Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ayinger Brewery's Altbairisch Dunkel Lager

Ayinger Brewery is located in Aying, Bavaria which is about 40 miles from Munich. It was originally founded in 1878 by some German dude who, by now, is probably dead. They built up a new brewery in 1999, which thus proves that Germans were not intimidated by the Y2K virus and frivolously invested in new equipment and buildings. These characters won a load of awards consisting of "World's Top 10 Best Breweries". I'm not one to actually brag about awards that beers get, but this beer itself has won the Gold Medal and World Championships in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. I figure they didn't win it in 2000 due to Y2K. This is also a pretty small operation, consisting of less than 100 people. Their chief exporting countries are Italy, Finland, and, my favorite, the United States. They also have a beer called "Lager Hell" which must be some sort of translation thing because the label suggests its a beer to drink around Easter Time.

You might be wondering what "Altbairisch Dunkel" means, unless you're German. In English it translates to "Old Bavarian Dark Beer". This is a traditional Old School style beer. Most villages in Germany, prior to WW2, had dark, flavorful beers until crap like Budweiser came out and convinced people, like my dad, that light, watery beers are the cat's pajamas; preferably in 10oz cans. Burn!

I like their merchant website because it says "first time beer drinkers are often shocked that this dark beer has such an inviting taste". First of all, I haven't met a first time beer drinker since the 3rd grade. And second of all, if they never had beer before, why would they be so surprised?

Now I'm all about reviewing beer; not as much as drinking it mind you. But I had, HAD, to quote a review on this beer. "A good example of its kind. Impenetrably dark with a golden-brown gleam when held up to the light, and with a warm aroma and malty taste, while summoning up coffee taste sensations on going down. It is brewed from five types of malt (two of which are torrified dark), and it is only lightly hopped." That was written by Michael Jackson himself! Not THE Michael Jackson, a Michael Jackson.

But now for my review. I'm not first time beer drinker but this 5.0% ABV lager goes down smoother than a hairless cat stuffed in a wool sock going down one of those yellow spiral slides they have at playgrounds. It isn't as flavorful as the darkness implies but a richer, tastier flavor than your traditional lagers. It has a nutty taste, mixed with a hint of toffee. I can smell more chocolate that I can taste and is certainly low on the hops. It's got hints of caramel but not really any overbearing tastes that overwork you tongue.

I picked this up for $4 for half a liter at the beer store. It's pretty good for a lager. It's sort of a middle ground between a lager and a darker beer, like a porter. I'm not exactly sure when you would buy a beer like this. It's good, don't get me wrong. I suppose if you were hot and wanted a darker lager this would be a good purchase, but not flavorful enough to replace a porter when you want one.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 6.0/10

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