I still regard it as something of a shameful oversight on my part that I have yet to visit White Birch Brewing. More than merely being nearby, it is quite literally on my drive to and from work at the shop. Every day, passing by the building that looks very much like a truck depot or perhaps, car dealership, with its muted sign and humble exterior, I have to remind myself that within those walls, beer is made.
I really must stop in there. Especially now, considering that they are again releasing an anniversary celebration line. In this, their seventh year, we’re presented with this lovely Belgian quad, which as far as I can tell, hits the marks in all the important places. Now before jumping straight into this beer, I do have a confession to make.
I have not been the biggest fan of White Birch, a local brewery I remind you, as of late. Not due to anything more than a sudden drop off in the varieties I would see wheeled into my shop, it seemed for a spell that the brewers had perhaps become distracted. With canning taking over for bottles and what rumor had it was an aggressive outward push beyond New Hampshire and even New England, I had worried that the brewer brothers who run the facility may have forgotten about their roots.
With this brew, I like to think I may have been wrong.
The first new and impressive offering from the Hookesett brewers in months (at least within my shop), I was honestly given pause to consider the concept of a canned Belgian quad. These brews, like stouts, are typically bolder, heavier and thicker in both texture and taste than most of what we commonly associate coming from cans. But as I poured, there it was. A dark brown Belgian coming in at 9% ABV and smelling of both yeasty punch and pungent candi sugars.
It is a sweet beer to be sure. Subtle low tone notes of ripened fruit and raisins seem to pop up here and there, while the overall booziness of the sip is one which sloshes about on the palate of its own accord. Never quite burning, nor really biting, it does provide an after-sip warming which pleases the esophagus as it readies for the next sip.
However that next sip is not the kind you take in immediate succession. Indeed, though flavorful and not altogether acerbic, it does remain a heavy and intense sort of thing. As mentioned, this beer lingers a bit, both on the palate and the mind. Nothing overly complicated to be sure, but there all the same.
I am pleased in this to see brewers who I had nearly given up on due to a slowdown of creative design, but to see now a quad released with care and crafting in celebration of their longevity, I am of a sounder sort of mind in respect to what the future may hold for them.
So to White Birch, to another seven years of New Hampshire brewing and of course to you dear reader, I say as always…
While the brand may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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