American Darling
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

American DarlingAmerican Darling
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German Pilsner
3.93 | pDev: 10.69%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
American DarlingAmerican Darling
Notes: Our 2015 American Darling is decoction brewed, unfiltered German style lager.

If you’re looking for a reason to try Pretty Things this summer, we hope a well-stated 5.5% pale lager might be a good bet. This beer bears our usual stamp of authenticity-at-the-expense-of-convenience, so here is a decoction lager brewed with German malt and hops, and fermented at cool temperatures with German lager yeast for over 6 weeks.

This time we were looking to make the un-lawnmower beer (with an emphasis on the “UN”). Just how do we go about doing that? Well, we start with some of the world’s greatest pilsner malt from Weyermann in Bamberg, Germany. There’s no rice and corn in our darling either – just the best barley malted for this purpose in the world. What else? We use a decoction brewing method: this comes from old German brewhouses, where temperature control was not possible, so a portion of the mash is removed, brought to boiling temperature and then re-mixed with the rest of the mash. This is a whole lot of work, but we think it’s worth it because it gives a whole lot of authentic Germanic flavour! All of the hops used in American Darling come from the Hallertau hop region of Germany. Finally, fermentation uses a blend of two of Europe’s great lager yeasts, with low temperature fermentation and lagering, over six weeks.

Put it in your coolers, your picnic baskets… your saddlebags. Take it to family reunions and pie-eating contests, parades, beaches, fancy mustache conventions, hot dog factory tours, monorail excursions, secret basement lairs… wherever good summertime fun happens!

Then fire up the grill, not just once – how about every day?! Get out the horse shoes, kick up your feet and forget that oily red jalopy out back even has a purpose. Stop mowing, start having fun times! Cheers to summer!

45 IBU
View: Beers
Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 303 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Brutaltruth
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 22 oz bomber in a snifter. This casual "lager" pours a lightly hazy yellowish amber with a nice head of white foam that settles to a thin layer, thin ring, and nice lacing. Nose of light breaded malts, subtle hops, sweet honey, and standard lager yeast funk. Flavors follow the nose with sweet honey touched malts awash in breaded malts that fade in the back to a heavy grain note with moderately bittering hops. A solid sipper from a good brewery. Bitter finish, good carbonated mouth feel.
Shame they are now closed. Wish the owners the best on the next endeavors.


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Photo of utopiajane
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

This is an unfiltered beer that came to my shop now after the brewery is closed? It's also a summer seasonal and has no date on the bottle. ||Pours a healthy amber color with a too rich head of foam that lasted too long and fell to a big clump. The scent is good and the beer does not smell like hops. It smells breaddy and a bit rich. taste is terrible like nuts that have gone bad or grain that has spoiled. It's sour and sharp. It is breaddy and because the malt is decocted it is thick and drinks a lot like peanut butter.. It has good flavor though. bread and a bit of spice form hops. hops are clean and give a perfect bitterness The My first glimpse of this brewery showed me a horrendous beer that could have tasted a lot better if it were fresh.

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utopiajane from New York, Dec 21, 2015
Photo of DovGibor
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

June 2015 bottled poured into a tulip glass. Dark straw in color with mild cloudiness. Minimal head, but lingering ring of bubbles.

Aroma is strong malt. Very sweet, lightly biscuity malt. Taste is clear malt. Literally like chewing on malted barley; similar to unfermented wort even in flavor. Mild hop bitterness in the background to balance the malt. The bitterness is clear, though not overwhelming by any means. Clean finish. Not as crisp as pilsners I've had from Germany, but better than other equally rich American versions.

Much maltier than I expected. Not my favorite, but an enjoyable beer.

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DovGibor from New York, Dec 13, 2015
Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Michael T. Thanks man!

Light golden, clear body with small white collar. Lager yeast, malt. Medium high bitterness. Hops, a touch of honey sweetness, finishing dry. Good stuff.

