Size Does Not Matter In the Case of De Kleine Dood

Jim Lundstrom

I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up a bottle of De Kleine Dood made by Central Waters Brewing Co. of Amherst, Wis.

I bought it because the Central Waters heron was standing on a skull and crossbones. I didn’t know what that meant, and I could find nothing on the bottle to give me a clue what was inside, so I thought, why not?

Even when I got the bomber bottle home and used a magnifying glass, I couldn’t quite make out what the Central Waters heron was standing on – the skull and cross bones was easy enough to make out and the words “Local Option” below that, and then something unreadable – perhaps in Latin, above and something else unreadable below. It looked vaguely neo-Nazi, and then with the German name of this beer, what the F is going on at Central Waters? Are they brewing for the alt-right?

“De Kleine” means “the small,” but what does “Dood” mean? It has a very personal meaning for me, but only my immediate family would know that definition. What does “Dood” mean for the larger world? I don’t know and can’t guess what the answer might be.

So I Googled “Local Option” and learn it’s a Chicago brewpub and Central Waters’ first collaborator. 

The result? A mindblowing bourbon barrel-aged Belgian-inspired Weizenbock.


Several sips in and I realize I should have gotten more than one bottle of this when I had the chance, because it is heavenly nectar.

I still don’t know what Dood means, but I want to pledge allegiance to this beer, and because of that regret the earlier Nazi reference. I still don’t get the Local Option logo. What’s that all about?

Oh, who really cares, because this beer is beyond reproach. It speaks of beauty, freedom, hope and truth. 

So good. So rich. So beautiful. So powerful!

If I had to speak these words, I would find it hard because my lips are almost sealed by the lovely stickiness of this beer.

I’ve always been a fan of the weizenbock style, but this collaboration takes the concept to an unprecedented place, a place that pleases everything – palate, heart and mind. How many beers can do that? 

On top of the rich wheat/bock mixture of grains, we get a taste of the woody, vanilla oak and just a tantalizing hint of the boozy bourbon that once resided in the same oak barrel. It’s a beautiful marriage of flavors.

If you know aht “Dood” means, let me know.

And if you find De Kleine Dood at your favorite neighborhood beer emporium, I advise you to buy all you can get, save a couple bottles for you and yours, and send the rest to me. I will then say a prayer for you and blind puppies everywhere every time I crack one open. Thanking you in advance for your consideration of blind puppies.