Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
By: Chris Lukie
Regional breweries are what I feel a craft brewer strives for. They want to be the go to brand for everyone within a 30 mile radius at minimum, yet will happily serve beyond those borders. Ayinger is an ancient brewery found outside Munich, which does just that. Although they cannot partake in Oktoberfest, they have established themselves as The Local craft brewery and also exports to America to share their perfect brews. A simple train ride to the town of Aying, a few minute walk to the brewery which is clearly visible from the station, and you experience a beautiful brewery made for jaw dropping and expecting it as well. They treat you well (you pay 5 or 10 euros for it) with a guided tour, a souvenir glass, full mugs of beer from the tanks, a dedicated area that serves as brewery basics and a museum of sorts, and a big finish that includes multiple tastings. Of course they brew only German styles, but they make the Beautiful Beverage perfectly. Which is a good thing cause they have had enough years to get that shit right.
First Impression: Ayinger delivers this brew in an easy to hold 17 oz brown bottle. To me this is the perfect size. It fits in my hand perfectly. It’s a great serving size. It fills my glass just right. All coming up positive. The label is classy and vintage in the German manner, but a bit tame compared to our colorful ‘play on words’ beer names and eye catching bottle clothing.
Pour: This Beautiful Beverage pours black, and held to the light you see a crystal clear beer of a brilliant reddish color. The head is stable and you could hear the carbonation sizzling just trying to hold those aromatics in.
Taste: Nose then tongue. For your pleasure. I smell caramel with a whiff of coffee and roasted malt flicking the tip of my nose. The taste is true bottom fermented goodness mixed with caramel and roast. Lager-like crispness and slight warming from this medium body brew makes me smile. The roast flavour quickly disappears, but the crystal lingers. Hops are nothing more than a balance point here and play their supporting role with Oscar perfection. This is a great session brew that is both enjoyable and drinkable.
IBU: Just right.