Nihonkai Club Dark Lager is a 5% Czech-style dark lager, sometimes referred to as a dunkel or a tmavý style beer from Nihonkai Beer Club, based in Ishikawa, Japan. Nihonkai Club Dark Lager is part of their all-year round range and can be found in both bottles and on tap across Japan, with this review coming from the draft version. It is brewed using imported German Pilsen malt, Munchen malt, and Caraaroma malt, along with British black malt. It’s hopped with Czech Saaz hops to give it an IBU of 33 units.
Nihonkai Club Dark Lager Aroma and Taste
Excuse the tree in the background – for some reason, Craft Beer Market Otemachi thought it was a good idea to plant a tree indoors, inside of a table. Nutters. Nihonkai Club Dark Lager came up a very dark brown, verging on black at times, with a frothy tan coloured head. It had subtle aromas of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and some roast coming through – quite black malt forward too. There wasn’t any distinctive notes coming through from the hops. A textbook dark lager well made so far.
It’s in the body where Nihonkai Club Dark Lager excels with the roasted coffee and chocolate flavours being more subtle than its colour belies. The malt sweetness was balanced well, ensuring that no one flavour dominates over the others. It wasn’t as sweet as some dark lagers I’ve had in Japan, and the carbonation was nice and smooth. Nihonkai Club Dark Lager finished off with a slightly hoppy bitterness coming through the darker flavours, and leaving a nice subtle bitter aftertaste.
Nihonkai Club Dark Lager The Bottom Line
Nihonkai Club Dark Lager is one of the better dark lagers I’ve had in Japan and would happily have more of it – either in bottles or on tap.