The Bruery 6 Geese-A-Laying
Serving Temperature:50-59° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Snifter
While 4 Calling Birds and 5 Golden Rings were more on the non-traditional side of things (a spicy dark ale, and a golden ale with pineapple), 6 Geese-A-Laying signals a more traditional return. This release is a dark, Belgian-style ale that gains a bit of oomph from cape gooseberries. (Get it? It’s six geese-a-laying. … It took us a second.)
This beer signals we’ve reached the series’ midpoint. It’s also quickly become one of our very favorites of the bunch thus far, which makes it a little bittersweet that we’re halfway done! 6 Geese-A-Laying pours a deep copper-brown color that has a bit of murkiness to it. The off-white head fizzes audibly, leaving behind a thin, creamy foam and thick lacing at the edges. A modestly dark ale. The aromas emerging conjure a Belgian quad: robust toffee, raisins, dark fruits, and a hint of caramel. Despite the depth here, it still comes across as bright and rather vibrant overall, with a rich berry note throughout and a hint of cola. The sweetness remains in check, tempered by vinous alcoholic warmth that, even once it’s allowed to warm, is never harsh or anything other than appealing. The complexity is belied by how fresh this seems.
Allow this beer to warm up just a little bit before diving in. There’s a core candied sweetness, when cold, that gradually fades away into something more serious as this reaches 50 degrees or so, opening up into rich raisins and dates and a warming, fruity alcohol. 6 Geese-A-Laying is one of those beers that, as soon as the weather turns for the winter season, help you better understand the deeper appeal of beers labeled “winter warmers.” Alcohol, in the far broader sense of how beers are put together, serves to lighten the apparent body of a beer. But it can vary significantly in terms of taste and aroma, from overt ethanol to harsh, fusel alcohols. In this case, as in so many of the Bruery’s high-alcohol beers, the alcoholic strength instead is a fruity, chest-warming presence that keeps this beer feeling lean and light on the palate. Yum.
As with the aromatics, this tastes fresh and effervescent in the mouth while covering a whole lot of territory. Dark berry notes and dates hit the tongue first, followed by some deeper cola and caramel. The aforementioned fruity warmth manages the mid-palate, offering some light blueberry and cherry notes at the perimeter, and one has to imagine that this—this!—is what gooseberries taste like. Their contributing fruitiness, whatever it is, fits perfectly alongside an exceptional dark, Belgian-style core. There’s even a bit of clove and pepper here courtesy of the yeast strain, which adds a welcome bitterness. This is absurdly drinkable for being 11.5%.
The Bruery expects this beer will age perfectly well for six years or more, giving it time to be sampled alongside all twelve of the brewery’s 12 Days of Christmas beers once the final one is released. We wouldn’t be surprised if it lasted that long, but we’d be hard-pressed to be so patient. Try pairing this with bread pudding, or creamy cheesecake with blueberry compote.
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