Summertime is here, and so is the push to enjoy refreshing, crisp summertime beers. However, we don’t always go along with what beers are being suggested for any particular season! We did want to BrewView an AMERICAN craft brewer for the 4th of July holiday weekend, like last year. We kept passing by this beer on the shelves time and time again saying to ourselves, “We need to BrewView another beer from The Bruery.”
And as many of you know, Belgian Quadrupels are our VERY FAVORITE style of beer to enjoy at any time of the year, regardless of the season! We thought we would throw the proverbial, kitchy curveball at you all, and celebrate Christmas in July- over the 4th of July holiday weekend! We also think that while Santa is on Summer vacation, he would enjoy a beer usually brewed for Wintertime… so will we.
ABOUT THE BRUERY
The Bruery is a boutique craft brewery located in Orange County, CA specializing in barrel aged and experimental ales. Founded as a small, friend & family run business in 2008, The Bruery takes it’s unique moniker from founder Patrick Rue’s family surname.
Patrick picked up homebrewing as a hobby, later to become an obsession, as a distraction to the banality of law school. Soon he was winning numerous awards for his beers and driving his wife, Rachel, mad with the messes that he would leave on the kitchen stove. Upon finishing school, he took it upon himself to draw up a business plan rather than study for the California Bar exam – a risky endeavor that shows through still today in the creative, genre-tilting beers that The Bruery prides itself on.
The Bruery is founded on the excitement that Patrick felt in those first years of homebrewing and they continue to strive for that same passion in every aspect of their business today. They never stop challenging themselves to develop distinctive & imaginative beers, constantly pursuing improvement in all that they do. They brew dozens of original beers each year with their list of ingredients and inspirations growing perpetually. Their collection of oak barrels has also become a primary element of their brewery. Nearly half of their beer is aged in wine or spirit barrels bringing forth flavors reminiscent of the Belgian countryside or classic American distillers. (Source: The Bruery)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION FROM THE BRUERY
Style category: Belgian-style Quadrupel
7 Swans-A-Swimming is the 7th beer in our “12 Days of Christmas” series. For this verse of the story, we chose the path we don’t often take – we brewed to style. No bells, no whistles, just our best take on the Belgian Quadrupel style. Brewed with nothing but water, malt, yeast, hops and a bit of Belgian dark candi sugar, this beer may not be as out-of-the-box as some of our past winter brews, but it’s just as tasty. Rich and complex, this robust dark ale juggles notes of raisin bread, dried apricots, burnt caramel and roasted pecans. The sweet flavors provide a full body and the bright yeast wafts the sweet holiday notes out of the glass, into your life. 7 Swans-A-Swimming is a perfect holiday sipper. Delicious right now, but suitable for aging up to 5 years, upon the release of 12 Drummers Drumming.
OUR BREWVIEW OF THE BRUERY’S 7 SWANS A SWIMMING
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
BOTTLE STAMP CODE: #179, pt3, 10/06/14, 15:26 003885.
11% ABV. Poured into a tulip-shaped glass, and served at 50°F. Pours a deep dark brown, classic Quad color, SRM value around 30. If you hold it up to the light, the color is more of a deep tobacco. The light tan colored head pours an easy 3-finger height, with large and small bubbles, and dense. The head sustains extremely well. The rim variation color is slightly lighter than the body.
As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is even sheeted. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is extremely slow rising. Even before pouring the yeast sedimentation from the bottom of the bottle, there was a cloudy haze to the beer, due to the bottle conditioning.
4 minutes later, the head still sustained a 1/4 inch in height, with even, dense sheeted Brussels lacing on the sides of the glass. As you rouse the beer, it does reproduce a nice 1/2 inch head that dissipates back down to a 1/4 inch, and holds there. 11 minutes into drinking, there is a faint remnant of a head, as you swirl the glass, it now leaves behind even, clear sheeting on the glass.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Before we even stuck our nose into the glass, we could smell the classic aromas (from a foot away from the glass) that make up a Belgian-style Quadrupel: burnt caramel, treacle toffee, raisins, with an underlying nutty bouquet. The fresh fruit esters from the yeast are apricot, and aged, bruised peach. As drinking time goes on, the raisin and cherry aromas become more dominant.
There is a unique fruitiness upon the first sip- almost like a cherry stone taste. Raisiny, with a rich toasty caramel malt backbone. There is almost a cherry cola flavor- a mix of raisins and prunes. The prune juice reference may sound off-putting to some drinkers, but trust us- it is a welcome flavor component. There is a very delicate hop bitterness to this beer, but it is very far in the background. About 40 minutes later, we poured the yeast sediment from the bottom of the bottle into our glass, and it intensified the fruitiness- particularly the raisiny, prune juice flavors. The beer temperature was at 60° – 65° F at that point.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium bodied, with a gentle prickliness at the tip of the tongue, then it fills the sides of the mouth with a sweet fruitiness. The finish of this beer reminds you of cherry cordial flavors mixed with a nutty maltiness. There isn’t a hot alcohol bite to this beer being at 11% ABV, which makes it surprisingly easy to drink.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
APPETIZERS: Cheeses- rich, washed rind cheeses, blue veined cheeses, or a nice herb goat cheese (which is what we enjoyed it with). Charcuterie platter with nice cuts of meats, paté or terrine with crusty peasant bread or sourdough.
ENTRÈES: The Bruery suggests Christmas ham, green bean casserole, and sweet potato pie because of it being a Christmas beer. But since we are celebrating Christmas in July, we would also suggest smoked salmon, any good barbequed steak, Moules en frite (we’re freaks about that; we’ll enjoy mussels and fries with any good Belgian beer (or Belgian-style / Belgian inspired beer)),
DESSERTS: Pecan pie, cheesecake with cherries, raisin bread pudding, chocolate prune bars.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this, BrewViewing another beer from the Bruery was long overdue. We found this bottle at the Liquor Barn in Redding, California, where they carry several of The Bruery’s beers.
Our hats off to Patrick Rue and all at The Bruery; we have prophesied several times in the past that this brewery is one to watch! As said before, we are so impressed with The Bruery as a business enterprise; from the labeling of the beers, to the uniqueness of flavor and style combinations, makes them one of the top craft breweries in the United States, if not the world.
It was fun celebrating our country’s birthday with this beer. Christmas in July… who would have thought? Seek this one out- it’s seasonally released, so buy a case when you see it on the shelves at your local retailer! You can cellar this up to 5 years- the fruit esters and flavors would develop into this wonderful, rich treat. We would advise bringing out 1 bottle every year, and take tasting notes and comparing annually. An excellent example of the Belgian Quadrupel style, 7 Swans a Swimming is a must have. Seek this one out for sure.