The True Taste Of Beer

IMG_20150927_165720If someone said to me, give me an example of a “real” beer, one that deserves the appellation with a capital B, I’d have to say Hofbräu Dunkel, the dark lager of the storied old Munich brewer.

This is a recent import here and at under four months from packaging, renders the local taste with good fidelity. Too many German imports over the years get here too late in the distribution channel, or are damaged in some way (light, heat) or … just don’t taste right.  Recently though, we have had a number of good imports in this genre and it’s good to see: the blonde helles and pils-type beers are over-represented. DAB Dark has been tasting very good lately, and ditto the aforementioned Hofbrau Dunkel. On top of this there is a handful of good local versions of dunkel, of which Side Launch Munich-Style Dark Lager is the best in my estimation.

Dunkel means dark lager and the coloured malts are in evidence, you get a complex coffee/butterscotch/light liquorice note, very appetizing when the beer is fresh but which tastes indifferent or worse when the beer is too old or damaged. The sample pictured was in tip-top shape, with just enough hop to lift the taste but not traduce its classification (stylistically) as the original lager of Bavaria, which was dark or in that direction, not blonde.

The people who make this know everything there is about fine beer, one taste confirms it. I’m sure locally without pasteurization it’s even better but this sample is very good. Beer, to be great and regardless of style, has to have the “right” taste; this one does.

2 thoughts on “The True Taste Of Beer”

  1. Hi Gary,
    Just catching up on some of your recent posts. Great stuff, wall-to-wall, as usual.

    Speaking of storied brewers: have you dared (bothered?) to try the breakaway product from Guinness – their blonde lager? I’m hesitant.

    • Sean, good to hear from you, and thanks. This article resumes the recent releases:

      There is a golden lager as well in the UK (or was, some of these come and go). It may be the same as the blonde you are referring to, I’m not sure.

      I haven’t tried any of these. I’ve never seen West Indies Porter or Dublin Porter in the states, maybe they are there now, I’ll look when in NYC in November.

      The nitro IPA doesn’t interest me, I don’t like nitro in any beers. In Guinness itself (the basic stout) it is tolerable, but in pale ale it ruins the taste, IMO. Reviews I’ve read seem so-so on the beer. As for the West Indies Porter and Dublin Porter, the former got good reviews but people said IIRC that Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES) was better, and FES has been available for some years in the U.S. So far it is the best Guinness available IMO.

      What Guinness needs to do to get my attention is release an all-malt, bottle-conditioned stout as it was in the 1800’s. Recipes exist from that time and anytime the company would know from its own records. It needs to rediscover its own history rather than engage in these desultory (in my opinion) stabs at new products.


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