AleSmith Grand Cru, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, is presented in a very classy-looking bottle with a shiny gold foil covering and printing that almost disappears on the bottle. The labeling is so subtle that it is hard to see unless the room is pretty well-lit. Lifting off the gold foil on the bottle, I expected to find a cork. Instead, an unlabeled matte-finish gold bottle cap greeted me. While I prefer a bottle cap for ease of opening, I was surprised (given the rest of the bottle's upscale appearance) to find one here.
When you look at the photo to the left, you may reach the conclusion that I'm not very good at pouring beer from a bottle. While I'm not a professional bartender, I've got more than a little experience pouring a variety of types and brands of beers into glasses. I therefore think it's safe to say that AleSmith's Grand Cru produces an incredibly large amount of head. That head has a consistency similar to whipped cream, is fairly durable, and is tan in color. It leaves behind a thick, foamy lacing that also takes a while to dissipate (though nearly vanishes completely when it does). It took a while to get enough of the beer poured to take the other picture.
Once the foam finally settles, the beer becomes a clear, reddish brown color. The flavor begins with a little caramel, which immediately turns to a grapefruit-like sour. The sourness, in turn, gives way to a bitter, dry hoppiness. The bitterness lingers long after you've swallowed it. Although it's a 10% ABV beer, I get very little alcohol warmth from it, perhaps because my tastebuds focus on the bitterness.
The bottom line is that I don't care much for this beer. I don't hate it, but it's not one I expect to buy "exceptional" or "world-class" Grand Cru. Since I tend to agree with their opinions more often than not, I suspect this is a case of the Grand Cru style being one I don't care for (much like the popular-but-not-with-me IPAs). In fact, the Beer Advocate reviewers indicate that this is an excellent example of the Grand Cru style, so you should take my 5/10 rating to be less a reflection on the quality of this particular brew and more a reflection that this style doesn't mesh well with my personal taste in beer.
again. I know that Beer Advocate's experts, and its visitors/reviewers, rate this an
I believe this was acquired locally at Kenny Road Market or The Andersons General Store.
IBU: 15 (according to a source other than AleSmith)
My Rating: 5/10