Monday, March 9, 2015

Surly Doomtree

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1299) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 9, 2015
I’ve no idea what the deal is with this beer. This is apparently a coloration brew with a band of the same name. Surly does make a point in saying that it defies styles, and I can definitely agree with that. Some classify it as an ESB, others say Belgian something. It probably is an ESB recipe that’s fermented with Belgian yeast. Whatever the case may be, the fact is Doomtree is actually a pretty tasty and unique beer that goes to show styles are too restrictive.

I poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass. It was canned on 2/16/15 and was sent to me from Matthew L. in Minnesota (thanks again!).

Appearance: Fairly dark copper/amber hue with slight haze. Not much visible carbonation. Pours to a two-finger, tan, soapy head which mostly dissipates and leaves a little lacing.

Smell: Classic Belgian fruity esters (especially banana bread); some flowery hops as well.

Taste: I appreciate eccentric brews, though it makes my job as a beer critic a little more difficult since there isn’t much frame of reference I can use to convey the palette to the reader. There’s a certain fruity character to this brew; it does remind me of something in the English-style pub brew genre. Lots of amber maltiness, some bready flavor and a sweet fruitiness not unlike sugary cereal. Not toffee or caramel as often found in British pub brews, but it does have the hoppy character. Mild banana bread can be found here with a fairly bitter, floral/berry hop sensation of the back end. Some spiciness, though it appears to be from the yeast rather than any kind of added flavoring component. Overall, it’s very tasty; styles be damned.

Drinkability: I’m actually surprised Surly Doomtree is “only” 5.7% ABV as it has the body and complexity of a much stronger brew. The mouthfeel is closer to full, but still fairly crisp; there’s no sticky, cloying texture here. It goes down smooth and leaves just a mild drying sensation on the tongue (though it’s refreshing while in the mouth). I wouldn’t pair it with a heavily spiced meal, but cheese alone would complement it well (or vice versa). 
Grade: 8/10

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