Several years ago, I made a bet with a friend that at his current rage setting he wouldn’t make it to age 40. The loser had to buy the winner a beer of the winner’s choice. Upon my insistence, he arranged for his estate to pay-up if I won. What? That’s fair.
In the end, he made it to 40. (I know. Bummer. Right?) He left the beer choice to me and said we could share it. So, I thought it was only fair that I buy the beer I was eyeing-up to ask of his widow: The Bruery’s Fruet.
Fruet is the Bruery’s 4th anniversary ale. They use the same “old ale” recipe each year, with portions of prior years’ versions (which have been marinating in bourbon barrels) blended in. This is the first year the beer is 100% bourbon barrel aged.
As for the name, each year’s beer is named after the traditional anniversary gift for that year (papier, coton, cuir, etc.). Luckily, the Haybag and I are 4 years ahead of the Bruery. We will be to our 14th anniversary before the Bruery blows my cover that pool table is not really the traditional 10th anniversary gift. Also, I have a friend who will be glad to be even further ahead. He’s been telling his wife for years that the 20th anniversary is…ummm, we’ll just say it may be illegal in several States and it falls under beerbecue’s new profanity edict.
I could smell the booze the second I opened it. It had a weak, big-bubbled, tan head that receded quickly to a ring and a bit of film at edges. It’s cloudy brown in the middle; and at the edges, up to light, it’s orange-brown…almost like Grand Marnier. The smell is ridiculous: Port, rum, raisins, overripe apples, and dates. The taste is divine: Sweet maltiness (but never cloying), caramel, bourbon, oak, vanilla, singed brown sugar, dates, bananas flambé, and booze. It has pretty low carbonation, but just enough. It feels big, but not syrupy at all; and the booze is present (15.5%) but, miraculously, not overpowering.
This stuff is ridiculous, and I don’t regret the $30+ price tag one bit. Interestingly, the bottle states it can be aged for decades. And it tastes just angry enough now to realize how much it could mellow over the years. I imagine, for someone with patience and a cellar, it could end up sublime.
The Haybag: You do know I read this, don’t you?