Posts Tagged ‘Dunkel Weiss’

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Black is the new Black

June 18, 2010

It’s winter and a stereotype might suggest that this is the perfect time for dark beers. Of course dark beers can be perfect any time of the year but there’s certainly an element of truth that they become very appealing at this time of year along with rich, warming food.

Early in my beer drinking career I was a big fan of dark beers such as Monteith’s Dark and Black Mac but then as my interest in beer grew, my taste for dark styles waned. It’s only now that I’m getting back into dark beers and my tastes are quite particular.

Stout in my mind is highly overrated, in particular a certain well-known brew from Ireland. I will grant you that the Pogues and Jameson Whiskey are two of the very best things in this World, but Guinness – please!?! This was a beer that originally used Roasted Barley simply because it had less tax applied to it than malted grain – a cheap adjunct in the same way we beer snobs now think of rice or corn. On the other hand, Stout’s cousin Porter can be amazing. And then there is Dunkelwiezen – proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy if ever I saw it.

My top dark beer recommendations to get you through winter are as follows (some liberty taken as to the darkness of beer):

Renaissance Stonecutter: Anyone who knows me or reads this blog is probably well aware by now that I worship at the Stonecutter altar. This Scotch ale is truly one of the finest beers in this World with its dense layers of rich mahogany and a touch of smoke. Perfect winter nightcap beside a roaring fire (or heat pump).

Invercargill Brewery Pitchblack: Even though I just had a go at Stout, this one is enough to change my opinion. Dark, full-bodied, slightly sweet and displaying just the right amount of that delicious dark malt character, this is an extraordinarily good beer. Nothing at all to fault here.

Three Boys Porter: I haven’t had one of these this year but have fond memories of a couple of pints of from 2009. A very drinkable beer that makes you sit up and think – ‘damn, that’s a good beer, I think I’ll get another!’

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black: Dark beers are all about the malt – or are they? Pot Kettle Black is for the hop loving, dark beer connoisseur. Call it an American Porter, call it a Black IPA, call it whatever, this beer will change your perceptions about dark beer.

Townshend Old House ESB: A local favourite of mine, the complex flavours of this estery English ale include fudge and cidery fruit – perfect for a quiet night at home by the fire.

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue): A bit like Champagne for the beer World, a 750ml bottle of Chimay Blue is going to make you feel special during those cold winter months. A bit like drinking spritzy, liquid cinnamon. Proof that beer brings happiness as if you needed it.

Mac’s Sassy Red: Every beer lover without a gold-plated pay packet and family to support needs a good domestic beer to tide them over. For me, this is Mac’s Sassy Red. I wasn’t always a fan – every second one was good but now I’m a total convert to the deliciously fresh, waxy, nutty malt character and spicy NZ hops. Proof that Mac’s can still deliver the goods.

Schneider Weisse Aventinus: Incredibly rich and luxurious, a perfect display of what a combination of wheat yeast and sweet, dark malts can achieve.

Which reminds me, NZ craft brewers need to release more dark wheat beers! And consider more sessionable examples around 5% abv without the hot alcohol flavours that make my tongue itch. I’ve even had a go at this at home (astute readers with an interest in 90’s ‘grunge’ music may even recognise the album I ripped-off this concept for my beer label from):

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The wall of beer

July 10, 2009

Nelson, far from being a regional backwater is filled to the brim with all kinds of great beer – the only problem being, which beer to choose? In no place is the problem more acute than at the wall of beer at Fresh Choice, Collingwood St – conveniently located just round the block from work. Many a lunchtime and Friday evening have I spent at the wall, eyeballing all sorts of delicious looking bottles – the English Ales, the Belgians and just about every NZ craft beer known to man. Fresh Choice also do a beer tasting every Friday at 4pm, though unfortunately, I’m usually otherwise occupied with a little diversion called work.

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One solution I like is to simply to buy more beer. I’ve had a hop craving all day and so tonight, Pale Ale was always going to be on the menu. I went for the Dux Le Lux Nor’wester which I developed quite a taste for on my last trip to Christchurch. This is the first beer of theirs that I’ve tried in the bottle after many glasses on location in the Garden City. I’d have to favour beer fresh from keg but this was still an enjoyable brew despite the lack of foam – rich and dark, the strong 6.5% abv is certainly evident. There’s a full malty sweetness upfront, followed by an enjoyable hop bitterness. This beer is mainly about the malt and the caramel/toffee biscuit finish completes this beer as a fine example of a New Zealand Pale Ale.

Few things in life could be more luxurious than Dunkel Weiss or dark wheat beer. After trying Emerson’s example a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try Green Man’s new Choc Krystal Weiss. This is obviously an entrant in Wellington’s Beervanva coming up in August as this is advertised on the cap. Like Emerson’s, I assume the same yeast as their regular Hefe Weizen offering has been employed in this beer – therefore comparisons can be drawn. And while Emerson’s was a fine conventional example, Green Man – like some of their other beers – is somewhat off-the-beaten-track.

The aroma is chocolate-chip muffins, spice and then unusually, a whiff of olive brine! The beer pours with a lovely creamy head. I wasn’t quite sure if this beer was filtered as the name suggests and thought I spotted some yeast in the bottom of the bottle which I swished with the remaining beer and poured into my glass. If there was indeed yeast it was minimal. For the taste there is certainly banana but what sets this beer apart is the restrained sweetness – standing out is an enjoyable chocolaty dryness, plus a slightly tart savoury finish. And yes, that unusual seawater/olive brine aroma is also evident in the taste.

I’m not sure what the Beervana judges will make of this – probably imperfect by the manual but I found this to be a unique and enjoyable  beer, plus it challenged my previous perceptions of dark wheat beer.

Call the craft beer movement a bunch of sandal and beard wearing boffins, but I had to laugh at this Victoria Bitter ad:

Update: By way of comparison, I just saw this terrible 33 Export ad on TV:

(almost as bad as the Air NZ Bare Essentials safety video with the naked, toupee-wearing flight attendant)