The Bruery – Four Calling Birds

Tasting: December 9, 2011
Style: Dark Ale (Special)

The Bruery 4 calling birds

In another blog entry I noted that the name “Nosferatu” was really a perpetuation of an error by an author. That error came to be an accepted term when it was copied and popularized by Bram Stoker. As some of you may know, the same applies to “Four Calling Birds”. Apparently, the original (unwritten) version of the song included the phrase “four collie birds” – not calling birds. Collie birds are another term for blackbirds in England. In both instances – it’s really trivial information and the sort of useless information that clogs my brain. Don’t ask me why I can remember that Wilma Flintstone’s maiden name is Slaghoople while I can’t for the life of me remember the names of people I see regularly.

This is beer is an annual series of releases by California brewer — The Bruery. I tried to get “Three French Hens” last year, but showed up in time to actually watch the last bottle being purchased – oh well. Like Stone’s Epic Vertical – the brewer suggests that these could be aged and consumed as a collection – but I won’t be collecting the series. Besides, Partridge in a Pear Tree is selling for between $200 -$300 for a single bottle on eBay – yikes. If you are looking for a money making opportunity – I want to bet that in 3 years – people will be looking for this label as well.

This is also my first sampling of anything by the The Bruery. Their main offerings are of a Belgian-style and as you know, that isn’t my first choice in beer. But, if you like Belgian-style beer, they apparently garner some nice acclaim within that style.

As you can see in the photo, it’s a dark beer with a creamy head. They say it has “gingerbread spice” and you definitely get that on the nose. First sip is a heavy shot of nutmeg. Really reminds me of a lot of pumpkin spice ales. This spice is followed by some strong alcohol burn – a quick label check and it’s 11.0% ABV. Definitely a belgian-style ale as the bready yeast flavor is also present but easily obscured. I pick up some cinnamon and dates. This is smooth and medium-bodied. Funny, it also reminds me of a stronger version of Anchor’s Christmas Ale. I’m really enjoying this one and I’ll put it at 86 points.

At the 11% ABV, this one should keep. If you hurry, I know there are a couple of bottles still lingering on shelves across northern New Jersey. I’ll probably buy them from you on eBay in 3 years.

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