Beer Review 0555: The Bruery 6 Geese-A-Laying Belgian-Style Dark Ale

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Each holiday season, The Bruery (Placentia, California) releases a special beer with the hopes that you’ll save at least one bottle that will culminate in one hell of a vertical tasting in the year…2019.

The 2013 release, 6 Geese-A-Laying, is a Belgian-Style Dark Ale brewed with cape gooseberries. If you’re like me, you have to look gooseberries up. Allow me to save you some time: gooseberries are a species of Ribes, a flowering plant that produces edible berries, including currants. Native to Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, the fruit is most often used in desserts. Early pickings are tart and most appropriate for culinary use; they are also used to flavor sodas, milk, water, and in this case, beer. 6 Geese-A-Laying comes in at 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), making it built for aging. This series of beers is based on the festive Twelve Days of Christmas, and the beers are named based off the gifts given by “my true love,” as mentioned in the song.

Waiting twelve years to drink some beers that may or may not age well is a tough challenge, so we suggest you grab a bottle for now and put one away for the deep sleep.

The Bruery was founded by Patrick Rue, his brother Chris and wife Rachel; the three brewed a batch of Amber Ale using Cascade hops and the beer was so good that Patrick abandoned his future as an attorney and became a full-time brewer.

All Bruery beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized; they are also all bottle conditioned, meaning the carbonation occurs naturally through a secondary bottle fermentation. The name “Bruery” is a fusion of the word ‘brewery’ with the family name Rue.

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6 Geese-A-Laying pours an average size, creamy head that fades away fairly quickly. The beer is amber colored with some lighter orange highlights around the edges of the glass. The body is slightly hazy; the bottom of the bottle reveals lots of yeast sediment, which the back label suggests that you leave in the bottle. Although hazy, there were no particles or sediment present, and the lacing was simply fair, leaving a piece of foam here and there as I sampled.

On the nose, we’ve got an unimpressive beer — it almost smells infected, as it has a twinge of tartness that mixes with an obvious tidal wave of sweetness and it just doesn’t gel well. This beer is bready both from the malt and yeast, and it has plenty of caramel going on. There’s some dry powdery chocolate, orange peel, and clove, but these are relatively minor players. It’s sweet, bready, mainly caramel with a touch of Quadrupel-like aromas. Interesting but not overly impressive…

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Thankfully, the palate is much different. It’s quite a drinkable brew, and it’s very much like a standard Quad; we’ve got lots of bready sweet caramel, nearly chewy, and hits of soft booze. Middle of the mouth opens to some brown sugar, berries, and cherries, leaving the finish to issue some orange peel bitterness and then overlay a steady sugar cake sweetness. It touches the edge of cloying and then reels back in nicely. This beer is full-bodied, with a medium, foamy mouthfeel.

Here’s my honest take on The Bruery’s 12 Beers of Christmas offerings: the ones I’ve had have all been solidly drinkable beers, but not something I want to put away in my basement and wait 12 years to have again. They just aren’t that tasty. That’s an honest take — alone, 6 Geese-A-Laying is a good beer that makes for an excellent nightcap, especially if you like Quadrupel Belgian beers. But if you’re looking for something special to have a grandiose vertical tasting of in 2019, this just ain’t it. Sorry. Still love you, Bruery…

The Bruery 6 Geese-A-Laying Belgian-Style Dark Ale, 84 points. Price: $12.99 US for one 750 ml. bottle.

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