For some reason, we have Belgium on the mind this month. Perhaps it's the celebration of Belgian brews happening right this minute at Magnolia and 21A. Or, maybe it's the lovely, locally brewed Belgian-style Golden Ale that we encountered a couple weeks back. Of course, it's a strong possibility that we're simply always daydreaming of Belgian Trappist beers. Either way, we're sticking with the European theme this week.
This week's featured brew comes from another local outfit: Heretic Brewing. Before starting the operation, brewer Jamil Zainasheff garnered heaps of praise within the homebrewing community for his impeccable re-creations of classic beer styles. Heretic's newest offering, Torment, follows in this tradition. This Belgian Strong Dark Ale falls somewhere between Dubbel and Quadrupel territory -- two styles known for rich, malty flavors. The beer pours a deep mahogany color with a wispy beige head.
Aromas of dark fruit and caramel jump out of the glass. Whereas some other heavy, dark brews such as Imperial Stouts focus on roasty flavors of chocolate and mocha, the Belgian approach is decidedly different. The yeast strain yields notes of fig and plum wrapped in a toffee sweetness. Notes of caramel apple are layered upon a base of Belgian candi sugar (a rock candy-esque sugar used in Belgian brewing). The thick, rich body makes the beer feel even more decadent.
This beer will pair well with many items on your Thanksgiving table, particularly roasted meats, sharp cheeses, or caramel apple pie. And at 10% ABV, your family gathering is bound to take on a new light. Heretic's offerings are available at most better beer stores throughout the city. Call ahead to shops such as City Beer Store, Healthy Spirits, and The Jug Shop for availability.