The beer for this week revisits a brewery I reviewed very recently: The Bruery. In Week 47, I got into some Black Tuesday and Chocolate Rain. This week I got to taste their yearly addition to a 12 Days of Christmas Vertical: 4 Calling Birds. This is, obviously, the 4th in a set of 12. The first of which is one of the most difficult beers to find on the planet.
Rustico Ballston, in Arlington, VA offered the beer on Cask and Tap for their 2011 Festivus Celebration (yes there was an aluminum pole, but no Feat of Strength or Airing of Grievances). I obliged and tried both!
Black pour with a small light brown head without much lacing. Retention isn’t that good. Really spicy smell with a pumpkin like malty aroma. It has an edge to it that isn’t quite alcohol, but it reminds me of it. Not all that pleasant an aroma overall. The taste is a lot more like a spicy pumpkin ale than I was expecting. Malt forward, the taste is a bit disjointed. Can’t say I see this lasting 8 years to complete the 12 Day of Christmas Vertical. Light body, carbonated well. Not great by any means and I don’t see how it’s going to last. Big miss for me.
3.45 / 5
Less head than the tap version, still no lacing. The aroma is a bit more balanced. Sweeter, less spicy. The taste follows the smell in being more balanced. The cask makes this a lot better, my guess is the barrel aged version would actually be pretty good as the barrel effects seem to curb the sub-par taste of the beer. The body is heavier, with less carbonation. Something I would expect from a cask offering. I enjoyed it a lot more this way, which surprised me. Still a bit disappointed overall.
3.98 / 5