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Stock Clearance Drinking #1 - Marble Brewery's Dunkel

"The downfall of being a great beer lover and enthusiast is a tendency to hoard. Nobody I know is as guilty of this as I. As such, I've come to realise in recent months that I really need to start working through my already sizeable bottle stock before purchasing anything else this year, if for no other reason than to try the beers I’ve spent my money on whilst they’re still at their best. Added to this is the realisation over the last few months – based on certain depressive life situations – that life is too short not to drink the great beers I have available to me. I also need to find new encouragement and inspiration to write again. I have never wanted this to be a beer review blog (with the exception of Advent) but all the above factors have led me to begin a series of “Stock Clearance” posts where I drink beers within my hoard that really need drinking for reasons that will be explained."

"I shall further clarify that my beer hoard started to grow around the turn of year between 2011 and 2012. To that point, most of my enjoyment of beer was spent within the confines of the pub or on a Saturday night in when the beer to be drunk in the evening was bought in the morning of the same day. The only beers that entered into “storage” were a bottle of Brewdog’s Abstrakt: 02 (that I think was eventually drunk sometime in 2012) and a Fuller’s Vintage 2008, purchased in 2009 and that is still in my hoard to this day."

The beer chosen for this first post is Marble Brewery’s Dunkel 8.2%. There is a simple reason for choosing this one; it is one of the longest surviving members of my current stash. Just weeks prior to purchasing this beer, I had learnt through 57 Thomas Street in Manchester that Marble had begun brewing their own Weizen and Dunkel. I was excited, due to my love of those styles, and purchased the Weizen that particular day which I had enjoyed but not found memorable.

In February 2012 I had a dentist appointment in Mossley – my dentist since the day I was born. It was on that particular call that I revisited Mossley Organics & Fine Foods afterwards that just happens to be around the corner. I went on another’s recommendations who claimed the beer selection had much improved over recent months and showed it by waving a bottle of Jaipur in my face. It happened to be my first of many visits; the shop even inspired a blog post last Summer.

I was surprised and overwhelmed by this small food shop’s broad selection of beers including Thornbridge, Buxton, Red Willow… and Marble. I remember buying 8 bottles that day and returning almost weekly for the rest of the year. It was on that Dentist-trip day that I purchased Marble’s Dunkel. I recall the other 7 bottles acquired that day were drunk within weeks – 4 of which were from Red Willow and created one of my first ever blogposts. Somehow though, as the months wore on, a time when I “fancied” a Dunkel never occurred.

The fact this beer was never drunk shows some of my changing tastebuds. There was a time, prior to the beer hoard days, when I was known predominantly as a lover of dark beers to my peers. When it came to German beers, Dunkels were often associated with me. My major treat as a student was the odd supermarket purchase of an ErdingerDunkel. In recent years I have become swept away by the obsession for pale and tongue-numbingly hoppy beers. Yet still, if I were picking styles that I would like to explore and experiment with if I were a brewer, I would always choose the often overlooked Rauchbiers, Dark Milds, Scotch Ales and Dunkels as favourite styles. Yet even I find my craving for such beers is often overwhelmed by a need for a hit of hoppiness.

This beer, as well as the Weizen, seemed to be permanently available in the shop whilst they frequently ran through their stocks of Manchester Bitter and Tawny No. 5. I found this to be the case in many other shops, pubs and  bars too, where I would often see the Weizen and Dunkel within the reduced sections. It seems as if there just wasn’t much demand for these beer styles because the new wave drinker isn’t looking for such. I seem to be as guilty as any though and hope that this beer proves that I was wrong to hoard it for so long.
Marble Dunkel 8.2%

Pouring a little more ruby red than expected, but as flat as its age would show, everything that dominates this beer is banana; banana to the point where other description is scarcely necessary. The aroma has a dominant banana bread base with a sickly sweet yeastness still dominated by banana. The taste is pure banana with the hint of synthetic banana found in pic'n'mix foam bananas. Luckily I LOVE everything banana flavoured. The similarities to Well's famous Banana Bread Beer are inevitable, though it is still a shyness away from a Belgian Banana flavoured beer. It is not at all as I expected and feel further explanation is required. It’s much lighter than I recall dunkels and much less carbonated, despite it’s full body. It’s chewy and the ease of malts seems to have led to a surprise hoppiness for the style that foams into the tropical fruit sensation of banana. This is so bananary, you begin to question how you describe hefeweizens. Banana.

After writing my own tasting notes, I looked up some of the RateBeer reviews of this Dunkel and video blogs. I was surprised to find that none of them mentioned the flavour so dominant to the taste I describe. Many seemed to find the beer very hoppy, which is perhaps what has faded and developed into this synthetic banana taste over the years. This isn’t a criticism; I’m really pleasantly surprised and find that I love this beer. Though I know this to be completely different to the Dunkels I’m used to, it has inspired me to rediscover a style I have forgotten and replaced in recent years.

Marble Dunkel may have proven too good to hoard for this long, but it has also proven well worth the wait. 


Unknown said…
Great beer review! You might want to do a review of our craft beers, too! Contact me. I would love to hear from you!

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