Dark lager is alchemy; taking the lightness and texture of a lager and bring to it flavours more associated with stouts. Budvar Dark is mastery of this art.
Using the same process of lagering as Budvar Original and Budvar Reserve, Budvar Dark is made using three types of malt to add more style and characteristics to the final brew. It used caramel and roasted hops to create the dark colour and allow more of a sweet, nutty and roastiness to enter the flavour profile.
Easily one of the better known dark lagers and a real crowd favourite for a reason, this is a must-try for anyone who loves lager; European or otherwise.
Nuttiness is the main flavour you get when you pop the cap off the bottle, with a touch of malt and a smokey, roast flavour all mingling together.
It pours light, which I expected as it's still a lager, but in my mind there was still a part of me that was expecting a thick stout-style pour. The head is a caramel colour and pouring it allows all that roasted nut flavour to fill the glass.
The flavour follows this nutty pattern, but there's also sweetness in there too from the caramel malt that helps to make it a more rounded beer rather than a straight nutty lager.
The aftertaste lets the roast and smoky flavours play havoc in your mouth and it's a very fun aftertaste with a lot going on, making it a very enjoyable lager to taste as it's almost like you get a different flavour subtlety each sip.
This is the new style of label for Budvar Dark which is designed to make it more attractive to other places in Europe, with the addition of the words in Czech.
The label is visually striking, with the only part in red the Ceske Budejovice crest which is consistent across all their range of beers. The fingerprints are very 'private investigator' with the names and signatures of Adam Broz, Brewmaster at Budvar, and Ales Dvorak, Budvar official Beer Sommelier giving it a nice design touch.
The black and white contrast in text and background is brilliant and really helps it stand out, not only from the rest of their beers but also from the shelf generally, giving it a bit of a film noir feel. All keeping that bold green bottle, which is brave when it would have been so easy to make it brown.
There are a number of places to buy Budvar Dark online but as with the Budvar Reserve, you can generally only buy it in cases. We found it for just £1.83 from Beer Hunter, but you will need to but it in a 20 pack case.
You may be able to get the odd single bottle in bottle shops or supermarkets with a particularly good world beer range, but you'll have to investigate your area.