The Bruery - Midnight Autumn Maple (2017)
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Small Nonic, or Pinot Glass
This 2017 dark imperial ale from The Bruery was brewed with midnight wheat, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, maple syrup, and a whole lot of yams. Midnight Autumn Maple pours dark brown with a core approaching black, capped by medium-tan foam that lingers around the perimeter. There’s a delicious aromatic combo of baked yams and spices, with a smooth underpinning of vanilla and maple syrup; the overall effect’s surprisingly smooth.
Lively carbonation lifts up a core of brown sugar, maple syrup and toffee, while a perimeter of spice and a specialty-malt edge provide some bitterness. This is beautifully round, with the spice and vanilla making it a very satisfying version of the base Autumn Maple: creamy and spicy, it just ends up being super generous without feeling heavy. Touches of vanilla suggest oak even though this hasn’t seen barrel time. While perhaps not as loud as some of the other Autumn Maple variants, it’s our favorite to date.
: A touch more age should round this out even further, but it’s drinking great right now. The Bruery suggests pairing Midnight Autumn Maple with dark roasted turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, maple-roasted brussels sprouts, or chocolate pumpkin pie.
What The Bruery has done for beer in Orange County, California, while impressive, is just a part of their contribution to the greater brewing landscape. Once just a confusingly named, obscure little brewery from a curiously named little Southern California town, The Bruery is now known to the majority of beer geeks across the country and beyond. They’ve continued to develop their extensive barrel-aging program, launched the Bruery Terreux line, opened The Tasting Room at Bruery Terreux in Anaheim, and ultimately become one of the most respected breweries in the nation. They’ve even recently added a third Bruery location: The Bruery Store at Union Market in Washington, DC, establishing a wee East Coast outpost.
As a result of their unbridled creativity and skilled brewing practices, The Bruery’s beers are still some of the most highly coveted out there, period. It was back in 2009 that they released the beer that took the brewing community by storm: Black Tuesday, a massive imperial stout (clocking in around 20% ABV) aged in bourbon barrels for well beyond a year. Hugely oaky, rich, velvety smooth, and borderline nourishing, it caused both a stir and an annual tradition. The demand for this stout led people to drive and/or fly from hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away.
A handful of breweries have managed to take the “limited-release” concept as far as The Bruery has done with their beers, with annual vintages that sell out in a single day. Some folks have even gone one step further, creating the release equivalent of a serial novel, as The Bruery did with its recently completed 12 Days of Christmas series of annual beers.
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