BEER BOOST: Add sparkle to your list with super-premiums.
BREWS WITH FOOD: Make your beer list as inviting as your wine list, with everything from rich barley wines and Belgium ales that marry with food, to flavorful everyday pale ales and wheat beers.
By now you've heard the news that super-premium wines and spirits are the hot alcoholic beverage categories this year. You may have even experienced a shift in your customers' tastes firsthand. But, if wine is the new beer, what happened to beer? The truth is that although the sales of what's called domestic or "macro" beer declined by about 1.5% last year, U.S. craft beer sales were up by 9% and imports by over 7%. This means that consumers are looking for something a little different to refresh their taste buds. Why not give it to them and make your beer list as interesting and inviting as your wine list? Wouldn't it be great to become a beer destination in your market?
We found a host of high scoring, super-premium beers from the 2006 World Beer Championships that would make a great addition to your beverage program. From rich barley wines and Belgium ales that pair with food like wines to flavorful everyday beers like pale ales, IPAs and wheat beers. A nice mix of distinctive regional craft beers and lesser known, excellent quality international beers will add an intriguing sparkle to your list and is sure to boost your beer profits. Here's Part One of our list. Look for Part Two next month. Cheers!
Unibroue Maudite (91 pts.) Deep copper mahogany color. Sweet toffee, banana raisin toast, and faint licorice aromas. A frothy entry leads to a fruity sweet medium-bodied palate with toasty malt, banana, cocoa-dusted raisin, and a touch of mild spiciness. Finishes with some noticeable alcohol and a crisp fade of bitter chocolate lemon, and spice. Nice drinkability and spiciness. 8% ABV; 750 ml.
Unibroue La Fin du Monde (97 pts.) Hazy old gold color. Rich spicy, orange peel and spice aromas. Rich frothy entry leads to a vibrant tart and fruity full-bodied palate with wheaty malt, orange peel, honey, dried peaches and apricot and spice flavors with a touch of salt. Finishes with a long wheat cracker, honey, citrus and spice fade. This is a truly great beer. 9% ABV; 750 ml.
Unibroue "15"(93 pts.) Hazy golden amber color with a vibrant white head. Sweet dried fruit, straw, mint and clover honey aromas. A robust entry leads to a rich, frothy and fruity full-bodied palate with candied lemon peel, kumquats, light caramel, toast and coriander. Finishes with a long warming fade of sweet dried fruits and lightly peppery spices. Superb depth and drinkability that will match up with a variety of hearty, spicy foods. 10% ABV; 750 ml.
St. Bernardus Brouwerij St. Bernardus Tripel (93 pts.) Old gold color with a high white head. Yeasty, bread dough and fruity baked citrus aromas. A smooth frothy entry leads to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to full-bodied palate with bread dough, candied lemon peels, light spice and pink peppercorns. Finishes with a tangy marmalade and sea salt fade. Smooth and tasty with the alcohol well in check. 8% ABV; 750 ml.
Brasserie Abbaye du Val-Dieu Val-Dieu Triplez (90 pts.) Lightly hazy, golden yellow color with a lacey white head. Wheat cracker, baked citrus, and light caramel aromas. A frothy entry leads to a lightly fruity, medium-bodied caramelized pale malt palate with candied lemon, peel, cracked pepper, dried peach and wet stone flavors. Finishes crisply with a citrusy hop, dried fruit and mild spice fade. A nicely balanced, easy going tripel. 9% ABV; 750 ml.
Rogue Ales American Amber (92 pts.) Brilliant deep amber color with a taupe head. Earthy hop and dark toast aromas follow through to a racy caramelized malt palate with roasted nut, cocoa and candied citrus peel hops. Finishes with a long refreshing fruit and hop-driven finish. A great example of the style. 5.2% ABV; 22 oz.
Wychwood Brewery Co. Hobgoblin (91pts.) Dark copper color. Toffee, dried fruit and salty roasted nut aromas. Soft and smooth with off-dry caramelized malt and raisin flavors. Finishes with sweet mild citrus and earthy hops. Deep, almost woody, malt flavor, superb drinkability, ripe fruit flavor. 5.5% ABV; 500 ml.
