20 November 2009

Van Twee Belgian Ale

De Proef Brouweru Brewmaster's Collaboration Van Twee Belgian Ale (bottle)
7.5% ABV

Brewmaster's collaboration withe Bell's Brewery Inc.

When I heard about this collaboration between Bell's own John Mallett and a respected Belgian brewery on Kalamabrew, I knew I had to have it. And when Tiffany's got a couple of half-cases, I probably bought the very first bottle purchased in Kalamazoo. It took me a few days to review because, as we all know, Life Intervenes, but here goes:

Sour aroma, more like a Flanders Red than a Belgian Strong Dark, with a nice nutty flavor and a tart-sour aftertaste. Lots of cherries. It's an interesting beer with an (obviously) fascinating provenance, but is it really worth the cost? It'll sell to fans of Bell's for the novelty value alone, but at this price point I really expected something that would be a lot more complex and innovative. Just not getting the complexity that I'd get from even a more straightforward Belgian -- it's not a scratch against Abbaye des Rocs Triple Imperial, for instance.

I'm being a bit harsh here, for this is a really nice Belgian-style dark ale that is probably worth a try for anyone who loves Belgians and Bell's, but I'm so used to Bell's blowing me away with the quality of their beers that I found myself disappointed with this one. And, again, for what I spent on this bottle I could've gotten two bottles of a standard Belgian (well, almost....). I like the cherries, I like the nuttiness, I like the yeast, but ultimately I find myself asking, "Is that it?"

And it is. Sad to be disappointed by such a good beer.

My overall BA rating: 4.15/5

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