I’ve mentioned in my last couple of posts, but my friend Joe is passing through central Illinois on his way home to St. Louis from Chicago. We’re having dinner at Destihl, the local brewpub, along with a few beers. I started out with their St. Dekkera Reserve Bela Imperial Pilsner Sour Ale, and then followed that with their Downstate Pale ale with my dinner. After dinner, I thought I’d go with something a bit lighter and sweet for my dessert.
Location: On tap, and served in a large tulip shaped glass at Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works in Normal, Illinois.
Numbers: 5% ABV, 15 IBUs, 4 SRM, ~ 150 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It was fairly hazy, and it had an orange color with a light pink tint to it. It had a big soapy head, which fell rather quickly and became just a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. There was a bit of a bready strawberry aroma to it, but not as big as I was expecting.
Taste & Feel: The body was medium and the mouthfeel was fairly smooth. The flavor up front was bready and lightly malty with a bit of yeastiness. In the middle, a lightly fruity strawberry essence came in and lasted through the finish. The strawberry flavor was light, adding a bit of fruitiness flavor to the beer, but almost no sweetness or tartness. The aftertaste was a bit bready with a light strawberry flavor.
Food Pairing: The beer was light enough in strawberry flavor that the flavors in the beer certainly would not eclipse any other flavors. I would probably pair this with an actual strawberry dessert, such as a strawberry shortcake or strawberry topped cheesecake. The strawberry in the dessert would help to bring out more of the strawberry flavors in the beer, and the lightness of the beer would help to cut through the sweetness of the dessert.
Overall Impression: I’ve had this beer in previous years, and it was either fairly sweet or fairly tart. When I tried it this time, I thought it had been aged quite a bit, as the strawberry flavor was much, much lighter than it had been in the past. I found out from my friend Fred, the head brewer, that it was actually freshly tapped, but they cut back the strawberries in the recipe this year. The beer had a decent body, but the flavors were light. It was drinkable, but I was expecting a bit more flavor, either from the malts or the strawberry. Unfortunately, the bready malt, yeast, and strawberry flavors all kind of mixed together without one of them really standing out.