We have another Dogfish Head brew on offer this weekend, and this time it’s Kvasir, from their line of Ancient Ales, beer brewed with ingredients and processes that go back to the earliest days of brewing. Kvasir is a re-creation of an early Scandinavian beer-like beverage and the flavors are provided by ingredients including lingonberry, cranberry, honey, birch syrup, and herbs. This is a wheat beer, so the malt influence is mild and gives the ale a grainy backbone. You smell the berries in the nose along with a strong dose of funky Belgian-esque yeast. The cranberries really come through in the middle with some bright, tart fruit. The finish is really well balanced between some lingering sugar from the honey and syrup and bitter herbs. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol (10% ABV) is well hidden by the bold flavors here. The fruit is so forward that you almost forget you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage. The target audience for this beer is, I’d say, those who enjoy the Belgian fruit-based beers like Gueuzes, or lambics in general. This is an excellent execution on an old-world, pre-hop style beer.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Merry Christmas Eve! Today is a day of anticipation for the celebration to come, and for the special occasion, a special beer. Lindemans is known for their fine lambics (several of which I’ve reviewed on this blog) but Gueuze Curvée René is a particularly unusual and amazing beer. It’s a lambic, but a mixture of two-thirds young lambic, and one-third old lambic, which is then bottle conditioned for six months. The result is one of a kind. The capped and corked bottle pops as if it were champagne. The nose is sour wild Belgian yeast. The body is medium, and the flavor from middle to finish is tart and dry, with the tartness followed by notes of apricot and grapes, with very little discernible residual sugar. This is closer to dry sparkling wine than to the typical beer. My bottom line: This is a beer to celebrate with.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
Weird name, good beer. I have a strong predilection for fruit beers in the summer, and Rübæus from Founders Brewing in Michigan is a lovely example of the raspberry persuasion. So, here it is, late August, and I’m drinking yet another pink beer. Rübæus is a fairly traditional raspberry lambic. It isn’t as heavily carbonated as some, which really helps one to enjoy it as beer, rather than mistake it for a spritzer. The nose is yeasty, with berries and sugar. The middle is strongly raspberry and super tart. There’s not room for many other flavors here. The finish transitions from tart to cloyingly sweet, with herbal notes right at the tail end. It’s quite nice, but it also quite resembles an alcoholic version of fruit punch. It’s a great beer to try out on those who traditionally choose sweet wine, or wine coolers, or hard lemonade rather than beer. It’s a good lambic, but could use a few more flavor notes to keep the palate interested.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.