Posts Tagged ‘cherry beer’

12 Beers of X-Mas: Tröegs Mad Elf Ale

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

To kick off this year’s Twelve Beers of X-Mas, I’m tasting The Mad Elf Ale, a beer described as cheerful and jolly, which seems appropriate.Tröegs The Mad Elf Ale The Mad Elf, a specialty ale brewed with honey and cherries, is made by Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania, my friend Nate’s favorite brewery.

The cherries impart a strong ruby red color to this beer. The head is a creamy off-white, but it doesn’t last very long. The aroma is quite subtle, just a bit of caramel and toast and a hint of cherry. As it warms a little more comes out, though it remains quite mild.

The flavor is remarkably light and clean, particularly for an 11% ale. I suspect it’s brewed with a Belgian strain of yeast, as there’s a clove spice and fruit character reminiscent of many Belgian ales. Following that is a bit of caramel malt and a light cherry tartness, rounded out by a strong alcohol warming. Like the nose, the flavor grows as The Mad Elf warms, so I’d suggest serving it on the warmer side, towards 55 degrees Farenheit or so. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a bit of a lasting sweetness. The cloves and alcohol linger as well, so it’s never quite cloying.

Overall The Mad Elf is a flavorful but easy drinking winter warmer. Enjoy it by the fire (or in my case, the space heater).

+Tröegs Mad Elf Ale

3.8 (3-7-8-4-16)

Sour Week: Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Tonight I will have three beers made by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium. Verhaeghe is a great example of a west Flanders brewery, producing a number of what they call red-brown ales as well as a kriek, a pils, a few amber ales, and a Christmas beer. Tonight I will have the three sours they make that I can readily get a hold of: Echt Kriekenbier, Vichtenaar, and Duchesse de Bourgogne. Astute readers may remember that the Duchesse was the first sour I rated on this blog, as well as note that it is now the first beer I have tasted twice.

Brouwerij Verhaeghe

First up, the Echt Kriekenbier, which pours a ruby-tinted caramel amber with wisps of tan head. The nose has a delicate sweet and sour character. I notice cherries at first, then sweet malt and apple cider vinegar. A complex blend of wood, smoke, and blackberry jam makes this subtle aroma remarkably intriguing.

The sublime cherry flavor begins on the lips before the beer even enters the mouth. The balancing tart accentuates the fruit. Rich acidic and caramel malt body, a bit cidery. The cherry is supported and enhanced all the way back, remaining prominent even in the tart aftertaste. A serious kriek.

The Vichtenaar is an opalescent deep hazelnut brown with a thick and creamy tan head. It has a rich woody aroma with a strong vinegar character. The nose is also a little fruity (grapes or dates) and a little malty. Just a touch of bourbon.

This beer tastes like a strong brown aged in a balsamic vinegar cask. Rich malty toast and caramel is complimented by major woody and flavors and a mild acetic sour. Creamy and mouth filling but lively and with a lingering tart.

The Duchesse de Bourgogne is a lightly hazy dark ruby brown with a thin, long-lasting, layer of tan foam. A rich balsamic vinegar and acetic nose with significant fruit: raisins and dates but also kiwi and bubblegum. This beer has the thick aroma of an empty port barrel.

The Duchesse is relatively balanced but leans heavily towards sour. Some complexity comes from a rich oak character and fruit: raspberries, blackberries, and raisins. A robust cider vinegar sour and caramel malt sweet hold on for a bit before yielding to a fruity tart that lingers for quite a while.

+Echt Kriekenbier

4.0 (3-8-8-4-17)


4.0 (5-7-7-5-16)

+Duchesse de Bourgogne

4.0 (3-8-8-4-17)