Soaking Up the Suds


Soaking Up the Suds

by James Crane

 

Big, Bold and Strong
Weyerbacher is one of my favorite Pennsylvania breweries. The beers are generally strong and bold, which are two thing I like in a brew. While I tend to forget a lot of the beers I drink, Weyerbacher’s hold firm in the memory, their distinction warrants them some of those important neural pathways I generally reserve for things like remembering relative’s birthdays and recognizing the color orange. Honestly? I’d say its a decent trade.
My love of them started years ago with their Blithering Idiot Barley Wine. It was heavy and boozy with notes of dark fruit. The ABV of 11.1 percent contributed heavily to its naming, I believe. From there, it was onto the sweet Belgian Abby Style Ale, Merry Monks and their imperial stout, Old Heathen. Each of those brews was complex and delicious in their own ways. Weighing in at 9.3 percent ABV and 8 percent ABV respectively, they were also no slouch in the booze department. Weyerbacher makes big delicious beers that aren’t afraid to get a little rowdy.
Then, maybe a year ago, I tried Tiny, their Belgian inspired Imperial Stout. This beer was everything that makes Weyerbacher great and then some. It was big, bold and strong. It was also complex in a way that the others were not. It’s not to say that the other brews were not deep and layered. If I were to draw a comparison, I would say most of their brews are like an outlaw biker waving a gun around the room as opposed to a super villain master mind plotting a world take over. I wouldn’t want to mess with either, but there is a notable difference in scale.
Its been too long since I’ve tried one of their beers. This week, I found myself with a bottle of Eighteen in hand, ready to break my Weyerbacher fast. I’ll admit to being quite excited before I even cracked the bottle open. It promised to be malty, its ABV an 11.1 percent, just like Blithering Idiot. Even if the beer was bad, which I in no way expected it to be, it wouldn’t matter by the time I was half way through it. An 11.1 percent can make most things taste good in its own way.
The brew poured a hazy dark chestnut brown, reminiscent of a cola. It looked to have decent body with a bit of thickness to it. I do enjoy a nice thick beer from time to time, especially when the weather cools, as it did this past week. The head was small and tan. It didn’t last long, but that’s acceptable in a beer this big. It carried scents of bananas and fruit, almost certainly from the Belgian yeast they used. There were also notes of wheat, chocolate, and brown sugar. There was a lot going on in the nose and all of it was good.
The taste was huge. There was some spice to this one, noticeably clove, and certainly a good amount of booze on the tongue. The malt and hops were delightfully balanced. Each one was really showcased well without being overshadowed by the other. Notes of chocolate, rye, and dark fruits were prevalent as well.
Weyerbacher just keeps getting better. Eighteen was everything I hoped and more. I’m already excited for next year’s anniversary brew. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this one.
It’s huge in taste, character and strength.