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Blindman’s Anniversary Beer Something to Celebrate

blindman1yearI like it when breweries have birthdays because it usually is the consumer who gets a present. And with the brewery boom taking place on the prairies, beer drinkers in the region can look forward to a raft of beer celebrating early accomplishments. I know of a few coming down the pike in the coming weeks and months.

First up is Blindman Brewing’s first anniversary beer, deceptively called 1 Year. It is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, clocking in at 8.9% and packaged in a 500-ml bottle. I am told they hope to do a different anniversary beer every year (the Blindman boys like their numbered series – Kettle Sours, Anniversary Beers…). I got my hands on a bottle over the weekend and gave it a try.

It pours pale straw and quickly builds a formidable bubbly white head. I note a fair degree of haziness. It is also very effervescent, much like the style should be. In the aroma I detect pilsner malt, honey, some light fruit, and a stalk-y graininess. It also gives off a bit of wildflower, an earthy pepper spiciness along with a hint of funky yeast.

I take a sip and at first get a soft grainy malt sweetness upfront. I find it very floral with a honey accent. First impression is that the beer is quite soft and gentle. The middle then builds a peppery, earthy yeast character which also begins to dry out the beer. The back end offers a bit of floral hop note and a moderately sweet finish. A lingering yeast spiciness blended with a bit of earthy hops and a honey ester finish off the beer.

My first thought about this beer is that nowhere can I find evidence that it is 9% alcohol. No heat or lingering vapours, this beer really hides its punch.That is a very, very good sign for a Belgian, as they should sneak up on you. It is a very smooth with a soft profile overall that I find quite pleasing. The yeast spiciness is fairly moderate in volume but hits the right flavour notes. I wouldn’t have minded if they could have coaxed just a bit more pepperiness out of it.Although I did notice that when I drank the yeasty dregs (I leave the sediment behind in the original pour but then like to swirl and drink the remainder at the end, just because I hate wasting good beer), the yeast spiciness picked up noticeably. Not sure what that means, but it does suggest the Belgian spicing is there.

Finally I find the finish doesn’t dry up the way I might like, it keeps some residual sweetness. This isn’t a flaw, per se, just a preference. The style allows for a range of sweet to dry. Also, the stats suggest it did finish quite dry (1.005), but the perception comes away as sweeter, likely due to the fruitiness of the beer.

In a way the beer presents as being quite fresh (which it is) and a bit young (which it is). It has me very curious to find out what this beer might taste like in a year or so. With a bit of age on it, it could prove to be quite the celebration beer.

Happy birthday Blindman! Looking forward to many, many more.


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