Happy Humpday everyone, and welcome to the Daily Beard! Today, I’ve got a rather specialized beer for you drinking pleasure (or possibly your displeasure). It’s Duchessic Ale, a blend of Birra Del Borgo’s Duchess and Brasserie Cantillon’s Lambic (Duchess + Lambic = Duchessic), and it makes for a wild beer. It’s definitely not for everyone, but who knows, perhaps this review will interest you enough to take a leap of faith. Let’s do it!
I’ll start things off with a word of warning. When I opened the bottle, some kind of thermonuclear reaction occurred and a geyser of foam erupted from the opening. I’m sad to say, some beer was lost, but with some quick thinking and a bit of divine intervention, I was able to catch most of it in a glass. The upside to this slight tragedy is that while the foam was detonating, it filled the air with a remarkable aroma. Huge tart notes of lemon juice, pineapple juice, and pre-ripe yellow apples filled my nose, super-heavy on the acidic sourness. Beneath that, an earthy funk leapt up from the sides and flooded into the void left behind as the tart notes dispersed. A lot of people refer to this aroma as a barnyard funk, and that’s a great way to describe it – a bit like old, damp straw with a mild tang that clings to your nostrils. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s definitely specific and has a good chance in turning people away even before they drink. Completing the aroma, a layer of mildly earthy malts arrive with a splash of yeasty spices – both subdued, but still packing that same tang of ripeness that the rest of the aroma brings. Visually, it pours a moderately cloudy gold with an absolutely massive and fluffy white head. I had to transfer some foam to another glass just so I could find some beer to drink.
On the tongue, the sourness of the aroma is enormously magnified. It’s a tartness that clings to the tongue for several seconds before suddenly vanishing. Quite a few flavors arrive at once, but with a bit of time I was able to pick out sour citrus fruits, fermented barnyard funkiness, a touch of malts, and fresh apple peels. This beer gets all up in your business fast, which is ok, because it’s definitely tasty – if you like that big tart punch. Basically, if you’re a fan of sours, you’d probably like this. But, if you’re a fan of lambics, a fan of saisons, or both, you may also like this. The two styles are recognizable with each drink. There’s the bright, fruity tartness of a lambic, and a mildly spiced, “straw and grass clippings” earthiness of a saison, waltzing across the tongue without stepping on each other’s toes. The aftertaste is almost nonexistent – a slight tang at the back of the tongue with perhaps a touch of apple peel, but this beer jumps in and out ninja-fast.
Duchessic is not a beer for everyone. Fans of sours, and die-hard lovers of lambics and saisons will probably find the most enjoyment from this, but then again I have little experience in sours, and I found it quite enjoyable. Beside that, it’s tart brightness was ultra-refreshing, which is always nice. The blending of sour fruit and mildly spiced farm funk not only worked well with each other, but both represented styles of beer were front and center at the same time. It’s ABV is moderate, so you won’t need to worry about falling asleep before finishing, which is good because a slow drink will allow you to experience every layer of flavor. At around $10 for a normal bottle, it’s pricey, but if you’re looking for something unique and strangely delicious, give it a shot. You’ve probably spent $10 on worse things.
I recommend this for people wanting an eye-opening beer experience or, if you’re a sour lover, a slow drink over a lazy afternoon. So go ahead and give Duchessic a shot. Who knows, you may love it. This crazy drink earns an A-.
Lasting Strength: 9/10
Overall: 9.2/10 A-