Sunday, May 27, 2012

514. New Belgium Fall Wild Ale

So I’ll be honest. I hate flying. Mostly because, well, it sucks. But occasionally you get something good out of the deal. Rarely, but sometimes it does happen. And no, I’m not talking that you “get to go someplace cool,” or “see your family,” or some smaltzy crap like that. Those are the Bobby McFerrin-esque lies that people tell themselves to rationalize the ugly truth of air travel. After all, the penance that is flying clearly indicates that we’re willing to trade suffering for expedited travel to a different locale—otherwise no one would do it in the first place. But today was one of those days: something cool happened. I was flying back to Dayton from San Francisco, and was routed through Denver. I was hoping that the New Belgium HUB bar was going to grace the terminal I had a 50 minute layover in, because, well, a beer between flights is always a treat. Well, almost. And in the walk between gates, there it was—just a short distance from my next gate. My first flight had even gotten in ten minutes early, guaranteeing adequate time to actually enjoy the beer. But never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate that a Lips of Faith beer would be on tap to greet me. And it was one of the good ones, too, unlike that last disappointment. And not to give it away, but this beer has restored my faith in the Lips of Faith series. Thank you, New Belgium. Previous hits and misses include Prickly Passion SaisonVrieden, La Folie Falling Rock Tap House 10th Anniversary, Mighty Arrow Pale Ale, Ranger, Le Fleur, Misseur?, Transatlantique Kriek, Biere de Mars, Fat Tire, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale and La Folie. Dag. That’s some work.

Fall Wild Ale pours a slightly hazy mahogany, which is just another way of describing the brown and orange color of classic Belgian-style beers. The thin white head put in a small effort before giving up the ghost, although the ring around the edge of the glass is due diligence for a beer with brettanomyces. In the nose, there was mostly brett barnyard and hay with a touch of buried dark fruit and caramel. As the beer warms the dry funk really comes out in the nose. Delightfully so. The flavors were subtle and well-balanced, opening with dry caramel and dark fruit—mainly cherry and fig—before giving way to the dry, earthy brettanomyces character of barnyard and musty hay, and finishing slightly tart. Fall Wild Ale is dry and clean on the palate with a subtle, gentle intensity. The transition between the fruit and brettanomyces character was a sheer delight—I think the best way to describe the beer would be to call it something akin to a bretted Belgian dubbel, one that retains all the interesting fruit and malt character of the dubbel, but is enhanced and dried out by the brett as it develops in the beer. An excellent and enjoyable beer, one that drinks far too clean for a beer over 8% ABV. Why they still have a keg of this in the airport bar in May is beyond me, but I am certainly glad that they did.

From the New Belgium website: “Fall Wild Ale, our mahogany-hued autumn ale spiced with schisandra, opens with the floral, earthy notes of fall itself. Schisandra berries, known as five flavor fruit,’ possess a panoply of flavors. This malt-forward dubbel ale is fermented with a Trappist yeast and finishes dry and slightly sour from a touch of bretta.”

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 18.5
Hops: Willamette, Goldings, Target
Malts: Pale, C-80, Munich, Victory
Fruits/Spice: Schisandra

Oh, and to further indicate the fickle nature of flying, I spent the night on the floor of the same terminal several years ago on my way back from Hawaii. Sure, the New Belgium HUB brewery helped during the following day of delayed flights, but I had to sleep on the floor of the airport. In January. With about a thousand other people. So honestly, I think the Denver International Airport still owes me big time. Seriously.


No comments:

Post a Comment