Budweiser Budvar Dark Lager

20 Apr

• Name: Budweiser Dark Lager
• Brewer: Budweiser Budvar
• Type: Dark Lager
• Alcohol Volume: 4.7
• From: Morrison’s, Leicester
• Price: £1.99
• Drink Cold

In short: A refreshing and drinkable lager with a malty retro twist

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Perception is a funny thing; one person’s blue could well be another’s purple. One person’s dark may be another’s light.

This is exactly the mildly philosophical state of mind that Budweiser Budvar’s very own Dark Lager has put me in. Budweiser Budvar is one of the quintessential Czech breweries, hailing from the Bohemian city of České Budějovice and produces the lager which I pinned down yesterday as my favourite pale lager. Their Dark Lager is brewed in exactly the same way as their pale lager, but uses three different kinds of barley malts that give the beer a very different character. Why have they done this? Because this is the style that dominated lager before the rise of the more modern pale lagers, and so it’s almost as much of a history lesson as it is a lager.

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The beer itself has a dark amber colouring and a malted smell that hides a hint of honey. It struck me as being a kind of cellar smell; dark and a little musty. The initial taste is fairly heavy with a tone that, like the smell, is characterised by malty flavours but with the honeyed undertones of the smell deepening into the realm of caramel. It’s a clean taste however, with a natural taste that slips down without being cloying. It brings the taste that it promised and doesn’t outstay its welcome in the same way that a stronger beer might.

It isn’t, however, particularly dark to my tastes. It isn’t the sort of taste that breaks down your door and steals your heart, but more one that you spend a few very pleasant moments with. It’s quaffable, and very much a darker and more subtle version of Budweiser Budvar’s pale lager. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

It isn’t dark by the standards of British beer, however; if dark beer brings to mind a porter or stout, think again because this is most definitely a lager. But whilst this may be a fairly light beer by my standards, it is dark by the standards of a lager. It’s the sort of beer that you can enjoy in the park on a sunny day, but one that wouldn’t be out of place on a dark winter night. Just don’t expect it to be the darkest of dark, because that isn’t what it’s trying to do.

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