There’s nothing wrong with being a beer snob.
You have your tastes, and you stand by them. The way you convey your beer snobbery is where the issue can lie.
Instead of touting my negative opinions in front of brewmasters awaiting my critique — which would make me look like a pompous jerk — I look instead to share the positive aspects of the beer. And if I can’t find any, I just start stating the notes I pick up.
If you’ve read between the lines in some of my beer columns, you’ve probably figured out which brews I dislike. Instead of slamming a beer into its grave, I try to focus on what the brewmaster was trying to impart and lightly touch on my opinion. Afterall, this column is about exploring different craft beer in Georgia and learning about them, not an emotion-driven Yelp review.
Anyway, let’s get to the beer of the week. While perusing the beer selection at Downtown Drafts in Gainesville, I came across a bottle of Heavy Bell from Three Taverns Brewery. The beer’s label reminded me of a bottle of bourbon with its off-white color, bold letters and small logo, which looks like a stamp or wax seal.
I could tell this beer meant business, and the beer apostle in me couldn’t pass it up. Unfortunately, the brewery’s brewmaster didn’t respond to my interview request in time for print, so you’ll have to settle for my explanation of the brew.
The brewery took its Belgian-style quadrupel, Quasimodo, and transformed it into a work of art. Aged in 8-year-old bourbon barrels, a dark, hefty, 11% alcohol by volume beer fit for Thor himself was born.
If you’ve tried a quadrupel before, you’ll know that the beer is already typically high in alcohol, dark and rich. Through aging it in bourbon barrels, more nuances rise to the surface, conjuring something more complex.
This is the sort of beer that will make you feel like a beer snob even if you aren’t one. And in my case, it made me want to hold my pinky up, stroke my invisible handlebar mustache and adjust my metaphorical monocle.
There’s so much to unpack with Heavy Bell. It sent my tastebuds on a boozy journey through dark chocolate, figs, cherries and vanilla. It reminds me of the Lindt cherry liqueur chocolates my mom would bring back from her trips to Germany.
Heavy Bell is sweet — but not too sweet — creamy, full-bodied, bold and ridiculously smooth even with its high alcohol content. It’s safe to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, not only for the nostalgia factor, but the entertaining flavors.
If you find yourself in Decatur, I implore you to visit Three Taverns, located at 121 New St., and pick up some Heavy Bell. The beer can also be found at Downtown Drafts on 115 Bradford St. in Gainesville.
Brewery: Three Taverns Brewery
Alcohol by volume: 11%
Style: Bourbon barrel-aged quadrupel
Bottom line: Makes me want to hold my pinky up