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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia, Aug 29, 2015
Photo of tempest
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared a fresh bomber with myself. I was expecting a clean, balanced well-made lager, but this was way beyond that. Blew my mind a little. The decoction mash creates a big caramel malt flavor over milder toasty, bready malt. Meanwhile, big spicy hops roll through for a dry, bitter finish. Much hoppier than most pilsners. Clearly no lawnmower beer. Damn, what a lager.

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tempest from New York, Aug 17, 2015
Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bomber poured into a tankard at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Pours a mildly hazy straw-gold, and forms a seriously tall head of white foam even with a delicate pour, which leaves some positively crazy amounts of lacing down the sides of the glass. Carbonation explodes out from the beer during the pour.

S: Light toast and biscuit malt, with some mild earthy, floral, and herbal tones.

T: Exactly as the aroma. The core is the light toasted biscuit, almost like a plain English muffin, drizzled over with an earthy, grassy bitterness. The lawnmower label is apt, as it tastes like a suburban front yard smells while being mowed, all grass and chlorophyll with a light haze of flowers and pollen. The finish is pure earthen bitterness, which stays for a few moments and then fades abruptly.

M:Bubbly and lively, with just a little more heft than an adjunct lager.

O: A good go at a yellow lager, much better than an adjunct. I'm glad I gave it a whirl. As a malthead, I'd have liked a little less grass and a little more biscuit, but I know I'm in a minority in that respect.

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UrbanCaveman from Illinois, Oct 30, 2014
Photo of SABERG
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a frehs bottle into an english pint glass.

A - Straw colored, clear, with a gentle lager dance of carbonation.
Thin delicate head with lacing that lasts.
S - Biscuit, a hint of summer cornfield, sweet malt, lovely nose.
T - Light malt, a hint of citrus, there is a sweetness that is not offensive, but truly interesting.
The flavor lingers long enough to want another pull.
M - A round mouth feel, slightly defined with the carbonation. The palate is danced across and left a little sweet.
O - The American lager stepped up by Pretty Things, the body is rich, the flavors longer without overstaying. A well done treat.


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SABERG from Massachusetts, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of Dope
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

May 2014 bottle, probably less than a month old.

A: Perfectly clear golden pour. Mid-sized and extremely fizzy, soda-like head. Head is slightly offwhite and very effervescent. Head fades out fast with zero lacing. Okay lacing at least.

S: Light grassy notes, very light citrus and black pepper. Light grainy malt.

T: Much stronger flavor than aroma. Somewhat bold hops up front. Grassy, yes, but nice spicy, black pepper and pine notes too. Big toasted grains for malt. Slight bitterness in the finish with more earthy spiciness. Lingering grainy black pepper and toast in the aftertaste.

M: Nice smooth medium body, spicy and crisp. Fairly dry aftertaste.

O: Wow, not what I was expecting. Appearance and aroma is so-so but the flavors are sharp, bold and crisp. Very flavorful for 5.8%. Great crispness and I'm honestly blown away by the strength of flavors given that this is lower ABV and is not a hop bomb or a sour. Drinks great, tastes great, really impressed by this one from Pretty Things.

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Dope from Massachusetts, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of alexbutler
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light foam, which levels to a thin veil. Slight hue of amber, not a particularly thick pour. Not much lacing.

S - Gentle musk of earthy tones here. Much like the label advertises, reminiscent of rain on a freshly cut lawn. Nothing overpowering.

T - Very tasty. Unobtrusive, yet fresh flavor that invokes simplicity. A somewhat heavy mouthfeel that doesn't linger and stays light.

M - Nothing too wild on the tastebuds, remains pretty humble.

O - An unpronounced lager here, I enjoyed it very much. Doesn't go overboard with the flavorings, this is a beer when you are looking for something fresh on a summer night. Won't weigh you down.

