Sorry for the tease, but this post isn’t exactly about Motorhead’s Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers compilation. Bear with us, though, because it does have some relevance to the topic at hand. You may or may not remember a regular part of the Deciblog rotation a couple years ago was a little thing we called “This Record Rules.” It allowed us writers to spout off about an album that was blowing our mind, even if it wasn’t super current. So, since we know a thing or two about craft beer and have no shortage of opinions about the subject, we figured we’d (briefly) resurrect the concept of TRR and take the opportunity to rave about some beers worth seeking. Again, these aren’t necessarily the “latest releases,” just stuff we heartily recommend.
Brouwerij de Molen Hemel & Aarde (Heaven & Earth)
De Molen is one of those wacky Euro brewers that just puts out a ridiculous number of beers that rarely conform to any style (or at least they don’t seem to give them names like “Hoptastic IPA”). So you kind of have to just read the label and guess what you’re getting. This is why we posted the label of Hemel & Aarde. Two things we can immediately discern: high alcohol (10% ABV) and the inclusion of “peated malt.” Peated malt, in case you’re wondering, is malt that has been smoked over a peat fire. It is commonly used in certain single malt scotches and adds a distinctive smoky flavor that you either love or hate. This beer has that flavor in abundance, but is balanced by rich chocolate and dark fruit notes that really make for incredible complexity. Single malt drinkers will love this. And for adventurous craft beer drinkers, it’s an amazing experience. Also, please note on the label where it says, “Enjoy within 25 years.” Put one or two of these away in a cool dark place for a few years (or more) and see how it transforms.
We have in our “Brewtal Truth” Decibel column sung the praises of this Quebec, Canada, brewery. They are, in fact, owned by a larger corporation now (Sapporo), but they still make Belgian-style beers the way they always have—very, very mysteriously. Like the Belgians, they are incredibly vague about the style of the beer in any given bottle. Or what the ingredients used are. Take for instance our latest Unibroue obsession, Terrible, which is a fall seasonal. The only description you’ll find on the dark bottle is “Dark ale on lees.” Well, it also mentions that it is 10.5% ABV, which is super hefty.
But what’s this “lees” thing you may ask? It means that the a dose of yeast was added to the bottle before it was corked to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle. When the yeast cells are done doing their thing, they fall to the bottom of the bottle as sediment. That sediment is the “lees.” It’s not harmful, and you can definitely drink it. However, unlike a hefeweizen, you’re not really supposed to empty that into your glass. What we do, is pour our beer into a glass until a bit of cloudiness shows up and then stop. Swirl the bottle with what liquid remains and then gulp that down. That yeast provides a great shot of B vitamins.
Back to the beer, it may be the most drinkable 10.5% beer you’ve ever had. It has some really complex, rich fruit aromas and flavors with a nice spicy edge. No detectable booziness, and it’s super crisp and gulpable. Nothing heavy and syrupy. It almost tastes like it spent some time in an oak barrel, but there’s nothing we can find that says this, so who knows.
This one’s for Decibel‘s Canadian readers. It’s likely that this isn’t available in the U.S., but if you can get your hands on it, we’re a big fan of it in the late fall when it is released every year. Part of the love we have for this beer is the sheer novelty of it. Eis bock is a very unusual style whereby a strong bock beer is made stronger by lowering the temp to a point where some of the water freezes, concentrating the flavors and alcohol content. So, naturally this is a big beer (9.5% ABV, do you sense a theme here?). Hermannator comes in 6-packs, but one or two is usually more than enough to get you to where you want to go.
This is a strong, sweet sipping beer that has remarkably complex flavors of toffee’d nuts, grapes and ripe figs that you just wouldn’t expect from a beer, much less a lager. But the eis bock process really concentrates the subtle flavors produced by lager yeasts and makes them shine. It’s like a doppel doppelbock. So good.
And since we teased you with this to begin with, here’s the payoff. Motorhead playing one of ZZ Top’s coolest songs. About beer.