Day 2 of our keeping distant but staying in the holiday spirit is a big ol’ box of barrel-aged beers from The Bruery.
“12 years, 12 beers. This limited edition collection includes a 2019 version of all twelve of our original 12 Days of Christmas Series releases. From Partridge to Drummers, we’ve got you covered. We took the original recipes and created a fresh version for you to taste in this collectible box. Finish your collection, or try side by side with your original. Creating this box was no small feat, but conversely this release is extremely limited and available only once, every 12 years.”
Since I had three Black Tuesday variants from The Bruery, I thought it appropriate to have instead of just my line opinion, three total. So, here goes…
Guest reviewers Jennie and Richard and I cracked open the Vanilla double barrel and the initial reaction was not good. Overly sweet and masking the bourbon barrel of the original while being 1.2% higher in ABV. I found it unbalanced and overly sweet.
The Maple double barrel got better though still mixed reviews probably due to the fact that the maple was less pronounced and was in better balance with the base beer. It too was 1.1% higher in ABV. I liked it better than the vanilla getting a pancakes and syrup vibe.
The Port Barrel variant was the most complex. Different adjectives flowed which was a good sign. Considered overall a sitting by the fire with a snifter beer. I thought it showed off the barrel better and had Belgian and cider characteristics.
Not great was the main takeaway with Maple and Vanilla a distant 2nd and 3rd overall and the Port version winning mostly because it wasn’t as sweet as the other two.
When I saw that the classic Black Tuesday was going to be put in 16oz cans, I was happy. I will be even happier when they come in adorable little 10oz bottles.
So, I typed that intro before I received a mega bounty of Black Tuesday 2020 which included cute little 10 ounce cans of three different variants!
You’ve got your maple, vanilla and Port barrel-aged versions but those will wait until November. Can’t rush a beer that hasn’t been rushed.
First, let’s talk the original. Almost drank it straight out the can like a libertine. It is boozy. But not as hot with alcohol as I feared. There is a burn. At 19+%, there is going to be one. But this drinks smooth and might well smooth more with extra aging. I get raisin and fig and big bourbon notes swirling. I can totally see why other flavors would appeal as additions to this.
It may be passé to say that we as beer fans need to hew close to our roots but there are relatively few beers that I believe need to be tasted each year. Black Tuesday is one of those beers.
Seltzers may be all the rage but I have yet to find one that is so much better than the N/A versions I buy at Trader Joe’s. I wish that the Radler was being talked about as much.
So let’s talk So Radler from The Bruery. Their pastry beers and Offshoot Hazies are leading their charge currently but they have a quartet of Radler that you should try. Grapefruit might be the best start to simulate some of the hop flavors but I lean towards the tangerine myself.
The folks over at The Bruery have another collaborative effort with Chef Brooke Williamson, a trio of beers that focus on an element each. There is “a beer-wine hybrid with one of Chef Brooke’s oldest inspirers, Andrew Murray, of Andrew Murray Vineyards. A huckleberry fruited tripel, inspired by the love of tripels shared by both us and Chef Brooke and a thyme spiced stout that showcases Chef Brooke’s love of gardening and growing her own herbs with our love of brewing stouts.”
Thanks to beer buddy Richard, I got a nice mix of Bruery cans to sample. So let’s try three!
Ruekeller Helles – Pours a bright yellow color. Nice foamy head to it. Super crisp. So much grain notes here. Really good. Nice earthy hop aroma to this. Makes me want to have others in the German influenced Ruekeller series.
Wit the Funk – Wow this is tart and acidic. The spice is downplayed to feature the wheat as is the citrus. Would have enjoyed 12oz more. Stomach started to churn. But this is a really well made beer and the pairing possibilities are endless.
Unwind – This Offshoot Hoppy pils interesting. I get some tea like tannin notes, orange Tang and a little danky muskness. The bitterness really lingers on the palate. Missing is the pils part of the equation. This could be labeled hoppy lager or hoppy blonde to me. Thumbs up overall though.
The Bruery is trying to keep the spirit of the toast alive, if just over the interwebs with their “digital drinking experience” You head over to YouTube to watch along with Patrick Rue starting at 5pm.
Here is the tasting line-up:
Handy Man – Dry-hopped blonde saison ale age in oak foeders with Buddha Hand citron. Tasting room exclusive.
Ruekeller Helles – Traditional Bavarian style Helles. Tasting rooms, online and in stores.
Relax [It’s Just A Hazy IPA] – Hazy IPA featuring Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo hops, imparting fruity, tropical and citrusy notes to complement the round, soft mouthfeel. Tasting rooms, online and in stores.
Well it seems pretty natural for Patrick Rue of The Bruery to expand into the wine arena. And now they have with Erosion. They have done so many beer-wine hybrids, beers aged in wine barrels and the like. Tasting rooms in Napa and St. Helena and wine in cans too.
If you have been around since the Partridge in A Pear Tree dropped lo those many years ago, then you will have to scan your memory or check your tasting notes because 12 years worth of Bruery holiday ales is coming. Tomorrow you can buy a full set and on the 13th there will be a selection from the years at Naja’s Place. Who knows what other shoppes and bars have full ranges stashed away.
The Bruery is adding a 3rd wrinkle to their popular barrel-aged Imperial Stout. They have made a Grand Reserve version that adds in time in a Brandy barrel to complement the bourbon barrels that it spent months in. Look for it in cans too.