TheSoaking SudsOUR BI-WEEKLY BEER COLUMN GIVES YOU A TASTY RECOMMENDATION This beer is like a buffet of awesome in my mouth without having to wait in line. This beer is like getting a present wrapped in numerous other presents, each one more awesome than the last. This beer is what love feels like. This beer is like two unicorns mating on my tongue. Well, it’s kinda like that, but not gross. This beer is fan-friggen-tastic.
OK, so I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I’ll usually try and wait to start raving about a beer until halfway through an article to make it seem like I have some sort of credibility, but this was just too good. I was a little nervous reading the label, but all my fears were laid to rest with the first sip. If the taste wasn’t enough, the brew even benefits the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research. If it takes drinking this beer for me to do my good turn for the day, so be it. Not that I needed inspiration to drink more of it, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Shmaltz brewing company out of New York, and Terrapin Beer Company out of Athens, Ga., have combined their beer brewing prowess to release Reunion ‘Ale 11, a beautiful collaboration. The bottle promises a “Dark Imperial Ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, and chilli pepper.” It sounded like an odd combination for a beer. The last chili pepper beer I had was straight up spicy all the way down the throat. I can’t say it was an unpleasant brew, but I wouldn’t exactly put it on top of my list. I was curious how Reunion would stack up with its promised sweet and savory notes.
Though it was a brown ale, it poured a dark black. It looked like a porter more so than a brown.
The head was lovely and plentiful, leaving lacing on the glass for the duration of the drink. The beer smelled sweet and chocolatey, though there was a slight burn in the nostrils from the chili. The promised vanilla was certainly there as well. It was a intensely interesting scent.
The taste? Well, it delivered exactly what it said it would. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than the bottle did: “The flavor begins with complex malt overtones and quickly gives way to a chocolate and vanilla mix of satisfying bliss. Just when you thought it was over, the heat from the chilies sneaks in and coats your tongue with tantalizing heat.” It is layered beautifully, each flavor holding its own and leading into the next. They march like a parade over the tongue, one by one, to combine into a glorious whole.
The malts are slightly bitter, the chocolate dark and truffle-like, the vanilla sweet and refreshing, and the chilies just present enough to tingle and add an intensely interesting contrast.
If this wasn’t enough, the beer is 7.3 percent ABV. It’s strong and thick. It’s everything good about winter beer. I suggest finding this brew and stocking a few bottles for a rainy day. Better yet, go get some to ring in the new year. I may just have to grab a case for the cellar myself.
This is one worth investing in. BEER CONNOISSEUR?