So yesterday was a milestone of sorts, some of you know why. Unfortunately I was stuck in meetings and at the airport and got home AFTER the day was over so I was not able to celebrate the day properly. As I type bleery eyed this morning I started to think, if I could have a do-over and have any beer for celebration what would it be?
My favorite beer hands down is that Nat en Straf (wet and strong) classic, De Dolle Oerbier. I remember my first encounter with this wonderful elixir in the basement of a friend’s home while studying for my BJCP exam. I had purchased the beer in Buffalo, NY because it was listed in the guidelines and it turned out to be absolutely complex and wonderful. The beer is sweet, yet tart and effervescent with a estery mix of dark fruits and cherries which enlightens the palate to all that beer can be. Oerbier would probably be high on my list of beers to see out for that special occasion.
As we were traveling through Belgium I happened across an Oerbier truck and just had to have a snapshot!
My second thought was immediately Allagash Interlude. I believe my first encounter with this beer was 2005 the first year it was released. It is a magnificent beverage with qualities of wine and beer and a pleasant tart yet underlying sweetness which does not disappoint. I sat in on a talk by Rob Tod where he discussed the origins and basically that first batch was a saison in which the yeast went dormant and eventually wild yeast crept in and restarted the fermentation. Once they tasted the beer they knew they were onto something and eventually that became Interlude. I’d suggest serving in a wine glass or a tulip and marvel at just how truly outstanding this is as a beverage.
Since a third offering is called for I believe I’d put in one more which offers complexity and also exhibits some tart characteristics. This one is a little more off the beaten path and may be harder to find. I first encountered New Glarus Enigma when on a private tour of the brewery in 2003 given by Deb Carey. We were tasting all kinds of beers they had created and somehow she pulled out some unlabeled bottles of Enigma and sold them for $10 each to our group. Enigma had won multiple GABF medals, but had never been released for public consumption other than at festivals. I took the bottle home and finally opened it in 2005. Oh what joy and wonder! The beer has the complexity of a lambic while adding in light characteristics of bourbon and cherry. Never boozy, just truly astounding and wonderful. Probably closest to a Flanders Brown, but the complexity added from the bourbon/oak is a sight to behold. Now the beer is available on occasion in 12 ounce bottles and is one you should seek out.
So there are three excellent beers to seek out to celebrate your next special occasion. Hopefully next year on March 2 I can have a little time to celebrate the day with my favorite beverage!