I did say I'd be back for a go of the bottled beer at The Porterhouse's recent Czech beer festival. Not everything that was promised arrived in the end, but among those that did was Žatec Xantho, a 5.7% ABV black lager. Very black, in fact: opaque with a hint of red around the edges and a healthy layer of off-white foam on top. The aroma is odd: carbon dioxide and liquorice reflecting both the intense gassiness of the beer and its sticky weight. The two elements provide a balance of sorts.
The flavour is dominated by a kind of sour caramel taste -- lots of dark roasted sweetness and plenty of vegetal bittering hops. More than anything it reminded me of Baltika 6, the St Petersburg brewery's porter, but it's an easier drink than that one.
If you like a bit of meat to your dark lager this is a good one to go for.