A Little DAB’ll Do Ya

I was looking for a good thirst-quenching lager at a good price. I brought home a twelver of the German lager DAB in 12-ounce bottles for a real good price. Once it had cooled down, I cracked one open and found exactly what I was looking for – a crisp and achingly refreshing lager.

“Now this is beer,” I said aloud after the first big swig. Delicious upfront Noble hops followed by sweet biscuity maltiness.

As so often happens when you make a beer discovery, next time I hit the market, no more 12-packs of DAB. But they did have sixers of 16-ounce cans of DAB, also at a very reasonable price and just as delicious. I have found my new go-to lager.

I should add that German lagers – specifically Munich lagers – are not usually my favorite beer. I find in most German lagers a similar harsh flavor that does not appeal to me. I’ll take a soft Czech or Austrian lager over a German any time. But this lager from the northwestern city of Dortmund – the name DAB stands for the brewery name, Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei – has none of that harsh Germanic character.

An Experiment in Hops

I didn’t know what to make of this beer at first. A friend brought over two different bottles of a Danish beer from a brewery called Mikkeller. Both bottles were made from the same base beer – an American-style India pale ale – but each was infused with a different variety of hops.

Here’s a portion of the info on the side of each bottle in itty-bitty type: “All 18 varieties of single hop ales in this series were brewed the same week, from the same batches of malt, using the same yeast and fermentation temperatures. This is done to better compare the characteristics of the different hop varieties.”

One used the noble German hop variety known as Tettnanger (Theoretical IBU: 38) and the other used Mt. Hood (Theoretical IBU: 33), which is a relatively new American variety (1989) derived from another noble German hop variety, Hallertau.

We poured both into glasses. The Tettnanger brew sprouted a tall white head. The Mt. Hood version had a tiny ring of foam around the perimeter.

At first the base beer of both tasted like an amateurish homebrew, and I began to wonder if the Dane brewers behind this experiment are insane. It’s an interesting experiment to make a base beer and infuse it with different hop varieties, but is it something you should sell to the public, especially under the guise of educating said public.

Or maybe I need to taste the 16 other varieties to be convinced of the worth of this project.