Saturday, June 4, 2011


You'd think modern brewers had run out of trends to mine or piggyback on. Just when experimentation with new brewing styles and hybrids had hit its all-time peak, there's been a backslide focused on rediscovery of abandoned styles or recipes from 100 years ago or more. Now me, I wasn't around back then, but I have to think that most beers brewed at the turn of the 19th century to the 20th were vastly inferior to what we can get today. Certainly it's the case with every other form of gastronomic delight - the innovation, technological and hygenic curves move ever upward in search of better and better recipes. But if some brewers wanna dabble in a couple of ancient English pub recipes, who am I to stop 'em? Let's try a couple that recently hit the shelves and see what we think.

DE MOLEN - "1914 PORTER" - This is made in exceptionally limited batches, and my bottle was numbered 224/672. Just like the records I used to snap up in the 80s, that sort of thing hits the same nerdtastic pleasure centers in my brain. This is a 1914 recipe from England apparantly, but I taste a ton of Belgium in this thing as well. This porter is hoppy, for starters. Some yeasts too, and a tangy aftertaste. Not roasty, not chocolate - just a chesnut-flavored Belgian porter, supposedly based on an English recipe from the olden days. From a brewer based in the Netherlands. Oh - and it's excellent, too, and very worthy of the coin you'll need to throw down to get one. 8/10.

PRETTY THINGS BEER & ALE PROJECT - "NOVEMBER 5th, 1901 KK" - Let's go all the way back to 1901 for this one. A dark, dry and yes, somewhat hoppy ale from London. Dark bittersweet cocoa and a strong malt backbone. I kept thinking how I was going to rag on this one and yet every sip transported me to a pub in the UK, sheltered from the drizzle with pint after pint of this to lift my spirits. As I am with just about everything from Massachusetts' Pretty Things, color me impressed. 7/10.