Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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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.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Stone 9th Anniversary Ale

I remember it took me a while to come around on Arrogant Bastard--my first instinct was to regard it as an exercise in marketing: great name, great ploy, etc. I thought it was just plain out of balance--too hoppy to be a real barley wine, way too chewy to be an IPA. Well, I was wrong; I learned to like that beer, particularly when it was paired beautifully with roast pork at a Stone-themed dinner in So. Cal. I suppose I have minor philosophical objections to a brewery that tries to make every beer over the top. . . What about a brewery like Smuttynose where most of the beers are driven by an obvious obsession with balance??

Anyway, that quibble aside, I really really like the Stone beers. Ruination isn't bad. Arrogant Bastard is fun. The Double Bastard is good on occasion. Their imperial stout may be -the- finest U.S. commerical interpretation of the style. And now I'm drinking the 9th Anniversary ale which is a gem. It's a souped-up wheat beer.

It's a lovely orangey color and the nose has a bewitching hop character. The website says it's dry hopped with Amarillo and Crystal. There's a funny thing about Amarillo--they smell sweet somehow (a funny thing in a hop), which results in tremendous fruitiness, like pears mostly. This is a big beer (7.8%; 1079; 50 IBU), which balance a zesty, tart wheat character, spritzy carbonation, and a mouth-coating, alcoholic depth.

This makes me want to brew two things. 1) Given the spectacular hop aroma here, why not a Crystal/Amarillo IPA? 2) I've been thinking seriously of making a Wheat Wine. There's something really bewitching about high gravity wheat beers. They combine a dashing lightsome quality with depth and alcohol. I may just tackle that challenge and design one in the near future. . .

In the meantime, here's to Lee Chase.


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