- BJCP Style: Munich Dunkel
- ABV: 5.4%
- IBU: 18
- Hops Variety: Magnum, Tettnang
- Malts: Munich, Pilsner, Caramunich 3, Carafa 1, Chocolate malt
- Brewery: Arches Brewing Co.
- City: Hapeville, GA (Atlanta Metro)
- Aroma: Herbal, Roasted and Chocolate Malt notes.
- Appearance: Dark Brown with ruby tint, clear, fluffy tan head with good retention
- Flavor & Aftertaste: Herbal, toast, roasted malt and chocolate. Moderate bitterness. Medium sweet.
- Palate: Semi-dry, low carbonation, medium length finish. Slightly bitter, but balanced.
- Style Representation: Style Appropriate
Anyone else love dark German beer styles? Man I love Munich Dunkel and Schwarzbier! Those are two beer styles that are quite hard to come by locally here in the United States. As we transition over to the cool fall and bitter cold winter months, a nice drinkable dark lager is always a luxury to have on hand. For this style, I normally turn to Hofbrau or Ayinger; but for local craft beer I’ve found Reformation’s 95, Gate City Ex-Pat and New Realm Munich Dunkel. Arches Brewing has had Winter’s Night out for a couple of seasons now; but it sells out so quickly I have not been able to try it out. Not being one to let distance, traffic and inconvenience to stand in the way of acquiring a good beer, I recently made the over one hour trek to Arches Brewing Co. in Hapeville to grab some Winter’s Night before it disappeared. For those who have lived and traveled in the Atlanta Metro area, you know that driving from the North side of I-285 to the airport area is nothing short of an adventure and aggravation. But for a high quality Munich Dunkel, I’ll take my chances!
As I have come to expect from Arches Brewing, Winter’s Night is simply outstanding and spot on for a Munich Dunkel. Visually, it is luscious, dark brown with a tinge of garnet. Pours to a fluffy tan head exhibiting good retention. As you approach the beer it’s nose exudes herbal, roasted malt and chocolate aromas from the hops and grain bill. As you enjoy this fine Dunkel, you will experience a complexity of flavors, including toasted bread, roasted malt and chocolate malt. You’ll note a medium sweet malt backbone complimented by a moderate bitterness, akin to unsweetened chocolate. The finish is medium length, semi-dry, and a bit soft, accented by a mild bitterness.
When evaluating a beer, I like to review the BJCP guidelines and compare the beer to a “benchmark” beer for the style. This helps to give context and direction to what the brewery is trying to accomplish. Admittedly, this is a little tricky because you don’t want to give a beer a poor review simply because it doesn’t compare to a benchmark beer. That being said, Winter’s Night acquits itself well vs imported German Dunkel. As far as BJCP guidelines go, Winter’s Night checks every box. It is a great representation of the style when you are looking for a local interpretation; yet it is district from Hofbrau. By comparison, Hofbrau is a tad more sweet and little less bitter. What you end up with are two very good beers on either end of the spectrum within Munich Dunkel. If you like something more sweet and less better, than Hofbrau is a good choice. If you like something more dry and with a touch more bitterness, Arches Winter’s Night is a great choice.
As I noted in my post about Arches Brewing recently, “Why Arches is Georgia’s Craft Beer Leader” , Arches continues to produce high quality beers in lager styles that are very challenging to make. My only criticism of them is they don’t make enough of it! They produce a limited quantity in fall/winter and small of it trickles down through distribution channels. So it’s hard to acquire some if you live on the opposite side of Atlanta. But us lager fans OTP (Outside The Perimeter) will always find a way!
Add Winter’s Night to the list of highly rated beers according to Beer Connoisseur – they rated this one a 90, a “brew to savor”. Well done Brewmaster Jamey Adams and crew.
Thanks for reading. Until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!