I'm pleased to announce that my hometown brewery, Williamsburg AleWerks, has recently been deemed a Grand Champion at the US Beer Tasting Championship! They beat out breweries from around the country to win the Belgian/French Specialty category with their Springhouse Ale. Here's the category description from the USBTC Website:
Ales brewed in traditional Belgian/French styles including saison, biere de garde,
farmhouse ale, Belgian pale ale, and Abbey single ale. Excluded from this category are
Belgian Wits (included in its own category-below), Abbey/Belgian Strong Ales (tasted in
Winter Session), and Belgian Bruin/Red Ales.
If you've ever sampled Belgian beers, you know that this category can cover quite a lot of ground.
Obviously I had to get a hold of this Springhouse Ale (what AleWerks calls a Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale) and try it for myself.
First impressions: Really like the label. Pours slightly cloudy and orange with a bodacious, frothy head; very fragrant, almost smells like a white wine
The taste: Wow - very complex. Good thing I have a 22 oz. bottle to dissect this thing! Flavor has a lot of that same dry, white wine-like aroma, likely derived from the yeast strain, with just a touch of sourness. There are some various spices in there but the beer is so well-balanced it's difficult to pick out any in particular. Hardly any discernible hops flavor.
About mid-way through: Jeez, what's the ABV on this guy? (9.4% alcohol) Wouldn't have guessed it by the taste - and that's a good thing.
Final impression: This is one of the most challenging beers I've ever reviewed. There's just so much going on, that as they say on the AleWerks website, "this is an interesting ale that deserves your attention." Very well done.
With that, I'm going to savor the rest of this bottle and suggest you try it for yourself!
Check out the other winners of the 2011 Summer USBTC here. Have you tried any of them?