The first Lithuanian beer imbibed (circa ’07) has 4.8% alcohol strength, muted barley waft, soapy grain malts, and hearty brown ale-like mocha nuttiness. Soft citric hop zest provides additional depth to creamy honey-roasted finish.
Indecisive deep maroon-bodied soft beige-headed dark lager (caught betwixt less resilient rauchbier and styptic Schwarzbier) drapes beechwood-smoked malts across suspect chocolate-anise bitterness, losing glazed ham and cured meat illusions as sharp-tongued phenol hop char increases. Ashy earthen astringency, wavered cocoa-fig sourness, and roasted nut harshness deplete marble rye hints.
Peculiar seim-flat maroon-hued moderate body remindful of sweet milk stout brings syrupy maple smokiness to dry cigar leaf pleasantry, rain-drenched charred redwood spell, and dry pulp tinge. Thin watery finish depletes brown sugar caress and tar-like backdrop. Don’t be fooled by its beautiful chocolate aromatics. Creamy caramel-chocolate center gets overbearingly cloy, ruining relaxing mood. Also sold as Cuzco Dark Peruvian Lager.
Cascading brownish tan bubbles provide nice visual accessory while pouring frothy-headed ruby-maroon Schwarzbier. Way too slick on the blanched backend (and a tad phenol besides) to recommend to serious dark lager admirers. Yet chalky nuttiness, black chocolate coarseness, fig-licorice twinge and evasive blackened wood bitterness nearly make up for poor cardboard finish.
Luminescent chestnut-hued dark brew counters lighter Heineken Lager’s astringent bitterness by straying from typical yeast-soured hop pungency characteristic of most Dutch brews. Pleasing sweet caramel nose leads to roasted barleymalt mouthfeel dominating sweet ‘n sour chocolate, cocoa, and coffee. But timid finish and fizzy assertion block much-needed grain inertia.
In the 1970s, Lowenbrau and Beck’s were thankfully imported into a dire U.S. macrobrew market, but when Miller took over the formula for American consumption, flavor and strength dissipated. It has now lost its edge to more authentic microbrews. The American version lacked complexity. As for the bubbly-headed Swiss variety, mildly bitter hop nose detected amongst dark malt pungency and clammy sour vegetal sag. Try instead the creamier, tangier imported version from Germany on tap for a four star adventure.
Bottled in ’96, consumed in 2002, idiomatic 10-month-aged full-bodied lager warms like a spectacular dessert treat, bringing ripe cherry overtones and dry plum intimacy to its capacious chocolate liqueur center. Sweet raisin and sour prune juxtaposing heavy cream finish catapults prune-hued Swiss variant to exalted grandeur its Austrian version also maintains. Barleywine, burgundy, and brandy lovers should indulge in its complexity.