Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

My Photo
Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Random Tasting Notes

Went to DiBella's Fancy Fruit Baskets in search of random and/or holiday-focused beers the other day. Came back with, among other things, Victory Brewing Co.'s "Ten," a "Belgian-inspired ale." Bottled Sept. 11, 2002. Sitting at a low room temperature on a fairly dimly lit shelf for over two years. It's the last bottle of its kind, more or less--at any rate, it's the last one the funky dude at DiBella's had (that was how he talked me into buying it). I'm confused about Victory because I had their "Golden Monkey Triple" in So. Cal. and thought it quite wretched. To quote my own pre-blog tasting notes: "This beer smells kinda good for a minute but then proves to be the whore of Babylon. It is unfocused, coarse, not dry enough, and has a putrescent, bilgy finish. Almost like a malt liquor in its total lack of refinement and green, rotty, vagueness." Wow. Did I hate that fuckin' beer or what? On the other hand, in NY, dramatically closer to the (Pennsylvania) source, I had Victory's Prima Pils (Fabulous, see other posting), Hop Devil (One of the most distinctive hop bouquets ever), and Storm King Imperial Stout (A winey, plushy, 9% abv beauty). So I figured I'd give their Belgian range a second chance. There's a Grand Cru in the fridge that I'll get around to. I'm going to assume that the aforementioned triple suffered horribly in transcontinental transit, because this beer, the "Ten," is quite distinctive. Has a beautiful rusty, orangey color, a vigorous head, and a pretty fine bead. It's nose is remarkably Belgian with some bright, citric, estery fruit, and a little hit of the sort of corky, oaky, cellar character that one gets from, say, Abbaye des Rocs. It also smells sour, in an altogether pleasant way. On the palate it's a marvellous blend of sweet and sour, winey, almost vaguely Rodenbach-ish tones--very, very Flemish tasting. Grabby, faintly tannic mouthfeel. The finish lingers and feels as much like a red wine as a beer. I'm really impressed by this beer. It's not on their website--did they quit making it? The Walter in me says, "God-DAMNit!! Doesn't anyone give a SHIT about the RULES???!!" Anyway, that's my way of saying, "good beer--Wish I had more." I really think a lot of the better domestic Belgian style beers are catching up to the exemplars themselves. Here's to Victory...


Post a Comment

<< Home