Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel is one of those classic international beers that’s predictably underappreciated by aficionados. Its Beer Advocate score is B-minus. Rate Beer gives it a 48. But me, I give it an A for sure. No, it’s not obscure or hip or ultra-rare or hopped with the ashes of a dead poet from the 16th Century. What it is, though, is a damn fine beer with a taste so smooth that it brings tears of joy to my eyes. Like Bass Ale, another marginally maligned import, it’s in my personal beer top ten ahead of countless “critically acclaimed” micro brews. Dunkels, dark lagers that originated in 16th Century Bavaria, are one of my favorite beer styles because they tend to be rich and flavorful but not at all bitter. Typically they’re gently-hopped beers that get their malty taste from triple decoction and their dark color from liberal amounts of Munich malts. Warsteiner’s version of the dunkel may not be the best in the world, but it’s up there! Perhaps it suffers in the eyes of beer geeks because it’s not a “big” beer. Its flavor, while delicious, is very mild and subtle. It won’t blow you away. But I don’t necessarily want to be blown away by a beer. I want a smooth, tasty beer that hits all the right notes. And Warsteiner Premium Dunkel is precisely that. It’s sweet and malty (but not overly sweet!), and the notes are some of my favorites: toffee, caramel, toasted grain. Man, it’s just so smooth! Sometimes advertising catch phrases like “smooth and drinkable” just mean that a beer tastes like nothing, but in this case it’s God’s honest truth. If I had to select for myself a “last meal”, it would be either A) two Tony Packo’s MOAD hot dogs with paprikas dumplings and a bowl of chili or B) a German sausage buffet of bratwurst, rostbratwurst, bockwurst, knackwurst, and leberkase (with a side of kraut). In both cases, I’d wash it all down with a 48-ounce boot mug of Warsteiner. Mmmm- what a way to go out!

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