The Bruery - Partridge in a Pear Tree (2020)
- ABV: 11.3%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Chalice, Goblet, Tulip, or Snifter Glass
The Bruery’s Partridge in a Pear Tree was inspired by a certain red wine poached pear dessert known as Poire à la Beaujolaise, and this Belgian-influenced quadrupel ale features familiar notes of dark sugar, caramel, and spices. We’ve featured every beer in The Bruery’s 12 Days of Christmas series ever since their 2 Turtle Doves back in 2009—but we somehow missed the very first (exceptionally limited!) release in the series: Partridge in a Pear Tree. This quad was delicious and got the series off to a very well-received start, and we’re excited to be able to offer this 2020 rerelease of The Bruery’s incredible Belgian-style quad brewed with spices. Definitely ideal for sharing.
Partridge in a Pear Tree pours a cola-brown color with golden highlights, capped by light-tan foam that manages to persist for a bit despite the potent ABV. Modest head formation given the alcohol, but with nice lacing around the edges. Loads of brown sugar and caramels in the aromatics, alongside some expressive Belgian-style yeast character including cloves and white pepper, which melds seamlessly to the spice additions. We found a beautifully dense Belgian-style quad here, packed with loads of toffee, caramelization, and smooth spices throughout.
This 11%+ ABV quad from The Bruery offers up a full-bodied mouthfeel with some nicely integrated carbonation. We found tons of malt-focused depth present that never feels overly heavy, and the spice along with the clove and pepper of the Belgian yeast character keep this feeling super approachable and reasonably balanced throughout. Its core caramelization and rich specialty malt additions very much satisfy on the Belgian-style quadrupel expectations, and the delicate spice additions make this extra-perfect as a holiday beer. Definitely inspired by spiced Belgian holiday ales, this American take does a beautiful job of following through on the generosity of those seasonal releases. This is exceptionally handled throughout, with a long-lasting finish of caramelization, toffee, subtle clove-focused spice, and touches of white pepper. Pretty easy to see how The Bruery’s 12 Days of Christmas series found its footing early on—this is a delicious first release that set the stage for everything that followed.
The original release of Partridge in a Pear Tree was intended to potentially be consumed in a full lineup of the 12 Days of Christmas beers (the final of which wasn’t released for another decade-plus!), such that we’d expect this quad to age gracefully going forward. For pairings, this should work beautifully alongside a wide variety of holiday-minded foods: spiced cake, roast turkey, cranberries and stuffing, and all sorts of poached-pear or vanilla desserts.
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.
Speaking of which, The Rare Beer Club was proud to have the opportunity to feature every one of the 12 Days of Christmas beers—except the first. This month we’re very excited to correct this issue—which has nagged our thoughts and haunted our dreams for many years now—as The Bruery has graciously offered our members an allocation of their 2020 rerelease of Partridge in a Pear Tree. And it does not disappoint.
Should you be traveling to SoCal or DC, definitely swing by one of The Bruery’s locations to check out what they’re currently working on. We’ve been following the path of this brewery basically since they first opened, and the continued energy and innovation coming from these folks is inspiring. For more information on The Bruery, visit their website at thebruery.com, or give them a call at (714) 996-MALT.
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