03 May 2012

KOTBR #141: Knights in Irvington

Although we covered many of the details in our Grand Opening post, it took a while for the full KOTBR crew to make our way to Irvington's Black Acre Brewing Company. We're happy to report that Black Acre is now selling their own beer, but our visit came a day before that beer went on.

What's a brewing company without its own beer? In this case it's still one of Indy's premier craft beer destinations, with a full and interesting selection of beer from all over the place. You'll find a great variety of styles at Black Acre - proof that the folks running the place love drinking beer as much as they love making their own.

But this is a beer review, not a pub review, so let's get on with it.

Tripel Karmeliet:  Simply put, this beer is a new classic.  While this beer is brewed from a recipe over 300 years old, the modern day version has only been brewed since the 90s.  Despite its relative youth in the Belgian market, it still maintains a balance only achievable by Belgian brewers.  The aroma of the beer isn't quite the traditional Tripel experience.  Instead, this beer lies somewhere between a Belgian Wit and a French Saison with its notes of banana and lime zest, coupled with a spicy blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove and white pepper.

Where the aroma misleads, the flavor reassures.  Sweet Belgian candi sugar carries throughout the beer.  Honey, carmelized sugar and vanilla compliment the sweetness of the Belgian sugar.  Fruit notes of banana, pear, apple are all present and provide an excellent counter-balance to the sugars and result in a beer that is surprisingly light for its high ABV.  This isn't a heavy and yeasty tripel, instead it is refreshing, crisp and clean.  Its slightly warming alcohol doesn't burn the throat, but instead beckons for you to enjoy another drink. 4.5 Mugs

Sixpoint 7th Anniversary Belgian Red IPA:  What style of beer is this?  All of them.  With such a commanding name, you would expect a much more intense beer than this actually is.  The aroma is faint, almost non-existent, but as it warms up, notes of caramel malt, strawberries, rye and orange all come out.  You'll have to pay close attention to find them, but more than likely you won't get much of anything up front.

With such an elusive nose, this beer certainly provokes apprehension when taking the first sip.  Luckily the beer itself is enjoyable.  Elements of brown sugar, plums and pepper create the backbone for the Belgian component of this 7th Anniversary beer.  Cinnamon and cocoa round out a slightly roasted characteristic, fulfilling the promise of a Red ale.  Last but not least, pine and a dry, bitter finish end the beer on an IPA note.  This one is certainly enjoyable, but the epic name raised my expectations to a weird place that they couldn't quite back down from. 3.6 Mugs

Tripel Karmeliet: Aside from macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, cereal, and pancakes, bologna was the only thing I'd eat until I was about six years old. I was nuts for bologna. And while that love affair endured, it didn't have frills; I wanted only a few slices of Oscar Mayer bologna with dill pickle chips on white bread smothered in plain yellow mustard. Had my five-year-old self had his way, he'd have eaten this simple bologna sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So the fact that Tripel Karmeliet's nose first brought to mind bologna for me isn't as disgusting as it might sound; I immediately wanted to call the beer "Best Bologna Beer."  Then a sip brought a wallop of bready notes, not unlike you'd get from a good lager. After this the character changed with each sip. The second sip brought sugar, the third pepper, and the fourth bananas. After that, the taste alternated between sugar and apples.

I can understand why Tripel Karmeliet has become a classic; not many beers can lay claim to such a chameleon-like character. This is a crafty little devil of a beer. 4.666 Mugs.

Sixpoint 7th Anniversary Belgian Red IPA: It's odd when you put a beer to your nose and don't get anything, particularly when it's an IPA. But that's what happened with this beer. The flavor brought an overwhelming smack of hops with a faint malt presence. The nose eventually gave rise to some banana esters and that good ol' Belgian mustiness, yet the flavor didn't change for me.

I haven't been disappointed by anything Sixpoint has brought to Indiana and am very happy that they're here. This beer is a good one, but it's not on par with Resin or Gemini. 3.80 Mugs.

Tripel Karmeliet - Colorwise, it's a jonagold apple in a glass. Big big big nose, full of flowers. This is a saison of triples. Not the banana tripel notes you'd expect. The beer is not (alcohol) hot to start, but the alcohol definitely crawls out and builds. Given time to warm, it's immediately evident. There's also an a warming almost mint-like spiciness to finish. Sweetness! 4.15 mugs for wackiness.

Six Point 7th Anniversary (Belgian Red IPA) - doesn't smell like much. Maybe a hint of funk, but I'm projecting. But here it is, a mix of Flanders Red funk and strong IPA bitter, muddled in the middle, immediately confusing, light bodied, corn chip and tobacco depth. But not a rewarding depth, so.. 2.9 Mugs

Tripel Karmeliet
Gina: 4.85 Mugs | Jim: 4.66 Mugs | Jason: 4.0 Mugs | Rod: 4.(High)5 Mugs | Mike: 4.15 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.43 Mugs

Six Point 7th Anniversary (Belgian Red IPA)
Gina: 3.5 Mugs | Jim: 3.8 Mugs | Jason: 4.2 Mugs | Rod: 3.6 Mugs | Mike: 2.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.6 Mugs

1 comment:

  1. Friend of mine from Brooklyn (recently transported back to Cincinnati permanently) said a lot of what Six Point distributes is produced in a different place than that which is available in the brewery AND the brewery stuff is MUCH better (in his opinion) than the weaker, less complex production stuff. That being said, RESIN is delicious, but the others I haven't really had a chance to try. Well, I had their "cream ale" -- can't remember what the name was except that the liquor store attendent said it was "kind of like Sun King's Cream Ale but hoppier," I almost put it back (who wants to pay 12 for a 4 pack of cream ale?? anyone? Especially when there 12 other sixers of GREAT beer right next to it? Anyway...) All I can say is, it wasn't bad...just expensive. Add to that my friend from Brooklyn said that beer wasn't anything like the one they make it out to be in the brew house. Just some flavor for ya..