Monday, October 05, 2015

What's Jayme drinking?

I stopped by Spec's this evening to pick up a bottle of rum, because necessities. Whilst there, I caught sight of a bottle of Black Quad by Real Ale Brewing Co. out of Blanco. I'm a big fan of their Devil's Backbone Belgian tripel--faithful to the style at a reasonable price--so how could I not give the Black Quad a try? I picked up a bottle, wholly on impulse.

It poured like a clear, dark cola. So far, so good. The carmel-colored head was slow to form and subdued, maybe half a finger thick, but persisted quite a long time. More than an hour later it was patchy on the surface of the beer, like one of Louis Pasteur's petri dishes. The nose is alcohol forward (not entirely surprising for a 10.5 percent beer) with notes of dark cherries, malt and currants. The taste... holy moly. There's a sweet, malty rush of caramel, chocolate and toffee, with dark fruit--the usual plums and cherries--along with a slight tobacco-like sharpness. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, quite appropriate for a Belgian with this heft. Monkey Girl saw the clear mug sitting on the counter and mistook it for a cola. I told her it was a beer, and offered her a sip. She tasted it, and raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Beer's nasty," she said. "But if I liked beer, I'd like that."

I'm not a hop-head. IPAs just aren't my thing. I've made no secret that Le Terrible from the Quebec brewery Unibroue is my all-time favorite beer. Black Quad is not better than La Terrible. I won't even go so far as to say it equals La Terrible. Black Quad is inferior. But only just. Black Quad is definitely a worthy representative of the Belgian quadruple style. And it has the distinct advantage of costing just half of La Terrible. I mean, La Terrible is better, but it's not twice a good. Not by a longshot. I'm definitely going to make Black Quad a regular pick-up.

At a time when all the Texas microbrews seem to be chasing the "how many hops can we cram into a single bottle" trend that is raging nationwide, it's gratifying to see Real Ale Brewing Co. swimming against the current and taking up the challenge of producing complex, interesting Belgians. I hope the market rewards them, because damn, they're creating some worthy beers.

Now Playing: R.E.M. Eponymous
Chicken Ranch Central

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