My first beer from The Bruery, the latest "oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!!!" brewery of the geekerie. Small and specialist out of Placentia, California, I admit to wondering why this tiny place's beers are even in the Philly market -- but of course, that's why: it's Philly. 'Nuff said.
Anyway, this was a brewery sample, so after the requisite stalling and chilling and drinking other stuff, I'm getting to it. There's a ring of brown shtuff, like wet tobacco dust, around the bottle-lip when I lever the cap off. Not promising. 2TD pours thick and dark, almost black, and I'm wondering if this is more of The Cult of the Imperial Stout that seems to have taken over the übergeekerie, even more so than DIPA Frenzy.
But it's not that, it's... If a Baltic Porter is a doppelbock gone porter, this is an imperial Belgian stout...if you will, thus successfully combining two frenzy-inducing genres. I don't like it at first -- on the incipient edge of sourness, and the beer's almost too rich, and it doesn't taste like the description -- like "turtles," the choco-caramel-nut candy. Too much fruit for that. Too much, in general, even in a 12% beer.
As it warms, however, some cherry asserts itself, and the beer cleans up. Still big (and I don't get the people who said it hides the alcohol; no 'bad' alcohols, maybe, but clearly a big beer), and still rich, but settling down, getting comfortable with itself. Taken as not just a holiday warmer but as a statement on the lines of Stone's Vertical Epic -- and isn't that a gutsy thing for such a small, young brewery? isnt' it? Or is it? -- it's big enough.
I have another bottle. Gonna make sure more people are around when I open that one.
All opinions expressed on this blog are strictly my own; they do not reflect those of the publications for which I work.
I've been a full-time drinks writer since 1996. Currently I'm managing editor of Whisky Advocate magazine; a regular writer for Ale Street News and Massachusetts Beverage Business magazine; and author of four regional brewery guidebooks. Next time you see me at a bar or event or distillery, say hi.