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alexbutler from Massachusetts, Jun 04, 2014
Photo of TheHudgeSF
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer from Pretty Things, has a faint aroma of grass and earth with some bread aftertones. Really nice flavor profile for an ale, has a bit of a heavy aftertaste/hoppy feeling that's carried by the relatively high ABV for an ale. Drinks really easily though and overall is a great beer I would have again. Love the marketing as a "lawnmower beer" - the beer you should enjoy while mowing the lawn. Well said, and encapsulates a lot of what this beer is.

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TheHudgeSF from California, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with active carbonation that keeps a one finger creamy white head growing slightly in the glass. Aroma of sweet pale and biscuit malt with light grassy hops. Flavor is biscuit and crystal malt with grassy hops, finishing with a mild cream corn and lingering pilsner style hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a nice mouth feel. A well made light lager that has a nice hop bill that is complemented by the full biscuit malt body. Not an exciting style, but as usual for Pretty Things, nicely made and great to drink.

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LiquidAmber from Washington, Jan 04, 2014
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to drlovemd87 for hooking me up with YET ANOTHER wonderful beer, this guy deserves a medal. better than your average summer type lawnmower beer, this is sweeter, richer, and far more malty. its nose and smell match its color wheel pinpoint, where yellow just begins to melt into brown, dim but lively. heady and lacy and fit for some white summer wedding. the smell and taste are decadently malted and only bittered on the hop front. its definitely a lager too, with a bready and dry quick finishing yeast that hints at old school european stuff. grassy hops round it out, but yeast and sweet malt are whats memorable for me here. my critique of this beer, and it is indeed substantial, is the 7% alcohol by volume. such strength is not useful in this style, makes it heavier, and honestly sacrifices some of the better properties of a good lager to pursue such strength. the beer works in flavor, but bomber is a tough dose when you are flying solo, and when you want to jump around beers and styles, this gets a little chewy, but its a cool brew, i just wish for reduced residual sweetness and booze, not that i can taste the alcohol, but i can feel it, and with all the sugar thats still in this beer, it gets a bit terminal. that said, these guys are clearly brewing some of the best beer in mass, and i am grateful for the opportunity to drink this one. not really late december beer, but nevermind that.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, this sucker is 6 months old, so we could start there...but why stoke a set of coals that will no longer burn? (You know who I'm talkin' about, girl.) Now let's move on...

Woo, grassy. But this ain't no Bakersfield crab grass, this is the kind of stuff they grow at Augusta - I mean, pure! Supple and clean flavors like the laundry mat after a Victoria's Secret fashion show...Raul's like, yeah.

This right here is "The Great American Lager," my children.

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RaulMondesi from California, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of AgentMunky
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a New Belgium balloon glass. Bottled in June 2013.

A: Incredibly pale, milky gold. Lightly hazy with fluffy white head and effervescence.

S: Not bad! Clean, deep, tasty yeast smacks me upfront. Light lemon. Hint of metal.

T: Pleasantly spicy, with a bold, bready undercurrent buttressing the flavor. Earthy and sulfuric, with noticeable noble hops adding topnotes to the beer.

M: Carbonated and enjoyable. Significant body. Creamy smoothness.

O: If this is a "true lager" as the label claims, I want more! This is a delicious, drinkable, interesting, impressive beer. Highly recommended to all.

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AgentMunky from New York, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a quite complete repertoire of Belgian-themed beers that sit very well with the palate and the tummy, out comes this Bohemian-type of lager that celebrates the early years of Pilsners with rustic charm and challenges.

With a mild haze, America's Darling kicks off with the stalwart straw-gold coloration. It builds an expansive head of off-white foam that casually recedes to a sheet across the surface. It trails with spotty and broken rings of lace as the beer fades from the glass.

The blend of earthy and refined aromas really battle out its balance until the earthen notes take hold. Its initial aroma is of floral noble hops, but the comes a grain scent that introduces a rounded corn scent. As the aromas develop, the "cream corn" notes introduce apple esters and a sulfury tone to seem like burnt match sticks. Even an elevates level of tomato juice really takes hold as the beer turns to taste.

