Tuesday, December 31, 2013

584. The Bruery Tart of Darkness

What better day to break out some fancy beer than New Year’s Eve? And nothing say jubilation around these here parts like the Bruery. So let’s get this party started! I bought this bottle last year, so it has had a chance to do it’s own thing in the basement ala Heavy D. And just like old school rap, the Bruery will never let me down. PEACE! Anyway, we can add this to the list from the brewery I love to love, including Oude Tart, Rueuze5 Golden Rings, Marrón Acidifié (a collabo with Cigar City), Autumn Maple, Humulus Session, 3 French Hens, Saison de Lente, Rugbrød, Hottenroth, Orchard White and Saison Rue.

Tart of Darkness pours a clear dark chocolate with ruby highlights and a thin tan head; the nose is leather, berry, and tobacco up front—and by berry I mean it is a jam bomb—with lingering acetic sourness and oak coming in at the end. Still, there is enough pucker in the nose to make my mouth start to react, specifically along the sides of my cheeks. And the tartness drops once it hits your lips: I get vinegar, oak, and red licorice up front, followed by lactic and citric brightness accompanied by vanilla from the oak in the middle and lots of berry flavor. Oh, and my cheeks started blushing almost immediately when I put glass to lips. The finish is has a slight mineral roast grit, dark fruit, and an acetic acid twang along with a tannic oak and sour roast bite. Still, it finishes rather clean, with some lingering pucker in the back of the cheeks. The beer has a thin body, but the oak and sourness provides the illusion of a bigger body than the beer actually has, in part from the slick and vinous mouthfeel on the palate and from the roast bite as well. While this may initially have had some roast in the aroma (as per the description below), it currently reads more like a darker Flanders Red—the hints of roast grit, sour roast bite, and slightly darker color being the only real elements keeping it from falling completely into that category. And even then, it is not very stout-y or stout-like. Although that is most likely not a surprising claim. Basically, this beer is another vote for yeast being the most important contributing factor to beer—well, and also a vote for time, the illusive fifth factor in the traditional quartet of yeast-malt-hops-water discussions. Maybe the best comparison is to Oude Tart, with this being the darker and more aggressively sour version—specifically in regards to the acetic acid—with more red licorice and juicy berry flavors as well. Still, a pucker-y delight that I’m certain will leave my cheeks wincing before it’s finished. As it should be.

From the bottle: “With a roasty aroma and a tart finish, this sour black ale is a contortion of style and flavor, creating an unexpected delight.”

ABV: 5.6%

P.S. I want to call this beer a colonialist fantasy in my mouth, but I’m afraid no one would get the joke.


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