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Penn Dark

Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

For over 25 years, Pittsburgh’s Penn Brewery has been knocking out top-notch German-style lagers and staunchly sticking to a no adjuncts rule. Penn Brewery’s Penn Dark is a traditional Munich-style Dunkel relying on Munich malts and Hallertau hops to deliver a truly authentic brew. Spicy, faintly caramel malt and delicately floral, herbaceous hops dominate the nose with hints of coffee and cocoa peeking through the Munich malt. The aroma’s upfront toasty and grainy notes, punctuated by a “slightly sharp mocha,” impressed Pete, who thought they worked well with the delicate herbal and floral Hallertau hops. Tom found the nose lacking a bit in complexity, but lauded the sweet, clean maltiness, and rounded “lagered beer” character of the aroma. As befits the style, Penn Dark lies in the glass exuding a deeply saturated brown dancing with flashes of mahogany and ruby, all topped by a velvety, lingering tan-colored head. Toasted bread, lightly roasted coffee and caramel flavors outshine the hops, but the bitterness keeps the malt in check. Lee was looking for just a bit more bitterness and spicy hop flavors, but reckoned the beer was “satisfying and complex enough to keep me coming back for more.” Highly quaffable, with a refined balance between hops and malt, Penn Dark would be perfectly at home in any Munich bierstube.