13 April 2009

Local 2

Rating: 8.4
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Glass: Chalice
ABV: 9.0%
Seller: Blue Dog Tavern (Chalfont, PA)
When Enjoyed: 11 April 2009

A new round of our continuing series of Brooklyn vs. Dogfish Head. In this round we've stepped up to the bomber class, today we have Brooklyn's latest installment in their bottle-conditioned series, a strong Belgian Ale called Local 2 and later we'll review Dogfish Head's berry fruit beer, Black and Blue.

The best way to sum up this beer is that it is a dark ale for white ale drinkers. Very rarely does a bold, malty, black as night ale have the adjective refreshing attached to it; this is one of those rare times. Typically, ales this dark are dark for a reason. Brewers like to showcase malt blends that pack lots of nutty, woody bready flavors together that make a high ABV beer enjoyable. Here, Brooklyn has toned down the ABV and added a citrus twist vis a vis an infusion of locally grown honey and hint of orange peel; flavors that are traditionally found in witbiers.

The up front citrus definitely softens the malt character a great deal, allowing it to finish smooth and without any alcohol or bitter aftertaste. In a way, the citrus flavors trick your brain into thinking this beer is a lot less heavy than it is. The downside to all this is, if you are a malt purist you have to dig real deep to get to the malt and yeast flavorings of this beer. While the beer is refreshing, surprising and mellow, it actually isn't all that complex. From the purist perspective, this might be a beer that would dissapoint a Belgian enthusiast but surprise an American one.

This certainly signals some exciting things on Brooklyns horizons. Along with a new line of reserve series, a double IPA and an Old Ale that are coming to a tap near you, Brooklyn is starting to dip its toe into the genre-bending tradition of American experimental brewing; a tradition that is mostly dominated by extreme beer types of the Dogfish Head ilk. That said, I would not be expecting a sextuple IPA's in the future for Brooklyn. Head Brewmaster Garrett Oliver is a man grounded in tradition and while willing to experiment, will do so with a firm grasp on classic tastes and a commitment to placing them in new contexts (ala Local 2) rather than just exploding our taste buds with Hop-Bombs.

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