Both pinnacle and bridge builder
A Review of Altbairisch Dunkel by Ayinger Brewery
Posted on 3/31/2014 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
An inevitability of every craft beer journey is the discovery of a mind-blowing brewery. Any beer fan can find a brewery they enjoy or admire, but bowing to your first world-class brewer is a humbling experience. I remember feeling confident about my palate going into my first beer from the Ayinger Brewery out of Germany. Oh how I was woefully mistaken. I took one sip of their delectable Bräu-Weisse and came to the immediate conclusion that I was still a budding craft beer novice. My eyes had been officially opened to the top tiers of beer. That was many years ago and I have been a proselytizing Ayinger fan every since. To this day, when I need a healthy dose of brewing clarity, I reach for an Ayinger brew. I recently sat down with their Altbairisch Dunkel, a delectable Munich dark lager straight from the motherland.

In the glass, this beer had a dark brown coloration with a warm reddish hue. It came with a creamy beige head that had great retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a sweet malty aroma full of caramel, toffee, chocolate, and toasted bread. Notes were clean, balanced, and genuinely inviting. As expected, this introduction hit the nail on the stylistic head. I couldn't help but grin in delight as I dove in for the first sip.

It doesn't take long to fully understand how quality Munich Dunkels set themselves apart from their lighter cousins. They retain the high accessibility of easy-drinking lagers, but with the addition of body and flavor complexity. When all is said and done, this beer clocks in at a wee 5% ABV. However, it packs the flavor punch of a strong meaty brown ale. I found notes of toasted brown bread, sweet caramel, earthy malts, chocolate, toffee, plus hints of coffee and raisins. The hop profile was quite mild and added a faint yet complimentary bitterness. Its medium body was silky smooth on the palate. The finish was very clean and exited with a savory aftertaste of caramel and coffee roast. To be honest, the beer drank much like a mug of chilled sweetened coffee.

Overall, it should come as no surprise that Ayinger's Altbairisch Dunkel is a world-class offering. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: if you want to understand a particular beer style, try Ayinger's version. This delectable nectar is no different. It is stellar example of the Munich Dunkel style. Needless to say, this is a beer that I can recommend to any and all beer fans. Seasoned drinkers shall be humbled. Novices shall be mesmerized. Altbairisch Dunkel, like all other Ayinger brews, is both pinnacle and bridge builder. These are the beers that both geek and noob can sit down together with and say, ''I had no idea that beer could be this good.''

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Altbairisch Dunkel by Ayinger Brewery
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