A little while back I was having a bad day. I don’t know why, it was probably just a day where my worries about something or the other caught up with me. Sitting at home, working on the computer, I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to find a cheery UPS delivery person with a box for “The Beer Babe.” Delighted by the surprise, I opened the box to reveal a red sash over a press release, which was covering a bottle (and matching glassware). A big thank you for the Red Hook crew for sending this out to me – I couldn’t wait to try it.
Looking at the bottle, contemplating Belgians, I did have a moment of pause. To me, this beer could be a game changer. Red Hook has always made great beer, but they’ve made brews that are of likable styles, of limited complexity, but plenty of taste. They’re got some really solid brews that are great for sitting someone down and helping them figure out what they like. A strong representation in each category, but really not moving beyond to the high ABV or really strange styles.
Putting my skepticism aside, I poured it into its glass and marveled at its beautifully dark orange color. The smell was even better. It had kind of a vanilla, banana bread aroma. It must be the yeast, but the bready smell was very inviting.
The taste was actually quite surprisingly good. It had a beautifully balanced sweet taste, with a level of complexity and warming to it. It is a great representation of a Belgian style, I heard through the grapevine that their yeast is “secret” but I think its probably a combination of ingredients and brewer skill. I think this could almost be a “warm up” Belgian. Something that you use to ease your beer drinking friends to the “next level.” I enjoyed that it was sweet and it was very drinkable. At 10%ABV, I believe it is far and away more alcoholic than their entire other line of brews, which makes it stand out.
In summary, it probably isn’t the end-all-be-all-down-on-your-needs-saying-I’m-not-worthy kind of brew, but is a great Belgian taste, a nice warming flavor, lots of complexity, and relatively easy to get. (Not to mention domestically brewed!). Check it out if you see it.