There is always lots going on in Brooklyn beers, but they have a poise and completeness that makes the beers drinkable, no-matter the strength.
But this beer, A Wee Bit, isn't the work of Brooklyn alone, it's a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and Williams Brothers Brew Co in Scotland – and it’s an absolute masterclass in drinkability.
Trust me, it takes a very steady hand to create a gluggable Scotch Ale brewed with peated malt, treacle and honey. It’s a beer that could so easily have ended up a sticky, overly sweet mess, or even worse something which has far too much peat and medicinal character – evoking thoughts of childhood scraped knees and the painful sting of TCP that followed.
But in the hands of the Williams Bros, with a little help from those magicians at Brooklyn, it has turned out as one of the most surprisingly drinkable beers I’ve enjoyed in quite some time. Like a sort of Scottish Schlenkerla Marzen, albeit not as powerfully smoked.
The initial aroma is that of BIG smokey-sweet frankfurter and woodsmoke with just a little touch of honey dipped pine needle.
The flavour is smooth and flavoursome with a nice smoked marzen like quality and only a touch of sweetness. There’s a lovely underlying roasted malt bitterness that combines well with a clear but restrained peated malt earthiness.
The peat is quite subtle but it's certainly there, something which Scotch whiskey drinkers will no-doubt be able to pinpoint much easier.
The honey and treacle don't really come through, but for me that’s not really a negative.
I was surprised how much I liked this beer. Which, as you may have guessed, was a lot.
p.s. I was supposed to be reviewing this beer as part of a live tweet-along the brewery held last week, but as usual I was disorganised and unavailable. So my review of this and two other new beers will be coming in three separate parts.