|Kelleys Island Brewing Co. 2012
Traveling up to Kelleys Island to visit Doug and Patti is always a joy. The journey up from Columbus involves no motorways with much of it chugging along
country roads. Then there’s the schoolboy excitement of driving the motorcycle onto the ferry before cruising across Lake Erie to our destination.
To cap it off, there are the excellent ales, not to mention the always warm hospitality from Doug and Patti at their Brewing Co. Little wonder then, that we
made two journeys up there in 2012. Lady Roberts even came up for the first trip!
For our first visit, the focus was on their 9% Anniversary Ale, a Belgian Double (made with two malts). Patti told us they had considered re-naming it El Diablo,
but in the end it remained Anniversary Ale. For the second trip to the Brewpub, I tried both their Island Devil (a Belgian Single) and The Anniversary Ale, plus
the Dawg Biscuit Brown.
To cap it off, Doug presented me with a glass of his still being conditioned Double IPA (approx 9%). It’s always a privilege to taste one of Doug’s craft ales
straight from the tank and as a bonus, he gave me a growler of the Double IPA – we agreed I would open it in 30 days time (which turned into 49 days!). He
was releasing it at the brewpub in 10 days, so we wanted to see what an extra 20 days conditioning would do to it. It was quite a sight packing the growler –
encased in ice – into one of my saddlebags. The things we’ll do for a good ale!
So then to the ales – reviewing Doug’s ales are always a no-brainer, as the effort he puts into his beers are clearly reflected in the taste.
1) Anniversary Ale (9%)
I initially picked this up in the Spring for our Dunkles reunion, and I had still yet to find a better beer for 2009. Described as a Belgian Single, this radiant beer,
with its lemony aroma gave refreshing flavours of mild lemon grass and orange. A beautiful ale for summer drinking. A very well deserved 11/10
2) Island Devil (7%)
A cross between a Belgian Double and Belgian Tripel -- thus, not overly sweet -- and running at a slightly lesser ABV than its usual 8.5% this glorious ale was
an extra-strong, aromatic, hoppy copper ale, using German hops and Trappist yeast. The fermentation of strong beers can create fruity flavours and I found a
pruney, almost brandyish character to this superb, luscious, flavorsome ale. One to be sipped and enjoyed -- Lord Ackery, where's that bloody Hamlet cigar!
A highly impressive 10/10
3) Dawg Biscuit Brown (5.5%)
The time of year can always make a difference to a beer. I’ve usually tasted Dawg Biscuit Brown in the sweltering heat of summer, where the malty flavours
have tended to clash with my hop sensibilities, BUT – with the autumn breezes coming off the lake, Dawg Biscuit Brown came into a life of its own, where the
malty, chocolatey flavours balanced perfectly together to produce a smooth ale, perfect to accompany a view of the whitecaps coming off the lake. It’s always
going to be a well crafted ale, but for me, it really hits the spot in the autumn. Lovely! 10/10
4) Double IPA (9%). Part A.
To finish up with...not the finished item, looking like lemon curd in the glass, this cloudy beer was packed with grapefruit flavours with a distinct peppery hop
finish. Honestly, a lesser brewer could have taken and released the Double IPA right there and then, because it really was already very tasty. But, Doug,
dedicated perfectionist that he is, wanted to give it another 10 days. On this sample alone 8/10