Archive for the 'French Broad' category
Despite the fact that we never got around to reviewing it here on SevenPack, I’ve long been a fan of French Broad’s Wee Heavy-er Scotch ale. During our team’s legendary run at Tyler’s pub quiz in Carrboro, the Wee Heavy-er was a common “mind lubricant”, along with the Franziskaner Dunkelweiss, that propelled my team to a number of victories, regardless of my efforts to drag us down. That was a couple of years ago, so I was especially happy to find the new Wee Heavy-est on shelves recently.
This one pours a dark, deep chocolate colored brown with lots of super dense debris and a rather thin caramel colored head. In the nose, this is mostly dark bready malt and some semi-sweet chocolate aroma. The sweetness in the scent isn’t cloyingly sweet at all, rather it comes across deep and a little bit musty. In the mouth, this is, as expected, a big ol’ Scotch ale. The predominant flavors are grain, starting off a bit musty and bready and then progressing in both strength and sweetness through the mouth. The initial simplicity of this beer on the tip of the tongue truly doesn’t belie the strength of flavor that is to come. As this beer travels down the tongue, we get a heavy blast of toffee sweetness, blended with the deep chocolatey malt flavors. In addition, there is also some big dark fruit here, mostly in the realm of blueberry and dark grape. I’m also getting a decent contribution of yeasty flavors and maybe a slight bit of banana. In short, it’s a busy beer – very complex and very tasty… Truly a Scotch ale on steroids. All that being said, I have to heavily recommend this brew. This time of year, a big dark sweet beer is a perfect nectar, and French Broad has done a stellar job with this one. I’m gonna have to go grab a couple more of these, as I’d love to cellar one for a bit and see what happens…
How’s that for a combination – a dark-white ale? Craziness. Matty and I have both had a lot of French Broad beers. We took a little trip to the brewery the last time we were over towards the mountains, and they serve this stuff in a few bars around the Durham/Chapel Hill area. However, we DON’T see much of this in bottles. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a bottle of this stuff around here. So, I managed to see a big bottle of the Dunkel-Witte on the shelf (with the admittedly boring label you see here) at Sam’s Blue Light. All of French Broad’s brews I’ve had have been good, so I surely picked it up.
This beer pours a very dark brown – almost black. It doesn’t appear to have much debris to it – just a very dark hue. There is, momentarily, a creamy caramel head, but it quickly dissipates to nothing. The aroma of the beer is a little sweet and a little nutty – almost peanut buttery. There are some notable woodsy root aromas here, too. In the mouth, this is an interesting beer. It is much as the aroma would have us expect, and it is very much a dark wheat beer. It has some light sweet notes, and it has some deep rootsy notes. The first taste on the front of the tongue is nutty and lightly bitter, but this quickly moves to a sweet flavor that is still a bit nutty with hints of caramel. On through the mouth, both the nutty and sweet flavors develop in a way that I can only compare to peanut butter, although this doesn’t really taste like peanut butter, per se. The flavor hits a definite peak about the back of the tongue, and then tapers off to a lighter presence as the aftertaste lingers. Throughout this journey, we can also taste a bit of horehound, some smoke, and maybe some light spiciness. Really, this is a great beer. It is complex and very tasty, but it is also refreshing and washes pretty clean – these characteristics don’t often to fall into the same beer. So, I like it a lot – it continues French Broad’s tradition of making tasty big beers.