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August 13, 2003

San Miguel Dark Lager

Beer of the night.

Okay, so it took a while to fulfill the request, but I finally found a six of the San Miguel at the Frugal Macdougal's south of Charlotte on the latest trip to visit the in-laws. Five months this small petition weighed on my mind, until at last I was able to fulfill it. Keep that in mind next time someone asks you which blog is the most devoted to its readership.

"Why, Silflay Hraka," you can say. "It's OCD heaven over there."

Dark lagers, or dunkels as they are known internationally, are among the oldest of modern beer styles, if one counts the 15th century and later as part of modern times. Ales are somewhat older, having at least 2000 years on their younger sibling. The pale lagers which most Americans drink today are one of the most recent developments, having first been brewed in the 1840s.

The very dark lagers were originally brewed in Germany--hence the name "dunkel," which is German for dark. Most tend to be only a shade or two lighter than stouts, often with a reddish tinge. The color is due to the lager's malts, which are roasted before the brewing process. Confusingly, some ales are also called dunkels, but most are lagers. The two most well known examples of the style in the U.S. are probably the Dixie Brewery's Blackened Voodoo Lager and Xingu Black Beer.

San Miguel Dark Lager is brewed in the Phillipines, not really a nation that springs to mind when one is thinking of a quality brew, but there's no reason the Filipinos shouldn't be able to brew good beer if the Japanese can. Most reviews I've seen for the Dark Lager are generally positive, pointing out the malty sweetness of the beer and a nicely roasted aroma and taste, both of which are smack you in the face obvious, so the reviewers damn well better mention them.

So, roasted aromas, taste and malty sweetness, given. What I didn't see was a mention of the absolutely gorgeous ruby color the beer takes on when held up to the light, one the most impressive shades I've ever seen emanate from a brew. The hops were barely noticeable, coming through more and more as the beer warmed up, but never strong enough to overpower the malt. At most there was a slightly bitter aftertaste. I wouldn't call it crisp, especially compared to the light lagers, certainly not a summer brew. It's more like a prelude, a promise of things to come -- a beer to drink on a chilly October evening, a forerunner of the winter stouts and porters.

I'll take some on the fishing trip, just to see if I'm right.

Posted by Bigwig at August 13, 2003 12:14 AM | TrackBack
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I'm not sure Japanese beer can be called "good". At best, it's inoffensive. They brew it with rice (the same ingredient which gives Budweiser its inoffensiveness) so it goes well with pretty much any kind of food, but there's nothing in particular that would recommend it as a beer. Their whisky is just plain awful.

Posted by: eli at August 14, 2003 10:39 AM

maybe you should try the beer before you critisize it for its ingredients.I am a fan of many good beers especially lager or dunkel and San Miguel is def. up there in taste and quality regardless of ingredients.fool.

Yo check urself
Ali G.

Posted by: miguel at November 11, 2004 11:31 PM
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