The Bruery - Poterie (2016)
- ABV: 16.8%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 52–58° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Teku, or Hand-Sculpted Pottery Glass
To cap this special offer of The Bruery heavy hitters, we had to break out the big stuff. This 3-year-old bottling of the 16.8% ABV Poterie (original MSRP: $30!) seemed like it would do the trick. A beautifully crafted beer when this was launched for The Bruery’s 8th anniversary in 2016, we feel like this one’s finally nearing its peak. If you’re looking for a perfect beer to sip and savor with fellow big beer fans—well, break out the cigars and prepare to settle in.
The base beer here is loosely based on an English-style old ale, and then blended with older vintages of the beer using the solera method—which is used for making intricately blended stuff like Sherry, Madeira, balsamic vinegar, and many other old-world goodies. In a nutshell, it involves a fractional blending technique that results in a final product composed of various different vintages of the same core product blended together for complexity. In Poterie, with a huge, near-17% old ale as the framework, the result is one of the most complex + layered old ales we’ve ever had the pleasure of crossing. This pours a dark caramel color, capped by a modest light-tan foam, with huge levels of toffee and caramel and brown sugar from the start. Some vinous warmth, toasty barrel char, periphery notes of sweet bourbon…
We should repeat: this is 16.8% ABV! Because it sure doesn’t taste like it. There’s definitely a warming edge of alcohol to this beer, but it’s slight amidst the decadent layering of caramels, charred bourbon influence, and toasty underpinnings of vanilla-laden oak. We’re not big on oxidation generally, but here the aging effects have brought out tons of sherry-like character alongside core caramel and barrel impact, with a warming wine-like presence that feels both beautifully aged and still light on the palate. This never feels overly weighty, despite being a malt-forward offering, with tons of fruitiness, subtle fine-bubbled carbonation, and hints of tannic structure keeps things feeling super lively. A beer to be reckoned with. But delicious.
While this feels like it’s nearing its peak range at the moment, Poterie is certainly built to stand up to a bit more cellaring. For pairings… whatever you have that will stand up to 17%, decadently caramelized beer. We’re inclined to sip this as an after-meal drink, either beside a refreshing creamy-vanilla desert or paired with one of our favorite maduro-wrapper cigars.
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