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Tatra Malt Liquor
What it is: Chicago's strong connections to Poland are well known to most of its citizens, but what is not as well known by the general beer drinking population is the variety of great Polish beers that find their way to the welcoming shores of Lake Michigan. Tatra Malt Liquor, brewed by Poland's notable Zywiec brewery, is a fine example of a flavorful "mocne" lager beer. "Mocne" is Polish for strong, and at 7 percent alcohol by volume the malty Tatra packs a winter-warming wallop that is sure to satisfy this January. Don't be put off by the "malt liquor" in the name. Unlike most malt liquors, this one actually tastes good; it's labeled that way for tax reasons. The Tatra is a little hard to find, as it is relatively new and a seasonal specialty, but it's well worth the effort as it is great on its own and matches marvelously with hearty winter fare.
What's in the bottle: Deep old-gold color. Aromas of honeycomb and cornbread pancake follow through on a round, chewy entry to a frothy, fruity-yet-dry medium-full body with tangy dried peach, root vegetable and praline notes. Finishes with a long honeyed orange and lemon peel, pepper and grassy hop fade.
Where to buy it: $5 for a 500 milliliter bottle at Janosik Banquet, 9126 S. Roberts Road, Hickory Hills; or $4.99 for a four-pack at Miska Liquor, 8227 W. Irving Park Road, or $5.99 at Konrad's Liquors, 6720 W. Belmont Ave.
January 5, 2010