Pap Datta, Left Nut Brewing Co.’s co-owner, was driving the long stretch between Georgia and Virginia when an idea popped into his head.
“I was contemplating kicking off a series of Belgians,” he said. “Something exotic, something magnificent.”
The three names for his beer trio rose to the surface. He contacted his colleagues at Left Nut in Gainesville, and presented his vision — Exotique, Mystique and Magnifique.
Datta said he was inspired by the three wise men from the Bible. Each beer was released around Christmas in 2017.
Alcohol by volume: 10 percent
International Bitterness Units: N/A
Style: Belgian golden strong ale
Brewery: Left Nut Brewing Co.
Bottom line: A fun twist on a traditional Belgian brew
Unsure of the Belgian styles he wanted for the beer trio, Datta handed the reins off to Left Nut’s brewing team. They came up with the triple threat — Belgian quad, Belgian strong dark ale and Belgian golden strong ale.
Out of the three, the Exotique caught my eye.
I admit, being a birder, I had no choice but to opt for the beer with an adorable bird on it.
The beer dialed up its call to me when I saw the words “apricots” and “candied ginger” on the label.
Richard Foote, the brewery’s director of research and development, said they worked in concentrated apricot puree and ginger candy into the Belgian brew.
“This was an opportunity to do a traditional style with a little bit of flare and a little bit of sassiness,” Jason Ford, Left Nut’s head brewer said.
Many apricot beers that I’ve had seem to only offer a whisper of the flavor. This is not the case with the Exotique.
If you want to not only taste the fruit, but take a tour of an apricot orchard, then this is the beer for you. I didn’t even have to stick my nose in the beer to smell the apricots.
At first sip, my tastebuds were hit with an apricot-forward note. The beer then eased into the characteristic banana flavor you typically taste in Belgian beer and finished with a small dose of ginger.
At first I was thrown off by the shock of apricot, but it leveled out.
I expected it to be one of those beers that I only want a half-pour, but the Exotique proved an easier drink than I was expecting. It became smoother and less startling with every sip.
What intrigues me the most about this beer is its ability to age well.
Ford said he has enjoyed tasting the Exotique since it came out more than a year ago. Over time it has developed more nuances like stronger malt notes.
“All of our packaged beer, they hold up pretty well,” Ford said. “They age very gracefully. I hope I age as gracefully as our beers do.”
Don’t fall for the beer’s beautiful golden color or light mouth-feel. The Exotique is a strong drink, coming in at 10 percent alcohol by volume.
All in all, the Exotique offers a fun twist on the traditional Belgian golden strong ale. If the marriage of candied ginger, apricots and malt tickles your fancy, then hop by Left Nut.
The beer is no longer on tap, so I suggest purchasing a bottle before they’re gone.