by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Do the Packers have enough healthy players left to play this game? Does anyone know? I think it’s still scheduled.

Rodgers might not be there, and there are almost 30 players on IR between the teams, but it seems like they’ll play. Not like those wussies in Minnesota who couldn’t play because they didn’t have a roof WAAHHH.

What to eat?

Bratwursts, the national dish of Wisconsin. Or one of there national dishes, I’m not eating fried cheese curds.

Everyone has had bratwurst before, but what exactly are they? In America, brats are sausages made from finely chopped pork. In Germany there are probably a dozen different types of bratwurst made with different seasonings and meat mixtures.


2 bratwursts per person
2 bottles of beer (see below)
1 large onion
2 bratwurst buns per person,
hotdog rolls are too small, if needed use small sub rolls

Slice the onion into 8 wedges, and separate the layers. Add to the beer in a pot large enough to hold the brats and bring to a boil over high heat. Move the pot to a section of the grill where you have the heat set to low. Allow it to drop to a simmer.

Once it is simmering, add the brats. Simmer for 20 minutes. Do not boil as they’ll split.

Brats are usually precooked, but even if the ones you have aren’t they will be cooked after this simmering.

Take the brats out of the cooking liquid and roast them over the section of the grill with high heat. Allow them to pick up some color and turn when needed.

Place a brat on each bun, and if desired top with a few of the onion pieces and mustard.

What to drink?

The Bavarian Dunkel will go great with the bratwursts. A bready, malty dark beer, Dunkel is a great style but unfortunately there are few examples available. So we’ll include 2 other Dark Lager styles as well.

The Dark Lagers occupy a space between the Light Lagers: Pilsner, Helles and Dortmunder; American Lagers; the Amber Lagers: Vienna and Octoberfest; and the Bocks: Traditional, Maibock, Doppelbock and Eisbock.

They’re darker than the Light Lagers and Amber Lagers, but their alcohol strength is the same as those styles. The color of the Dark Lagers is close to that of the Bocks (except the Maibock) but they’re not as strong.

Despite their color the Dark Lagers are closest to the Light Lagers. The Dunkel being a darker, breadier version of the Helles. The Schwarzbier a darker, but not necessarily very different in flavor or aroma version of the Pilsner. The American Dark Lager a darker version of the American Lager.

The Dunkels:

Lakefront Brewery from Milwaukee, WI calls their Dunkel Eastside Dark Lager. It will go great with the bratwursts , being a 5.5% dark brown bready lager with just a bit of roast character.

Harpoon puts out a Munich Dark year round. You can buy it at the 2 Harpoon breweries, but apart from that it is only available in mixpacks. Including their current Wintry Mix pack. Althought it has the same alcohol strength of the Eastside Dark Lager 5.5% it is significantly more bitter and is fermented as an ale rather than the traditional lager.

Harpoon also has a limited offering out right now in their 100 barrel series. 100 Barrel Oak Aged Dunkel an oak-aged cousin to their Munich Dark, is slightly stronger and just a little less bitter. Note, neither of the Harpoon Dunkels are bitter compared to an IPA or even a Pale Ale, they’re just bitter for the Dunkel style.

The Saranac craft line of FX Matt is currently including a Dunkel in their Winter mix pack. Lake Effect Lager is a nice beer slightly big for the style at almost 6% ABV but made with all German hops and malts. The limited offerings in the Saranac mixpacks have made it to 6 packs before so here’s to hoping it happens for the Lake Effect Lager.

Penn Brewing’s Penn Dark is on the low side at 4%ABV but that just means you can drink more of them. A Munich style malt heavy beer expect a strong bread crust flavor.

The schwarzbiers:

Literally “Black Beer” think of these as dark/black pilsners. Dryer and hoppier than the Bavarian Dunkel. These beers are from Northern Germany as opposed to the Southern Dunkel style. The color is misleading as they look like a porter or stout but have little to no roasted character.

Sam Adams Black Lager is easily the most widely available schwarzbier in America. 4.9% ABV and misleadingly dark.

Saranac Black Forest thats right, FX Matt doesn’t only make one they make two of these dark lager styles. The beer nerds don’t give credit where it is due with Saranac, likely because every beer isn’t an over the top Imperial barrel aged super hopped high alcohol corked and caged bottle only available 1 day every year that can be sold for $200 on Ebay. Instead they’re drinkable traditional styles including these 2 lagers that most craft breweries wouldn’t attempt to make. And the 12 packs cost about a buck a bottle. 5.3% ABV.

Magic Hat Howl is their winter seasonal. Well, one of the winter seasonals, it’s the regular one, not the IPA seasonal or the Odd Notion seasonal. Available by itself and in the Winterland mix pack. Only 4.6% ABV so it’s another beer you can drink quite a few of.

Port Midnight Sessions is another winter seasonal. The name is changing due to an agreement with Full Sail (see below) so you may see it with a new label and name soon. 5.5%.

Fisherman’s Eclipse from Gloucester’s Cape Ann Brewing is a summer time only release. You won’t find it now, but I’m including it because lagers are rare amoung New England’s craft breweries, and Schawrzbiers are rarer than rare.

The American Style Dark Lager:

What a Bavarian Dunkel is to a Bavarian Helles, the American Dark Lager is to the standard American Lager.

These used to be put out by almost all of the major national and regional breweries. There was a Schlitz Dark and a Pabst Dark for example.

Some would be called “Dark” and some, such as with Yuengling would be called “Porter”.

Full Sail Session Black, a nice beer in a unique 11 ounce stubby bottle packaging is a throwback to those days. 12 packs are about $14, but have as much beer as 11 normal bottles. A recent arrival in New England it’s very drinkable and as the name implies sessionable at 5.4% ABV. Although in England a beer of this color and strength would be called something like Headcrusher XXXX Winter Warmer and ordering one would draw worried looks from a bartender clearly convinced you’re set to burn the town down. “Sessionable” is one of those words that means different things in different places.

Dixie Blackened Voodoo is a bit up in their air. Dixie Brewing was a century-old operation in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina wiped out the brewery and it has been brewed off an on under contract at other breweries since. I can’t find a website, but you’ll occasionally find the beer.

Michelob Amber Bock is likely the closest to the old Anheuser Busch Dark beer, yes such a thing used to exist you won’t find any mention of it on the Bud website or in their official history, but you can find people selling old items like tap handles.

Narragansett has introduced a Porter. But this isn’t a throwback to the old “Dark” beers, like Narragansett Dark. It’s an authentic craft Robust Porter. Pretend it was from a West Coast brewery and call it a “Cascadian Dark Ale” and all the beer geeks would go nuts for it.

There is a fourth Dark lager style but it’s hard to find and usually can only be picked up in Europe. Even then, even in the cities where they’re made it can be hard to find. If you’re lucky you might find a Budvar Dark or even the dark beer from Pilsner Urquell.