Saturday, November 1, 2008
Dunkel weisse seemed to drop off the Irish beer radar entirely over the last few years. Erdinger's offering is almost ubiquitous, of course, but Franziskaner's more satisfying dunkel disappeared quite some time ago. So it was very exciting to wander into one of Dublin's best off licences and find three brand new dunkels on the shelf produced by breweries that I am already fond of. The first was Weinhenstephaner Dunkel, producers of the eponymous and satisfying heffe and Vitus, so I greatly anticipated this dark beer. I thought it a little light in colour when I poured in to the glass (I'm certain dunkel was darker when I was younger...) and the flavour proved a bit light too. It reminded me more of a full on straight up weiss like Schneider rather than its darker counterpart. It has been quite some time since I have tried this style of beer, but this just wasn't the experience I recalled. It was very pleasant with all the spicy Bavarian bits in place, but not the dark beer I anticipated. The second dunkel on offer was from Maisel, producers of the very fine Maisel's Weiss, another beer from my early days of beer appreciation. This one proved a little more satisfying on the colour and flavour front, but still wasn't quite what I had hoped for. Again, the darker malts didn't really show through and it could easily be confused with a heavy Weiss. Perhaps my perceptions are biased in some way by erroneous halcyon memories from my youth and these beers are indeed fine examples of dunkel weisse. It's hard to know. I have yet to try the third one, which is also from Weinhenstephaner, but is dubbed 'tradition', and I am very keen to see what this might mean. Perhaps this one will meet with my memory clouded expectations.