Due to popular demand (yeah, that means you, Russ), and the fact I did say I'd come back to this, I suppose I'd better pop up some notes on a beer that used to be my regular tipple every time I visited the local dive bar* in my wife's home town: Schwaben Bräu Das Schwarze. Beautiful looking, isn't it? But how does it taste?
The label tells us to expect it to be "Vollwürzig und hopfenherb zugleich", so spicy and hoppy-bitter at the same time, I guess.
It looks pitch-black in the glass, but it's actually a fairly clear ruby-red/brown. That light beige head has little staying power, and the aroma is hard to capture, what little there is suggesting a light roast and a touch of floral hops. The flavour is quite grainy, with a malty sweetness just like wort. It has toffee notes, too, on top of a gentle roastiness and a hint of cherry fruitiness at the back. The hops are there, as promised on the label, and they do in fact give a pleasant herbal spiciness to counter the malt-juice effect.
So, sweet and juicy going down, followed by a drying, slightly peppery bitterness and a toasted finish. Another one that won't blow you away, but it's certainly a nice one to have a few of on a night. I think I still like it.
*When I say dive bar, it is nowhere near the epically bad shitholes I visited last year. This is more like the kind of bars I drank in in my late teens/early 20s. Rock/metal music, and according to my wife, pretty much the same people have been propping up the tables for 20 years or more. What I liked about it on my first visit, in addition to the music and crowd, was the fact these long-haired louts (as I was then) were playing chess and cards in the pub. So, a civilised dive bar. Das Schwarze and Rothaus Pils were what I usually drank there, unless someone was trying to get me drunk on whisky, but that's not a story for this blog.