of Africa, Shakparo is one of Sprecher’s offerings in their African-style beer series. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, it’s brewed with sorghum, an adjunct that’s seeing a rapid rise in popularity among craft brewers interested in producing gluten-free brews. Because sorghum is, technically, a grain, alcoholic beverages made from it are, indeed, beer, even though sorghum more resembles sugarcane in how it is processed for food—normally, juice is extracted from the stalk and refined through boiling. A shakparo-style beer, though, is made from malted kernels of the plant.

Sprecher’s take on the shakparo pours an extremely cloudy orange gold. It sports a decent head that fritters quickly away into a super-fine mesh of bubbles. The aroma is a strong scent of bananas and cloves, a dead ringer for a Bavarian-style hefeweizen—at first. As the beer warms, its complex nose comes out to play: dried, cut grass and a buttery aroma along the lines of movie theatre popcorn. Interesting. This brew’s got a super-soft mouthfeel, and is smooth and crisp on the tongue. There is a tiny hint of bitterness, maybe or maybe not from hops, but it’s way in the background. There is some maltiness, too, but the esters completely dominate. If I hadn’t poured the beer myself, I would swear that this was a very good hefe.

Which makes sense, I guess, since wheat beers are traditional summer drinks, and I doubt there are much hotter summers than you’d have in Africa (which is winter up here in the northern hemisphere, where the toilets flush the other way around, or at least that’s what cartoons and X-Files reruns tell me).

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 11, 2007.
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