Five on Five: Dark Lager

While drinkability remains the supreme goal, the dark side of Planet Lager can offer richer delights than the brighter styles. Despite their more exotic look, they can also be surprisingly light and refreshing. Here are five top picks from the pros.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Sep 17, 2021 - 3 min read

Five on Five: Dark Lager Primary Image

Chuckanut Dunkel

Brian “Swifty” Peters, cofounder, The Austin Beer Garden Brewery in Austin
“The first time I had the pleasure of drinking Chuckanut Dunkel was at their booth at the GABF about 10 years ago. Amos and I were picking Will Kemper’s brain on lager brewing (because he is the best). We got to the Dunkel, and I remember thinking, ‘Why would anyone else bother? This is the best.’ The malt flavor, the body, the subtle hop note were all spot on. When American brewers aspire to brew German-style lagers, look no further. Chuckanut is tops.”

Kloster Weltenburg Barock Dunkel

Hagen Dost, cofounder, Dovetail Brewing in Chicago
“Malty, chocolaty, full-bodied, bitter, soul-satisfying—the only way to have this beer is to travel to the abbey, and you’ll never regret it. Walk a quarter mile below limestone cliffs next to a bend in the Danube, enter a sheltered courtyard, duck into the schenke, and enjoy a few. They’ve been doing this since 1050, and it’s clear that practice makes perfect.”

Notch Loggerhead

Lee Lord, head brewer, Narragansett Beer in Providence, Rhode Island
“This traditionally brewed, triple-decocted, naturally carbonated beer is how I celebrate the return of springtime. It’s impeccably done by these folks up in Salem. The nuances of the malt and body of this beer give way to floral Noble hop notes, with a wonderfully clean lager finish.”

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel

Chris Enegren, captain of operations, Enegren Brewing in Moorpark, California
“Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel is the beer that got me hooked on German-style lagers and has been a beer that I have always loved. The combination of malt complexity and drinkability is one of the best attributes of German-style lagers, and this beer is a perfect example. I was able to visit the beautiful Ayinger Brewery right before we started our brewery, and that has had a huge impact on our direction as a company.”

Shiner Bock

Chip McElroy, founder, Live Oak Brewing in Austin
“To a guy moving from Oak Cliff to Austin in 1975, central Texas was a whole ’nother place, and Shiner Bock was the epitome of hippie-chic. Everyone drank it by the 75-cent pitcher-full at places such as the Armadillo, Scholz’s, and the Posse. Two of the best dogs I ever had were named after it. So, Shiner Bock is intimately connected to a very dear time and place for me.”