Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Weyerbacher 20th Anniversary Belgian Style Dark Ale (review)

For their 20th Anniversary, Easton Pa based Weyerbacher Brewing Company is celebrating with a Belgian Style Dark Ale that will be brewed once and then never again. According to Wikipedia the brewery, founded in 1995 by Dan and Sue Weirback is known for making beer with "huge taste," and that certainly seems to ring true with their 20th Anniversary Belgian Style Dark Ale.

I have to admit that, not only is this my first Weyerbacher, but despite this being my 51st craft beer review, I apparently still have much to learn, as this is also the first that I've heard of Weyerbacher - period. My local craft beer seller, The Jolly Farmer carries around 600 different beers. My tendency is to browse the racks and just sort of see what "pops out" at me. Over the summer that was Imperial IPAs. More recently I've been in the mood for Porters and Stouts, or anything with the word "dark" in it. I actually had an oatmeal stout in my hand when this dark ale caught my eye.

If I had to guess, I would have thought this was an import from Europe, and I guess that is sort of what they were going for. To my surprise, Weyerbacher is an American brewer based on my home state of Pennsylvania - a state with its fair share of German and "Pennsylvania Dutch" heritage, so its all good.

Coming in at 11%ABV, this Belgian Style Dark Ale is a heavyweight, and my 2nd strongest beer to date after Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. And at $17.47 for 4 tweleve ounce bottles its a bit of an investment in "beer geekdom." But as far as I'm concerned, worth every penny.

I poured my first bottle a bit on the warm side and was greeted by an explosive "I'm gonna take over your entire glass" off-white head of foam. To my surprise, this mostly opaque black beer (with hints of dark amber) appears to also be unfiltered and possibly bottle conditioned. Had I know this in advance I would have poured more carefully and avoided displacing the thin yeast cake from the bottom of the bottle.

The aroma is fruity (grape, cherry), like wine, and slightly boozy. The taste, as you might expect is sweet and warm - cherry, honey, licorice (from the Anise used in the brew), maybe some brown sugar or molasses. Very little bitterness. I quite like it.

Musical Pairing: Wildhoney by Tiamat

1. Saranac Legacy IPA
2. Country Pumpkin
3. Green Trail IPA
4. Dream Machine IPL
5. Dog Tooth Pale Ale
Ithaca Apricot Wheat
Southern Tier IPA
Firehouse Blonde Ale 
Hop Devil IPA
10 Southern Tier 2XIPA
11 Stone IPA
12 Brooklyn Oktoberfest
13 New Belgium Shift
14 Cascazilla Red IPA
15 Embrr Rye Porter
16 Snow Roller Hoppy Brown Ale
17 Red Irish Ale (home brew)
18 Celebration Fresh Hop IPA
19 Dry Irish Stout (home brew)
20 Hop Hunter IPA
21 Flower Power IPA
22 Rebel IPA
23 Southern Tier 2XONE IPA
24 Right-O-Way IPA
25 Cayuga Cruiser
26 HopBack Amber Ale
27 Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA
28 Uinta Detour Double IPA
29 Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
30 Tangier Session IPA
31 Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
31 Founders Centennial IPA
32 Wagner India Pale Ale
33 Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA
34 Saranac Imperial IPA
35 Troegs Perpetual IPA
36 Anchor IPA
37 DirtWolf Double IPA
38 Ruination Double IPA
39 Captain Lawrence IPA
40 Silverback Double IPA
41 Live Citrusy Session Pale Ale
42 Stone Delicious IPA
43 Hop Nosh IPA
44 Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
45 Southern Tier Imperial Pumking
46 Hop Knife Harvest Ale
47 Arrogant Bastard
48 Southern Tier Double Milk Stout
49 Uinta Anniversary Barley Wine
50 Java Head Coffee Stout

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