Grainy-sweet in its flavor, the beer kicks off with fresh-baked bread and a mild husky grain taste. All that quickly balances out the with the floral quality of lemon blossoms and honey. After that, the beer turns spicy and dry, and unfortunately exposes the corn, sulfur and acidity that gives levity to the tomato and corn that rose in the beer's aroma. Those echoes are only suggested in taste but lessen its desirability to the taste buds, but only slightly.

Crisp and dry on the palate, the Lager's rustic roots leads it past a short-lived crackcer-like breadiness and a grainy middle and ushers in a finish that's a bit rough around the edges with all the sulfur wafting about. But still, the Lager remains drinkable and refreshing even if the old-aged taste of lager still impede its flavor spread.

American Darling is almost a mockery of what the industrial macro-brewing culture has done to beers. Even as it displays a few warts in ts portrayal, it also highlights how these flavors would have beer prevailed in beers from even a hundred years ago.

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BEERchitect from Kentucky, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I grabbed this in New England just because I wanted to try more stuff from Pretty Things. Even though it was bottled in June 2012 it's pretty damn good with some age on it.

American Darling pours a soft, foggy, pale yellow color with a finger of head that quickly fades.

Big malty nose with some biscuity sweetness. Caramel apples and some floral fruitiness balance out bready malts. There's some faded German hop aromas in there.

Malt dominates palate with a boost of sweetness, biscuit, esters, mild fruitness. All of these flavors come at one quick moment and leave a trail of pilsner-like bitterness.

More body than expected and soft carbonation.

Overall this is a solid brew from Pretty Things. Next time I'd like to try it fresh.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pale yellow with one plus finger of head. Some retention of the head on top of this brew 15 mins later. Little to no lacing.

S: Citrus aroma.

T: Light yet full of flavor lager. One could easily mistake this for a pale ale. Refreshing citrus flavor - some lemon and grapefruit.

M: Light on the tongue. Carbonation dissipates quickly and left with a lager flavor.

O: Good brew and not your typical mild flavored lager.

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Oakenator from Pennsylvania, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of BEERMILER12
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a straw yellow color with a fingers worth of head that slowly recedes to a cap that lasts for a while

S: Starts off with a light fruitiness and husky maltiness and goes into some earthy and grassy hops and a bit of breadiness

T: Starts off with the husky maltiness and works its way through a bit of graininess and fruitiness. Finishes with a light sweetness, earthy and grassy hops, and a touch of bitterness

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: The label on the bottle says 5.8% abv, so I'll go with that and say that regardless of the abv, it's very easy to drink. It definitely has that grainy and huskiness going on so if you like that in your lager, then this will be a great beer for you. Not too shabby for under $6 for a bomber, either. Recommended

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a clean light golden yellow pour, minimal amount of white head, nice retention.
smells of citrus (lemon peel), bready yeast, coriander.
the taste is a bit odd - there's an overall harsh taste of alcohol, the citrus and a slight hint of coriander is there from the smell, and there's a funky / tangy bitterness that i can't identify.
medium body, high carbonation, slight cream on lips, warmth from abv

i've liked every beer pretty things made so far. this is my least favorite and so far, the only one i won't pick up again. the alcohol taste is completely rugged.. like nikoff vodka was just mixed in with the wort.

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facundoCNB from New Jersey, Aug 30, 2012
Photo of ricchezza
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Initially a punch of yeast (warm bread) followed by a husky malt backing.

Taste: I’m a bit surprised for the style that my first taste brings a touch of honey and slight clove to the forefront. True to style is a flowery, yet subtle (Noble) hop presence followed by a strong pilsner malt backing. More grain than hop bitterness. Long dry finish that sweetens as it fades.

1/8” white head that never seems to fade for the duration the beer is in the glass.

