You win some, you lose some.

My algorithm for choosing a craft beer to try for this column goes as follows: Stop by Woodman’s or Festival and grab the first six-pack that is interesting and is different than what I’ve tried recently. Usually I find something new I like, and occasionally I find something I’m not so thrilled with.

This time around, it was the latter. I’m just not a fan of Pecatonica’s Nightfall Lager.

I used to like creamy dark beers, but as the years have gone by, I have lost my taste for them. Grabbing the six-pack of Nightfall, I figured it would be darker and maltier than a normal lager, but was surprised when I poured my first glass and took a sip.

It’s rich and malty, with sweet notes and toasty flavors. But for my tastes, it is a little too sweet, and lacked some of the defining characteristics that I want in a beer calling itself a lager.

It didn’t have that crispness, that pop you get after taking a pull. A drink started and ended the same way, with a lot of sweetness and a little bit of bitterness or acidity.

Without that pop, it just was missing something, I felt. I’m sure its hard to get that in a dark beer, and similar brews such as Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark also lack the pop. But if you are going to put the word lager in the title, my thoughts are that you should try to get the defining characteristic of one in the brew.

I give Nightfall a 6/10. As for pairing, I felt the sweet notes and richness of flavors would go well with red meat such as a steak and even better with one that has some of the notes of Southern Barbecue in it. Ball tips are my favorite as you get all the flavor, tenderness and juiciness of a more expensive cut, but at a much lower price.

Pepper Jack Barbecue Steak

Ingredients:

2 eight-ounce ball tip steaks

Season salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Three slices of Pepper Jack cheese

½ cup barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons water

Directions: If grilling outdoors, set your gas grill to medium-high or stoke your charcoal grill as normal. If cooking inside, heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium high heat.

One half hour before cooking, take the steaks out of the refrigerator and season both sides to taste. Mix the barbecue sauce, olive oil and water to form a glaze.

When the grill is hot, place the steaks and cook each side until desired doneness is achieved, about six minutes per side for medium-well. Glaze the non-cooking side of the steak with the sauce mixture.

During the last 30 second of cooking, add the pepper jack slices on top. Remove from grill and rest for at least five minutes with a tinfoil tent before serving.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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