Okay, it is December 3, and I have had the first 2 of the Beer Advent Calendar beer (for those just tuning in – check out here for an explanation). What are the first impressions? Positive with some uncertainty. Let me explain (to help keep things straight I will clearly indicate which day the beer is):
1. Ayinger Kellerbier
Day one – great start! I am a big fan of kellerbier generally (which is an un-flitered German beer – usually lagers that offer a fuller, yeastier flavour; kind of like a German cask ale). Ayinger is known for their weizens, of course and the sublime Celebrator. Their Kellerbier is a hazy light straw that looks remarkably like a witbier. A moderate white head and a touch of lacing tops, but not for long. The aroma is earthy with yeasty notes. Some light grain malt sweetness, some hints of lavender and soapiness. It is a very light-bodied beer with a delicate, lemony straw sweetness upfront. It is softer than I might anticipate. The middle dries out but remains light and soft. The finish has some earthy, yeast linger. Virtually no hop character at all. Very fresh and refreshing with a slight yeasty tang in the linger. It reminds me of a summer ale with the yeast remaining. A very promising start, indeed.
2. Brasserie Trois Dames Bise Noir Double Malt
This one confused me, I must admit. In part because neither the box nor the bottle tell you what to anticipate. It is a big beer that pours thick, black and opaque. It has a light tan head that refuses to build but still hangs around as a thin covering. The aroma gives off chocohlate, light coffee roast, dark fruit, some brown sugar sweetness. In all the aroma balance is sweet rather than roast – mostly porter with edges of stout. I also wonder if I get hints of lactic in there as well – the first sign of trouble. I sip and find sweet chocolate upfront and touches of coffee roast. I also get a bit of chocolate-covered almond in the flavour. But then a clear and distinct lactic sourness moves in and transforms the beer. It wipes away the richness of the beer, making it seem almost like a Flanders Stout (which doesn’t exist, as far as I know). I don’t know if this lactic is intentional or not (it often is). But either way I don’t think I appreciate its effects on the beer. It wipes away the richness and fullness that a big honking stout should have. I am trying not to do much googling with the Advent beer – as I want to exist in the uncertainty in a way as it seems part of the game. Which means I am not sure what they were going for her, but whatever it is – I am not sure it works.
Two beer down, 22 to go. An interesting and intriguing start to say the least. I will review seven more next Monday.