When dealing with the decision making process while purchasing beer, there’s nothing like a cool design or an interesting name to make you go for bottle a) after bottle or, b) I mean you have to choose for some reason in the end, tasting notes are all very well… But, perhaps hinting at some mild synaesthesia, the connection between visual design and taste has certainly informed the connection in my mind with many of my favourite beers. Beavertown of course, and Flying Dog with the legendary Ralph Steadman on design duties, are two incredible breweries with standout artwork.
Typically, visuals appreciated, it is then that I twist the bottle round to try to glean the strength. 8.5% in the case of this strong dark ale from Brouwerij Huyghe. At this stage of the evening my ears are glowing and it’s in no small part down to the enthusiasm with which I supped my way through this ornamental and intriguing bottle.
Once you begin to pour and see a brew as black as any stout, the last thing you expect as you raise your questing trunk to the glass is the sweet scent of strawberry, but it is that (or rather the well-known synthetic version of strawberry that you might get in a chocolate) that greets you. Sup from the Stygian bowl before you and the rich strains of a Cascadian BIPA will be there in abundance, but flushing away the malt and chocolate is that sweet fragrant strawberry again – proving that the brewery symbol of the pink elephant is rather apt!
Nothing gives your taste buds a working over like a good selection of beer. By fusing the heaviness of strong dark ale, the quaffability of black IPA and the surprising element of sweet and fragrant ‘strawberry’ (I suppose plum would be another similar fruity tone but this was less dry and more sweet), we have here an interesting, tasty and at 8.5% plentifully pokey brew.