Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Beer: Mill Street Betelgeuse

Whew, been awhile. The nastiest thing about the LCBO is that there are never any surprises. I know a beer is going to show up months in advance (by the way, the fall release is looking like a corker!). There are never any neat finds, and the one-offs are very rare because a craft brewer rarely knows he's going to brew something special with enough time to notify the LCBO, get it tested, etc. etc. Hence the lack of Friday Night Beers.

I forgot, however that I had purchased Mill Street Betelgeuse awhile back and had it stashed away in the fridge. Mill Street is a great Ontario brewery. They're known for their Tankhouse, Wit, and Organic Lager (bleh!), but they also do quite a bit of experimental stuff at their pub in Toronto. A month or so ago they sent the LCBO a bunch of this Betelgeuse and a Roggenbier (rye beer, highly recommended).

The Betelgeuse is in the style of a Belgian Tripel. The "Tripel" in Tripels refers to the amount of malt used (alot). These are strong ales, with a good dose of Belgian candy sugar, giving it a characteristic sweetness. The standard bearer in Ontario is Unibroue's Fin du Monde. We do get some of the true heavyweights from Belgium now and again from the Trappist breweries, but usually as seasonals. They're pretty powerful beers, and this one is no exception, weighing in at about 8%.

Mill Street Betelgeuse
Mill Street Brew Pub
Toronto, Ontario

Pours a dark peach, almost tangerine. Nice big creamy head, but it quickly fades away to nothing. Bubbles are slow moving, hinting at some very laid-back carbonation. A bit off-style.

Yikes, alcohol phenols just jump out at you. A little bit of light fruit in there, but it's like you'd expect from some flavoured vodka. Tripel should be much more complex.

Very sweet. Lots of fruit, but it's hard to nail down given the almost overpowering alcohol. Pear and candy sugar combine to leave an almost cloying taste. Where I'd usually expect a nice soft spice and yeast finish, I just get another hit of sugar.

Carbonation is off. The lack of carbonation just accentuates the almost unpleasant sweetness. You want a bit more to contribute to the overall complexity of the style.

A rare miss from Mill Street. Goes overboard on the sugars and misses the other flavours that make this style a Belgian beer geek favourite.

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