Some beers are purchased on impulse, others out of fond appreciation, some because they are a Thank Heaven for Beer – Sip With Us Saturday beer, and others out of nostalgia. As for Warsteiner Dunkel, the latter two hold true in my case.
Back in college as I started straying from cheap macro beers, Warsteiner Dunkel was a beer I frequently purchased at the local Brown Derby for a few misguided reasons. First off, I had this notion that imported beers were far better than domestic. I had not yet discovered the American craft beer scene. Second, I had this weird (but common to newbies) idea that dark brown/black beers contained more flavor and were of a higher quality than beers of a paler complexion. Lastly, it was cheap. I paid for college out of my own pocket, worked at least 50 hours a week on top of a full course load at both the undergrad and graduate level. Thrift was a necessary virtue at the time.
This past Saturday, years later, I couldn’t begin to recall the flavor of Warsteiner Dunkel, the memory of which was as faded as the memory of amniotic fluid. What did I think?
It felt great buying a single bottle of this beer! I instantly was transported back to the time when my ear lobes were gauged (00) and I rocked a Billy Idol hairdo. Maybe someday when Mike and I own a brewery and office dress code no longer applies I’ll attempt this look again.
Warsteiner Dunkel poured a crisp and clean medium brown. To be honest, it was lighter than I remember…or I was expecting it to be black. The beer really is clean, and mid size bubbles of carbonation race to the surface. The head is moderately robust, and rapidly disintigrates.
Well, what can I say…it smelled like, beer. That is, in the sense of what you remember as your first whiff of beer, which for most folks is some macro lager. There are hints of bread and toasted malts that break free but over all, this a pretty simple.
When the beer hits your tongue, you are relieved that it is bit more complicated (though not by much) than the aroma. That classic bready lager flavor is present: Grain and yeast. There is a flavor, particularly as the beer washes down, of raw grain. Mild burnt flavors are present. There is a complete absence of fruity notes, and the hop bite is subdued, but refreshingly present when the beer touches the rear portions of the tongue. There is a pleasant natural sweetness throughout the experience.
If I am going to buy a 12 pack of cheap beer, I’ll take this any day over the usual suspects (Bud, Coors, Miller), but odds are you won’t find this beer in my fridge any time soon, but it was worth the purchase for the trip down memory lane, and I found myself refreshed.
Among other German Lagers: