Orenda: Volume 2

Image courtesy of Pollyanna Brewing Company.

Image courtesy of Pollyanna Brewing Company.  Sorry, I drank it.

Orenda Volume 2, brewed by Pollyanna Brewing Co., Lemont, IL, is a flavorful Belgian-style quadrupel ale, aged for 9 months in cabernet sauvignon and Burgundy barrels.  The beer was brewed to celebrate Pollyanna’s first anniversary, and what a great way to celebrate.  Orenda is a slightly hazy, medium brown beer that produces a fairly thin head but generous lacing.  The bouquet is slightly tart with a good does of caramel sweetness and obvious red wine notes, and a clean alcohol tang at the end.  Take a sip of Orenda and you will begin to appreciate it even more.  There’s a fair amount of sweetness which is offset by a refreshing tart edge.  Think of Orenda as a strong red wine with a caramel malt backbone.  9.3% ABV strong.  Wrap it up with a tart, dry finish and you have a complex but not daunting locally brewed treat.  It’s only available at the brewery in 22 oz. bombers, and it may be gone by now, but will surely be back by popular demand in some form.


The Reverend

Image courtesy of Avery Brewing company

Image courtesy of Avery Brewing Company

Even though I visited Boulder, CO this summer and immersed myself in the brew culture, I did not have a chance to try anything from Avery Brewing Company.  I wanted to, but there was just so much beer there I couldn’t try it all, although I certainly did try.  Trying times.  Anyway, (who said that?) I bought a bottle of The Reverend from Avery, a Belgian-style quadrupel ale this past week and split it with my wife.  At 10% ABV, and on a school night, it’s a good idea to share.  The Reverend pours light ruby red with a light tan colored head.  TONS of lacing decorated the glass.  I liked the sweet, yeasty bouquet with its rock candy and slightly cinnamon notes.  Super sweet on the tongue, The Reverend finishes dry on the back of the tongue and lingers bitterly in the throat and a little doughy malt is evident in the exhale.  The Reverend is pretty good, but even as it warms, no real complexities in its character expose themselves, as they would in an Ommegang, Brother Thelonius or a real Belgian quad like St. Bernardus.  I was disappointed, a bit, but there’s a lot of competition in the category, and by comparison I find The Reverend to be a…

79/100 quadrupel ale

One last note:  The foil on the label is delaminating after being removed from the bottle and it makes me sad.

Sixth Glass

The Sixth Glass.  Not a Hitchcock movie, but instead another great brew from Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, MO, and part of their Smokestack Series of beers.  It is also a reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Watchman of the Tower”.  Boulevard is fast becoming one of my favorite breweries, and The Sixth Glass is one of the many reasons.  A Quadrupel Ale, Sixth Glass pours deep amber with a generous 2″ head and a bouquet that greets the nose from 2 feet away.  Super effervescent and lovely to behold, Sixth Glass is Sweet, tart, yeasty and citrusy.  It is light on the tongue and presents the drinker with a good dose of caramel and enough hop astringency to balance the overall profile of the beer.  Be prepared to enjoy the raisin and dried dark fruit notes of Sixth Glass as it warms, too.  The finish is vaguely dry, and for a 10.5% ABV ale it is an easy drinker.  This one will warm your heart for sure.  And your gut.  And your ears.