You know what’s not easy? Finding a dark lager (or a black beer, or a dunkel, or a schwarzbier) in San Diego. I spent ten minutes at the bottle shop carefully perusing the cases of domestic brews (and making a mental wish list of other beers I now desperately want to try — is this how other women feel about shoes?) before I mentally smacked myself on the head and went over to the import case. Even that was tough because German and Belgian beers don’t seem to follow the same naming and labeling standards, half the beers just had foreign names, plus I was really tired and fighting allergies…
So eventually I found a dunkel from a German brewery — officially it’s a Munich Dunkel Lager (which is really fun to say) and because I cropped the photo below so you can’t see the mess I pushed off to the side of my little bistro table, you also can’t see the top label that calls it “Authentic Bavarian Dark.” And I realized I used to drink dunkels all the time in college, before I moved to San Diego, land of “can we add more hops???” (Not that I’m complaining. Hoppy beer, hoppy life, right?)
Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel (5% ABV)
Color/appearance: very dark amber/brown/cola-colored. It had a definite reddish tinge when I held it up to the light, as you can see below. There was a thick light tan head (at least an inch?) when first poured that dissipated quickly.
Aroma: malty, some nutty notes on the nose
Taste: It’s a lot lighter than it looks (for some reason I love beers like that. I don’t know why). It was a little sweet, but not caramel-y, which I liked (I’m not a caramel fan). It was malty, but not overly so. Nice medium mouthfeel, crisp with light carbonation.
Overall: I really enjoyed this. Because it’s a style I hardly ever drink, I can’t say if this particular beer is really good, or just dunkels in general are tasty. It’s not like an IPA where I have dozens of other beers to compare it to. Which I think means…I should try more dunkels. Right?
Ever drink dark lagers (dunkels, schwarzbiers, etc.)? Do you have a favorite?