I have a little beer fridge where I hide the fancy beer–the beer that I don’t want guests guzzling out of the bottle without taking the time to appreciate the aroma, head or mouthfeel. What’s in this fabled fridge? Join me as we discuss five rare, delicious brews.
This summer I was lucky enough to spend time in California, Oregon and Massachusetts, and I selected four beers to represent those areas, as well as one from Belgium just because, you know, it’s Belgium.
Black Butte XXIII, Deschutes Brewery
The Black Butte XXIII is a very special beer. It’s the 23rd birthday reserve from the Deschutes Brewery, located in Bend, Oregon. (I wrote about my beercation to Bend here.) Like their regular Black Butte, a very popular Deschutes beer, the XXIII is an American Porter, but it’s enhanced with cocoa nibs and locally roasted coffee. It’s got a deep, complex chocolate flavor with quite a lot of peppery spice and citrus notes. At 11% ABV, it’s a serious beer that pours beautifully with a lacy head. You can find the beer at these places, or if you’re a homebrewer, Deschutes has offered an XXIII clone recipe here!
Dulle Teve, Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
I was lucky enough to try the rest of these beers at the various breweries or bars I visited this summer. But I purchased this bottle of Dulle Teve at a great craft beer store in Boston, and I was saving it for a special occasion–this post! The Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers tripel, whose name means “Mad Bitch,” is a delicious all-malt brew made “with white candy in the kettle.” It has a crisp, fruity flavor, an extremely exuberant head that you can see above, and a little bit of a hoppy edge. Despite the fruity flavor (apples, pears, citrus), it’s quite dry in taste and absolutely delicious. You can find Dulle Teve, brewed at the Esen, Belgium brewery, at these locations. (Sorry, Texas!)
Jack d’Or, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Jack D’or is the flagship beer for the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, a “gypsy brewery” operating out of Sommerville, MA. It’s a lovely saison, one of my favorite types of beer, big and bready and full of yeasty flavor. Jack D’or boasts a solid head retention and some very earthy tones, and it’s a little hoppier than your typical saison. It’s got some very nice coriander notes and is easy-drinking at 6.4% ABV. You can pretty much only find Jack D’or around Massachusetts or in California, so if you live around there or have travel plans soon, I recommend nabbing one (or six).
PSA Extra IPA, Dempsey’s Restaurant and Brewery
The PSA Extra IPA from Dempsey’s, a restaurant and brewery located in Petaluma, California, was originally bottled as the Petaluma Strong Ale. It’s an Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV with a duly strong hop flavor. It’s got a little bit of fruitiness and finishes quite malty in the back. It has a very creamy mouthfeel and is a great beer for hop-lovers. The PSA is only available in California, so go west, young man/woman.
Rich and Dan’s Rye IPA (100 Barrel Series #37), Harpoon Brewery
Rich and Dan’s Rye IPA is #37 in Boston’s Harpoon Brewery 100 Barrel Series. It’s a citrusy rye beer with a fruity, floral aroma and a dry finish. It’s very well-balanced and crisp beer, nicely drinkable with a bit of spiciness. You can find Rich and Dan’s all over, including Texas!
Now that I’ve got you good and thirsty, it’s time for some book-learnin’. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has some wack regulations outlawing public consumption of beer where beer is sold, bottled or distributed. It also outlaws clear definitions of beer types or descriptions referencing alcoholic volume. The laws are antiquated and frustrating and specifically biased against breweries, as wineries are not forced to follow the same strict regulations. Texas craft brewery Jester King is actually suing the TABC over beer and consumer freedom, and you can read more about the lawsuit here. Texan BAD guys, please join the Open the Taps e-mail list. It’s a Texas-based non-profit organization whose mission is to promote craft beer through legislative reform. It’s time to change this old-fashioned bullshit so we can get our brew on.
Okay, that’s enough soap-boxing! Join me next time as we explore beers from other places I’ve visited–or at least other aisles of the craft beer section at Spec’s Liquor.