It’s hot outside, you just finished fertilizing your lawn for the spring, and you’re a little bit parched. You head inside with one goal in mind: get a freakin’ drink. You unlovingly pass by your napping children, leap over Fido, and by no means make eye contact with your wife. You reach into the coffers of your fridge to divulge and devour a nice, smooth, refreshing glass of… Metamucil. Daaawhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa??? Oh, your telling me a chalky beverage that tastes like old people doesn’t sound appealing? Most of us (at least us manly people) would head for a frosty cold pint after a laborious day of work, which seems to be the obvious choice. Well, that’s exactly what I did… but I might as well have gone with a Metamucil/Dubra combination.
It goes without saying, but this beer sucked. I was recommended Oerbier by a colleague of mine at work, who equally shared the same passion as me when it came to the magical elixir known as beer. He could have easily been my Match.com partner in beer; we definitely were similar on 29 different levels of compatibility. In fact, if this blog doesn’t work out, sounds like an awfully lucrative business idea to have an alcoholic version of Match. But I digress. After numerous conversations, I felt that I was ready to take our relationship to the next level, something that you just don’t do after the first date… I mean conversation: I was ready to buy a brew he told me about. My colleague enjoyed all the usual suspects: Dogfish, Rogue, Stone, but he wildly raved about many foreign brews, which confused me because he’s about as republican as a Colt revolver and as American as Paul Revere’s midnight ride (which he was born on the date). Nonetheless, he recommended a De Dolle Brewing’s Oerbier.
Oerbier is a Belgian seasonal ale primarily available in the Spring, but it’d be better if it only came out only during leap years. I actually had high hopes for the brew, not only was it highly recommended, but I loved the label. It reminded of a younger Michelin Man (equally rotund, less wrinkles.) It was when I opened it where things took a turn for the worst.
Actually, before I opened the brew, I noticed a hefty amount of sediment in it, but that was to be expected as it is a Belgian ale. One thing that I didn’t expect was that the beer was actually an 11.6 fluid ounce bottle… which made me wonder, is it a metric thing? Anyway, I observed long enough and it was time to pour. The beer poured a hearty brown color and left behind a light khaki colored head, that did not have all that much retention to it. You can see in the photo that the air bubbles were large, and therefore hard to sustain when drinking. The beer had a very unique smell to it. I smelled very malty and it was tough to get any roasty flavors from it. Again, not all that surprising because of its style, but its color indicated that perhaps they may have been hidden in the beer, not the case. But the weird thing about this brew was that the dominant smell coming from it was the strongest scent of black liquorish. Now my grandfather who is 100% Italian would welcome this, as he often snacks on liquorish, and like any good Italian, enjoys Sambuca and biscottis from time to time, but this was off putting for me. I will mention that I am taste adverse to the stuff (must be the French in me). I was alarmed by the scent because liquorish is one aggressive flavor and I was curious if, one, would taste like liquorish, and two, if it did, would it mesh with any other flavors or drown them out? I certainly not expecting that from this brew.
To address my curiosity, into the mouth it went. It was somewhat of a bad experience even raising the beer to my mouth. Before you drink you smell, and the scent of liquorish became stronger and stronger and was off putting before any of the beer touched your lips. As it went in, unfortunately it tasted as it smelled. Very liquorishy and malty, and was not well balanced. The yeasty-banana taste that some Belgians have didn’t come through for me at all. The texture of the beer was also a bit off-putting – it was a bit gritty, and as you can see, sediment stuck to the glass. Needless to say, the mouth-feel of the brew wasn’t all that pleasant. Not your typical Belgian as it was aggressive, overpowering, and just too much.
I understand what De Dolle wanted to do, they wanted to make a kick ass Spring brew that punched you in the face, and I can respect that, but when you are literally dreading the next sip, it goes too far. This Syracuse Orange wannabe met the drain. It was too unbearable to get through 11.6 ounces. Overall, it has to get an F*. Metamucil would have been cheaper and less chalky.
*UPDATE: I had this again in Jan. of 2015 and was floored by it. In a good way. It was completely night and day from my original review. Notes of dark fruits like raisins, figs, and dates with a sweet caramely finish. It really reminded me of Westy XII, and the most recent Oerbier scored an A. What would account for such a difference? The most recent one I had was bottled a year ago, while this one must have sat on the store shelf for years. Improperly stored, there were probably too many temperature fluctuations on the shelf causing the yeast to consume more sugars resulting in excess carbonation. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m glad I gave this beer a second chance and I highly recommend it.