Wednesday, July 2, 2014
New Belgium and 3 Floyds Grätzer Ale
New Belgium Brewing did another collaboration for their latest Lips of Faith Series offering, this time with 3 Floyds Brewing. The label on big 22 features a full wrap-around of bicycle-riding zombies. Kinda spooky but a good blending of both breweries' identities. The story that goes along with the art explains that this Grätzer isn't a dead style though it is long-buried. Best Enjoyed by May 2015. 4.5% alcohol.
Aroma is full of smoke, with an underlying meaty sweetness and hints of plums and other dark fruits. Smoked sweet meat dominates the flavors as well. Charred wood and leather also come to mind, with campfire ashes left behind on the palate after each sip. A little tart at the finish--they said that's because they added "Lacto," so I'll go with that. It was at that point that I thought I was going to end up dumping this out as it was not very enjoyable in any way.
So it sat for a while. Honestly, as the beer got warmer and I got used to the profile, Grätzer grew on me a bit. The smoky ashy intensity dropped, and the meaty sweetness became more subtle. I won't say I loved it, but it is interesting and I guess has its place. My bet is that it would be a pretty good complement with some barbecued anything, or even used as a cooking ingredient. (Go find the full Flay v. Angerer Iron Chef video where they had Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier as one of their ingredients, for inspiration.)
Anyway, keep it in mind if you are tempted to taste this--not "right out of the fridge" temperatures!