Saturday, June 16, 2012

Velvet Rooster – Tallgrass Brewing Company

                Having had Tallgrass Brewing’s 8-Bit Pale Ale, I was already impressed with the quality of the beer coming out of Tallgrass Brewing, so I was looking forward to enjoying their take on a Belgian Tripel.  There are many breweries that have excellent Tripels and many more that produce bad Triples, so I went into my can of Velvet Rooster not knowing which I was about to drink.  However, as with every beer that I drink, I wouldn’t have chosen it for a review if I expected it to be bad.  So, fingers crossed and with positive thoughts of the efforts of Jeff Gill’s life work I popped the can open and poured.

                On Beeradvocate, Velvet Rooster has an 85.  Over at ratebeer, it has a 78 overall and a 54 for style.

They say:

Velvet Rooster
Belgian-Style Tripel
(ABV 8.5%)
This beer is a Belgian Tripel that lives up to its name. Smooth and carefully crafted like a fine velvet painting, but with an 8.5% ABV this bird has some spurs! The beer pours a golden straw color with brilliant clarity. Topped with a lofty pure white head the beer has a wonderful floral nose, with subtle fruit notes.  

The taste is clean and crisp, with subtle fruit notes and a touch of candy like sweetness. The beer has a Champagne-like effervescent that provides a crisp offset to its sweet finish.  While a pint glass is always nice, Velvet Rooster would also be at home in a tulip glass or Champagne flute.

I say:

                Velvet Rooster pours a gorgeous hazy gold with a large rocky head that has excellent retention and great lacing, typical of an excellent Belgian Tripel. There is a light malty aroma with subtle fruity (orange) and spicy yeast esters.

                The flavor is bitter and peppery up front, becoming slightly sweet and fruity (orange) with strong clove notes and the slightest bit of alcohol in the back end.  Velvet Rooster is medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation.

                Compared to the style:  Tripels are usually clear with no haze and have a stronger spiciness both in the aroma and flavor; and many have more noticeable alcohol notes.

                That said, Velvet Rooster is an excellent beer, and it was truly a pleasure to drink it.  It just did not fit into the narrowly defined guidelines for what a Belgian Tripel should be.  However, I often find that commercial attempts at Tripels overshoot the pepper spiciness of the style and become too spicy to drink.  Velvet Rooster however, was very nice and smooth.  When I am looking for a good beer I am looking for drinkability, for something that I would enjoy a 4 or 6-pack of.  Velvet Rooster definitely falls into that category.  Once again, Tallgrass Brewing has proven to me that they know what they are doing.  This is an excellently brewed beer and you should be on the lookout for it.

                That’s all for today!  I am going to be heading out to the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival in a couple hours and hope to bring back a lot of pictures of the event to upload here.

 Happy Weekend and Happy Drinking!!!

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