My overall impression is that this is a delicious beer. Sure to impress “yellow” beer drinkers who have not strayed from big macro brews (may even convert a few).

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ricchezza from Massachusetts, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of Gatch
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, golden-yellow with a big, fluffy, pillowy, white head. Very little lace and retention.

S: Plenty of pale malt, grass, mineral, and some sugary booze.

T: Much like the nose. Good, fruity malt presence with a hint of hops in the finish. Slight booze in the finish with the high ABV.

M: Highly drinkable. Highly enjoyable. Highly recommended.

O: Another fine beer from Pretty Things! Can they make a bad beer? I don't think so.

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Gatch from Rhode Island, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of MoreThanWine
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big step up from the typical lager. Poured a 2" custard head with decent retention time. The body is a slightly hazed golden yellow. It smells mildly of toasted malt. The taste is a little sweet but with stronger than expected toasted malt, a saltiness, and yeastyness. In fact it's kind of like a concentrated lager except for the absence of the grassiness and bitterness so common. Fairly long finish.

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MoreThanWine from Massachusetts, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of pburland23
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Prima Pils glass.

Appearance: Beer pours a clean, bright golden yellow. Looks like your classic American lager. Three billowing fingers of snow white head leave some moderate lacing. Very, very nice looking pour.

Smell: Light sweet pilsner malts, flowery hops, mildly herbaceous with some lemon notes. Nose is pretty delicate but inviting.

Taste: Very malty with some German hops bitterness. Lemon and mildly spicy. Definitely more complex than your average American lager. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with some sharp prickly carbonation. Very drinkable despite its 7% ABV.

Overall: Why can't every pale lager be this delicious? Because of the high ABV, I'm not sure I'd drink it while mowing the lawn (despite the label) but it's a nice summer beer.

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pburland23 from Pennsylvania, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of CheezyBlaster
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"But what if we took a Miller High Life, and you know, made it taste good?"

That's this tasty beer. Beauty of a poor -nice head, nice retention, straw/golden yellow, tiny seltzer-like bubbles constantly making their trip. Sweet grassy nose; mainland Europe noble hop presence. It's more of a BIG adjunct in flavor, even though it's all barley, and even though it's a bunch of hallertau. The sweetness of the malt just reminds me of that corn sweetness you get in some adjuncts. Super pale lager, maybe strong lager should be the style? It's fantastic, but there is a bit of a viscous texture combined with that sometimes corn syrupy sweetness that makes it not as refreshing as the style typically can be. 7% is a tall order too. Anyhow, get one of these if you're at all interesting in the "yellow" side of lagers.

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CheezyBlaster from Massachusetts, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Dull, pale straw yellow. Mild chill haze. Slow-moving streams of carbonation meander up the glass. Fluffy and rocky white head holds fast at a good two fingers. Clumps of lacing cling to the glass at random intervals.

S: Lemongrass, hay, twist of lemon, and orange peel. Hops are very floral and zesty. Sweet pilsner malt, very subtle hint of caramel. Simple, but very fragrant.

T: Multi-dimensional malt flavors open. Caramel, bread, toasted biscuit, a touch buttery (though NOT from diacetyl). Slight vanilla and pear. Hay and grass. Touch of spicy alcohol. Hops contribute orange peel, lavender and floral tastes, and quick, subtle flashes of citrus fruit. Finishes with shifting malt tastes and hay.

M: Medium bodied. Rich, smooth, and well-rounded body. Carbonation is mild but a little prickly. Some definite warmth in the swallow from the alcohol.

O: The nose and the taste are nearly opposites in terms of balance. The nose is a bit more hop-forward, while the malt is more dominant in the taste. Malt tastes are complex and shifty, thanks to the decoction mashing and the resulting melanoidin action. Tastes a little hot this year though, I don't remember the alcohol being quite as prominent when I had this in the past. Worth a try if you're into German-style lagers.

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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts, Jun 23, 2012
American Darling from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 303 ratings