Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beer Review: Traquair House Ale

Like most beers this one has a story…  Except in this case the story didn’t start 3 weeks ago in a modern brewer’s immaculate, stainless steel brewing vat.  This beer’s story actually begins in 1107 in southern Scotland on the banks of the river Tweed.  Throughout the English Civil War, the house served as a bastion of support protecting Scotland’s southernmost borders.  Over the years, the house would change owners many times and like many such structures it would eventually fall into disrepair.  It was not until the 20th century that the home began to experience a revival.  Under the careful stewardship of Peter Stuart (if you remember you British history you should recognize the name Stuart) the home become a living museum complete with a working 17th century brewery.  It is in this “livable time capsule” that this beer is carefully crafted. 

Traquair House Ale

Style: Scottish Ale (ABV 7.2%)

Color: Deep mahogany, almost ebony in color, with the slightest tan head.  Beer is too dark to allow light to pass through the glass.

Aroma: This beer’s aroma is subtle and fleeting…it constantly seems to be on the move.  First one may perceive the aroma of damp hay, then perhaps leather, followed by plums/ raisins, and finishing with a slightly sour vegetal note.  It is complex to say the least. 

Taste: The initial sip of this beer is replete with toffee and caramel notes of different intensities, origins, and backgrounds.  This fades to a rich raisin taste.  Raisins quickly transform into plums.  And the final taste is a tantalizing mix of caramel and roasted malt with the slightest hint of oaky vanilla.

Mouthfeel: “Big and jammy” is the only way to describe this beer on the palate.  I will admit that it seems to possess a slightly acerbic quality (not unlike biting into a persimmon) that cleanses the palate, despite its large mouthfeel.  Surprisingly, there is the slightest taste of damp earth left after the beer is consumed. 

Recommendation: This is a great beer for cold winter nights or lazy summer afternoons.  It’s taste probably isn’t for everyone, especially if your used to drinking “Carbonized Horse Piss,”  But give it a whirl…who knows you might actually enjoy it!

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy.

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