Deschutes Brewery Cinder Cone Red Ale (91 pts.) Deep amber color with a thick, off-white head. Complex aromas of toasty malt, piney hops, yeast and grain. A rich, frothy entry leads to a roasted-malt palate with flavors of grain, hops, caramel and roasted nuts. Finishes with a long, hop-driven finish. A fine example of a west coast amber ale. 5.5% ABV; 12 oz.
Daleside Brewery Ripon Jewel (90 pts.) Brilliant amber color. Yeasty, wheat bread dough, raisin and roasted nut aromas. A tangy entry leads to a tart, frothy full-bodied palate of sweettart citrus fruit, toasted fruit pastry, molasses and mild citrusy hops. Finishes with a long, smooth and tart orange marmalade fade. 5.8% ABV; 550 ml.
Rogue Ales Juniper Pale Ale (90 pts.) Rich golden color with a thick, white head. Rich dried fruit and herbal, hop aromas leads to a vibrant medium to full-bodied malt palate with a sweet citrus edge. Finishes with lingering hop bitterness. sComplex hop character makes this a winner. 5.2% ABV; 22 oz.
Stone Brewing Co. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (96 pts.) Bright copper color with a tan head. Rich, fruity, malty with a hint of crðme brulee. A bold entry leads to a sweet full-bodied caramelized malt palate with fruit puree, lemon marmalade and refined hoppiness. Finishes with a long toffeed fade with a citrusy hops. A remarkable barleywine with great depth and power. 11.26% ABV; 22 oz.
The Boston Beer Co. Samuel Adams Millennium (95 pts.) Deep copper color with no carbonation. Sweet raisin, dried fruit, and caramel aromas lead to a supple, velvety smooth, full-bodied palate with rich, dried peach and apricot, honey, vanilla and bourbon cask flavors. Finishes with a long fruity, sherried fade. A liqueur-like after-dinner beer. 20% ABV; 22 oz.
The Boston Beer Co. Samuel Adams Utopias (94pts.) Copper color with no carbonation. Deep roasted nut, toffee and sherried aromas with vanilla, brown spice and sweet caramel flavors. Finishes with spicy pepper and sweet toffee fade. A wonderful, round, lively and spicy dessert wine like beer. 26% ABV; 22 oz.
Rogue Ales Old Crustacean (90 pts.) Brilliant amber with a tan head. Sweet fruity malt aromas lead to a medium-bodied roasted malt palate with rich fruity malt flavors followed by citrusy hop bitterness. Finishes with a long, sweet grainy fade. 11.5% ABV 750 ml.
Brasserie La Binchoise Binchoise Reserve (91 pts.) Hazy amber color. Very floral, dried peach and apricot aromas. A rich, frothy entry leads to a fruity, floral medium-bodied caramelized malt palate with lavender, violet, honey and light caramel flavors. Finishes with a long sweet stone fruit fade. Very lush and floral but could use a little more malt intensity. 9% ABV; 750 ml.
Unibroue Seigneuriale (90 pts.) Burnished hazy copper color. Deep aromas of wet grain, dark caramel, spice and warm fruit compote. A rich, froth entry leads to a dry-yet fruity, full-bodied palate with toasted nuts, burnt sugar, cocoa powder, peppery brown spices and tangy dried citrus peels. Finishes with a tart, fruit skin and seed, singed citrus peel and warm caramel fade. 7.5% ABV; 750 ml.
Brasserie Abbaye des Rocs Des Rocs Bruin (91pts.) Dark hazy copper color. Fresh lemon peel and toffee aromas with slight bit of pinesap-like hops. A vibrant, frothy entry leads to a fruity tart and tangy full-bodied caramelized malt palate with zesty citrus, coriander, salt and pepper flavors. Finishes with a wave of citrusy hops and treacle. Powerful; refined. 9% ABV; 750 ml.
Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne (94 pts.) Red, burnished dark copper color with a frothy manilla head. Sweet caramel, spice, tart apple skin and cider vinegar aromas. A racy, zesty entry leads to a sweet and bracingly tart medium-to full-bodied palate with caramel apples, cider vinegar, vanilla and brown spices. Finishes with a caramel and sour apple skin fade. A challenging but very rewarding beer that is a great example of a naturally soured Flemish red ale. 6% ABV; 750 ml.
Look for Part Two of this list next month.
BOOST BEER PROFITS
The Beverage Testing Institute ranked the world's best super-premium beers. Many of them would be a great addition to your beverage program. We'll have more beer recommendations next month.
Jerald O'Kennard is Director of The Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.