I warned you. After all, how long did you think I could continue to sit on this liquid gold? While we’re saving the Swamp Head/Cigar City Roosevelt American Barley Wine we also picked up for later (I know—what a tease, right?), this is tonight’s lucky victim. It is not our first beer from Swamp Head Brewing, but it is the first we’ve condescended to write about. How’s that for pompous irreverence?
Batch 300 pours a slightly hazy gold with a profuse white rocky head;
the nose is a mix of spicy phenolic yeast and fruit, specifically banana, along
with a fair amount of doughy wheat and Belgian candy. Jeff calls it a dull
perfume, which I think is an apt description—it is both perfume-y and spritzy
in the nose. Flavors start with a slightly spicy wheat and Belgian candy that
has a touch of gumminess; at the start, there was a fair amount of bubblegum
yeast flavor, but it quickly bled off. The middle is creamy with a slight
chewiness, and the finish is dry with a bitter tang. The bright carbonation
makes the beer dance on the tongue, and helps foreground the delicate
aromatics. At the same time, the creamy, rounded flavors, sit pleasantly on the
tongue. The intangibles are off the chart—malt character, yeast character,
Belgian character—and all work to delicate and delicious effect. My only real
critique is that the body could be a bit drier to better fit classic examples
of the style, but it is certainly drier and cleaner than most of the other
American tripels we’ve tried. But besides a bit more attenuation, this is a well-made and enjoyable beer—solid within the style, and also elicious in its own right. I knew I should have bought a second bottle so I could have more of it later.