Sometimes going to the pub can almost feel like work. Last Thursday at Against the Grain was one of those. Dungarvan's Black Rock was on cask and in fine form. I could have happily drank it all evening. Except Clanconnel's excellent McGrath's Black was on special offer so I had to put one of those away too. And then there was the new Beer of the Month: Krombacher Dark.
I'm always pleased to see a new dark lager on the market in Ireland. I think it's a healthy sign of diversity in our beer culture. That this is being brought in by one of the big mainstream importers is a positive indicator. So what's it like?
Well, sadly, it's no Zeitgeist, nor even a Herold Dark. It does hit most of the dark lager targets of roasted grain and burnt caramel, no mean feat in a very sessionable 4.3% ABV bundle. There's even a faint creaminess, enhancing the body and rounding it off quite well. But through it all there's one niggling little bug that would make me think twice about buying more: that plasticky buzz found in some German lagers which may or may not be down to their use of hop extract (this certainly does). Add roasted malt to plastic and you get burnt plastic, which is not nice at all.
The beer isn't ruined by any means, but it's not all it should be either. I should also mention that it wasn't a great match for the chicken tajine I ate alongside it: the flavours, good and bad, just weren't robust enough to stand up to even a moderate level of spice.
Overall a slightly flawed but generally decent easy-drinking lager and well worth a punt. Maybe you won't notice the plastic.