Friday, July 1, 2011

Upstate Brews Goes Downstate! Brooklyn Brewery - Local 2

Tonight, I'm defying convention in so many ways.  While Upstate Brews generally only covers beers from breweries in NY state but outside the NYC metro area, I reserve the right to occasionally bend this rule a bit.  Not least because tonight's ale is made by Brooklyn Brewery, a wonderful group of folks based in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.  This part of New York has attracted a lot of artists, musicians, writers, foodies and general all-round awesome people who, like me, laugh in the face of strict self-imposed rules.

I'm also defying convention in that I've been given two brews: Local 1 and Local 2.  I'd normally go in numerical order (I'm a bit OCD like that) and review Local 1 first.  Thing is, Local 2 declared itself to be 'brewed with citrus peel and honey', and tonight that just sounded too good to pass up.  I'll review Local 1 very soon.

Speaking of defying convention, Brooklyn Brewery were also, in 2003, the first company in New York City to switch to 100% wind-powered electricity.  A microbrewery in the middle of one of the most fashionable areas of the Big Apple, with a commitment to environmental consciousness too!  This is starting to look really interesting...

The first thing I noticed about both of these beers that the labels stated the beer is '100% bottle re-fermented'.  Their website goes further, stating that bottle re-fermenting is 'now rare even in Europe'.  Not entirely sure what they mean by that - do they just mean it's bottle-conditioned?  Hardly rare by any means.  I tried to look around some of the online homebrewing sites I frequent, but none of them could help - I may just have to contact the brewery directly to see what this mysterious technique involves.

The ale, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, pours a deep copper, with a thick and creamy off-white head - good retention, good lacing too.  It was slightly hazy, with high carbonation evident.

The initial aroma was a slightly bready malt, with some citrus and fruity esters detectable and the honey is fairly prominent - it's a sweet aroma of the kind you'd usually associate with Belgian beers.  That being said, you can also detect a fair amount of slightly spicy alcohol in the aroma too.  There's little to no hop aroma detectable.

When I took the first sip, a prominent alcoholic warmth is the first thing I noticed (this baby packs a 9.0% ABV punch!), and then some plum and raisin esters which make for a rich, fruity taste.  It's a complex but thoroughly pleasant and drinkable ale.  Bitterness is at a minimum, though there's some slightly bitter hop flavour in the finish.  In the aftertaste you also pick up prominent malts and there's a medium-sweet impression overall.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, and there's fairly high carbonation but the alcohol smooths out a lot of the effervescence.

A great, strong, fruity Belgian Dark.  Because the ABV was so high, I've only had half of the 25oz bottle - I will thoroughly enjoy the rest over the Independence Day weekend!  It's a lot like the Trappist and Abbey ales I tried as an undergrad at UK beer festivals - I'm pleasantly surprised that they captured the style so well.  So here are my scores:

Appearance - 4.5/5
Aroma - 4.5/5
Taste - 4.5/5
Mouthfeel - 4.5/5

Overall - 4.5.  I love Belgian styles, and this is a fantastic example.  I'll be interested to see how this compares to Ommegang (Upstate's official Belgian brewery), but Brooklyn have set the bar pretty high with this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment