Beer Review: Black Forest Schwarzbier (Desperate Times Brewery)

Beer Review: Black Forest Schwarzbier (Desperate Times Brewery)

The Black Forest Schwarzbier by Desperate Times Brewery

Its a Cold Wintry Day

We got some snow – finally – on Tuesday – February 13th. Fascnacht day. Work closed so I had essentially a snow day just as if I was a little kid again. The electricians who were working on the upstairs and redoing the upstairs electrical work on Monday, weren’t able to come out (in fact, they just now got here on Thursday), and so it was just me and Scarlet for the day while Amy went to work. But after Amy got done with work and came home. And after we put Scarlet to bed, it was time to enjoy ourselves a cold one with dinner.

Amy went for a tried and true beer, and a style we both really enjoy, on this cold and blustery day. A day where a lot of people in our area were without power – which luckily we had, a Schwarzbier was a feel good style for the evening. A wonderful mix of being dark, being heavy, but also being light, it went perfect with the ham dinner.

Desperate Times Brewery

Desperate Times Brewery is one of our favorite little “local” breweries. (Local in the sense that Carlisle is a little out of the way from Hummelstown, but not too incredibly far.) I’ve gotten to go three times there – once with my daughters and twice with Amy. The food has always been wonderful, the service and staff always pleasant and on point, and of course the beers have always been great. We’ve picked up cans of their beers several times at Breski’s Beverages or West Connection Beer Vault, and I’ve even had a beer or two of theirs at the Harrisburg Senators games. (See Beer Review: Pineapple Kolsch)

If you are in the Carlisle area, they are located right next to the Carlisle Fairgrounds in a pretty building (you can’t miss it). It was formerly a John Deere Tractor Dealership.

The food is authentic German wursts; bratwursts, sausages, kielbasas, etc. If you enjoy the German authentic food, you will one hundred percent love their food. Its all on point, its delicious, and the wonderful beer from Desperate Times Brewery washes it all down excellently.

Beer Review

The Black Forest Schwarzbier by Desperate Times Brewery

Beer: Black Forest Schwarzbier
Brewery: Desperate Times Brewery
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 24
Untappd Description: Slightly toasty with moderate malt character balanced by hip bitterness

It’s a rare delight to stumble upon a brew that can transport you to another place and time with just a sip. Desperate Times Brewery’s Black Forest Schwarzbier is precisely such a brew, offering a dark, mysterious journey into the heart of Germany’s storied Schwarzwald, or Black Forest, with each glass.


The pour is a mesmerizing event in itself, with the beer cascading into the glass like a nocturnal stream, settling into a deep, opaque sable that’s nearly as dark as the forest it’s named after. A robust, tan head crowns the brew, lingering with persistence and draping the sides of the glass in intricate lacing as it leisurely recedes.


Bringing the glass closer, the aroma beckons with whispers of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hint of coffee. There’s an earthiness there too, reminiscent of a forest floor after a rain, with subtle undertones of dark berries and a wisp of smokiness, as if catching the scent of a distant campfire.


The first sip is both robust and remarkably smooth, a testament to the craftsmanship behind this Schwarzbier. The flavors mirror the nose closely, with the roasted malts leading the charge, unfolding into layers of bittersweet chocolate and cold brew coffee. Mid-palate, there’s a delightful surprise of dark cherry and blackberry, lending a slight, refreshing tartness that balances the malt’s richness. The finish introduces a gentle hop bitterness, just enough to cleanse the palate, accompanied by a lingering smokiness that ties each sip back to the imagery of the Black Forest.


Medium-bodied with a smooth, almost velvety texture, the carbonation is moderate, ensuring the beer remains both refreshing and satisfyingly rich. Despite its dark demeanor, there’s an elegance and ease to its drinkability, making it suitable for both contemplative sipping and social enjoyment.

Overall Impression:

Desperate Times Brewery’s Black Forest Schwarzbier is a masterful homage to its namesake, capturing the essence of the storied German landscape in liquid form. It’s a beer that demands attention, not just for its depth of flavor but for the experience it offers—a journey through the shadows of the Black Forest, with each sip a step deeper into its enchanting embrace.

Ideal for those chilly evenings when the wind whispers tales of distant lands, this Schwarzbier pairs beautifully with hearty meals, yet possesses the grace to stand alone as a sessionable marvel. Whether you’re a staunch devotee of dark beers or a curious wanderer in the vast world of craft brews, the Black Forest Schwarzbier by Desperate Times Brewery is a voyage worth embarking upon.

This tastes wonderfully right off the first sip. This has that wonderfully roasty, somewhat bready, malty taste. (I feel like we’re adding a lot of Y’s to words, but thats kind of how describing tasting and beer notes are. Just bear with us on it all.) The roast and the malt perform excellently here with the Black Forest. This feels like a deep and heavy beer, but its also very light and airy at the same time, and coming in at 5.2% its not knocking you on your keister or anything like that either. On a cold, dark, wintry night, it feels and just hits right. It feels like its giving you a more heavy warming up beer but at the same time being light and not too heavy.

My Untappd Rating: ****

Global Average Untappd Rating: 3.75 (as of 2.15.24)

More Information on Desperate Times Brewery

The following comes via Untappd. Desperate Times Brewery is a microbrewery from Carlisle, PA. They have 50 unique beers and over 27,000 ratings, and a global average rating of 3.71 (as of 2.15.24). Their Untappd description is currently blank.

You can follow them on the following social media platforms:


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