Beer of the Weekend #600: Anniversary Strong Ale

Well, tonight is a special occasion for BotW: #600.

I have been disappointed by two of the last three beers I have chosen for these big, special, round numbers. Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout (#300, B-) was a bust, and I was not impressed by Don de Dieu (#500, B+), which was a huge surprise because Unibroue makes fantastic beers. On the flip side, This One Goes to 11 Ale (#400, A) was amazing, so perhaps I have better luck with even numbers.

Anyway, before I headed for John’s to find something special and expensive, I realized I did not even need to leave my own home to find a beer befitting #600. It has been in the back of my fridge since last May, aging (gracefully, I hope).

The beer of the weekend is Anniversary Strong Ale, brewed by the New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus, Wisconsin.

Anniversary Strong Ale was New Glarus’ special release to celebrate the brewery’s twentieth anniversary in 2013. It is high time I crack it open. The recent reviews on BA send a mixed message, so I really hope I have not waited too long.

Serving type: 500 ml bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with ruby tones into a tulip glass. Two and a half fingers of dense, meringue-like head dissipates slowly and evenly, leaving tons of lacing along the side of the glass.

Smell: Complex, but my mind is blanking for some reason. The aroma is not necessarily robust, but it is very complex with Belgian yeast, spice, pepper, cloves, alcohol, apple, banana, dark fruits, and toasted malts.

Taste: Whoa. The flavor is much more robust than the aroma. The spice is front and center and followed by a very rich, almost roasted character. Yeast, cloves, toasted malts, apple, banana, pepper, molasses, and alcohol.

Drinkability: This truly is strong ale. It reminds me a lot of Trois Pistoles. This is definitely good stuff. I’m not sure if it aged well or not, but it is still good after all this time in my fridge.

Fun facts about Anniversary Strong Ale:

-Style: The beer is classified on BA as “Belgian Strong Dark Ale.” For some reason, I always thought it was a bock.

-Price: $8.49/bottle at the Roelli Cheese Haus in rural Shullsburg, Wisconsin. (I have no clue why the cap shows $6.79. I kept the receipt so I know how much I paid.) I bought it during the Memorial Day weekend last year. When I took it to the counter the cashier asked, “You know this is a nine dollar bottle, right?” I nodded and said, “Oh yeah!”

-Alcohol content: 7 percent ABV is listed on BA, but no ABV is listed on New Glarus’ website.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B+/A-.

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