The seasonal Bavarian Black Lager at Heartland Brewery has a couple of attention-grabbing features going for it: Yes, there’s a high-heeled dominatrix on the label, but it’s really the accompanying slogan that’s upsetting some people. “So good, you’ll be a slave to the flavor,” it reads, and whatever Heartland’s pure intentions — S&M; notwithstanding — people are not feeling it online or, according to a Daily News reporter who seemingly canvassed people at tables, in the restaurant.
The lager has been on the brewpub’s winter menu at all of its locations for years and is always served in glasses that read “You’ll be a slave to the flavor,” so this isn’t exactly a new offense. But because the beer launched seasonally last week, advocacy groups say the brewpub should’ve found a way not to, in the words of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, “evoke the pain and trauma of our nation’s most shameful and hateful legacy and use it as a cheap marketing ploy.” Accidental or not, though, the slogan isn’t changing, at least not for now. Heartland owner Joe Bloostein said the reference “clearly refers” to the master-slave thing going on on the glass. In other words, Bloostein wants you to get your mind into the gutter. “Connecting the word ‘black’ in Bavarian Black Lager to black people is incredibly farfetched,” he tells the Daily News.