The Bruery - Mélange Noir 2021
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Small Nonic, or Tulip Glass
We’ve put together a selection of four incredible vintage releases from The Bruery for this special offer—a decadent group of share-worthy beers for our Rare Beer Club members. To kick things off, we’ll start with The Bruery’s 2021 Mélange Noir: their perfectly blended and gently aged offering that combines a barleywine ale, their esteemed Black Tuesday imperial stout, and the brewery’s Anniversary ale, along with the vibrant contributions from various bourbon barrels. This beer’s an incredible final product that’s drinking beautifully right now. Mélange Noir combines the fruity, vinous, and caramelized complexities of bourbon-barrel barleywines with world-class bourbon-barrel imperial stout to make something truly special.
Mélange Noir pours a deep caramel/cola-brown with golden edges, capped by a surprising amount of tan foam that’s well retained, forming a lasting perimeter along the sides of our glasses. We found dense dried fruits and dark berry aromatics from the barleywine aspects, toasted and charred bourbon-barrel elements, and the dark chocolate and roast coffee from Black Tuesday’s contributions. There’s a ton going on here, ever moreso as this warms up, with the chocolate-caramel focus and barrel spiciness offering up a whole lot to dig into.
This 2021 release is full-bodied with subtle, warming vinous qualities, and just a pleasure to dig into from that first sip. It’s pretty hard not to like this beer: it works beautifully from a barleywine perspective, packed with dried dark fruits and chewy fruitiness. The specialty-malt complexity from the barrel-aged Black Tuesday’s contributions shine through, with a generous degree of robust chocolate and roast. And the overall bourbon-barrel presence is just stunning. The oak barrel tannins provide some welcome structure as well as delicious melding elements: warming vanilla oakiness and toasty almond, as well as a robust bourbon character that syncs easily with everything else going on. A massive blended release that, like so many of these high-ABV beers from The Bruery as of late, hides its alcohol surprisingly well. We found digging into this potent blend to be a unique pleasure. Lasting finish of figs and other dark fruits, delicious caramelization, and some potent milk chocolate and fruity, wine-like touches of alcoholic warmth. An impressively smooth blend throughout.
The potent ABV suggests this blend should age gracefully for a few more years at the very least, and additional caramelization and sherry-like notes will play out well here. The combo of dark fruits, toasty bourbon-barrel notes, chewy caramels, and deep chocolates give this a surprisingly amount of flexibility for food pairings. We could see transcendent results with everything from spice-rubbed sirloin to a creamy, vanilla-driven affogato dessert course.
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