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Our Cellar, May 2013: flower-infused brews

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Look at this spring’s beer shelves, and everything’s coming up roses (or, rose hips, at least… as well as dandelions, elderflower and more). We’re popping open most of these flower-infused beers right now. But, believe it or not, delicate flower flavor can indeed withstand the test of time. The proof? A GABF gold medalist.

BRING OUT: Red Rock Paardebloem 2012

This 2012 GABF gold medalist spent just a year in our cellar, but emerged with a surprising amount of ripened fruit notes to complement its floral, spicy profile. Brewed with fresh-cut dandelions (paardebloem is Flemish for the plant) and grains of paradise, this Belgian-style golden strong ale still carries delicate hints of the flower and white pepper with each sparkling sip; the added arrival of mellow white grape pairs perfectly with the tightly fused flavors, creating a swallow akin to a crisp Chardonnay.

Here, the key is to age it no more than a year. The beer wouldn’t be terrible after a longer nap, but it would likely have next to no dandelion notes; then, what would be the point of a flowerless flower beer? We’ll try the same aging time with this one:

LAY DOWN: New Belgium Lips of Faith Heavenly Feijoa Tripel

This collaboration with Canada’s Brasserie Dieu du Ciel is infused with a hefty dose of hibiscus and feijoa (aka pineapple guava) for an exotic twist on the classic Belgian-style tripel. The flower’s fruity tartness snaps at the tongue’s sides as the feijoa and Nelson Sauvin hops flood sweet, bready malts with bright, tropical flavors; a peppery spice note sharpens the swallow. Lay this 9.4%-ABV beer down for a year: Its warmth will soften while developed dark fruit notes add an interesting bass note to this complex sipper.


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