Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager (6/10)

Brooklyn Brewery of New York is one of a few breweries that I have something of a confusing relationship with.  I love their labels.  I like many of the styles of beer they produce (Belgian Strong Dark, Quadrupel, etc.). I like their sense of humor.  But when it gets right down to it, I generally don't like their beer.  They're one of those breweries that thinks that if a beer is good, it'll be even better when it's really hopped up.

The beer pours a lovely coppery mahogany color with thick beige head that lasts longer than you'd probably expect for the alcohol content it packs.

The aroma is intensely hoppy, but some malt sweetness does poke through if you keep sniffing.

The flavor backs up the aroma.  Hops absolutely dominates this one.  Malt sweetness makes a brief appearance in the middle of the swallow, but is quickly bludgeoned into submission by the hops Brooklyn packs into the bottle.  And that's my problem with a lot of Brooklyn Brewing's beers.  I like the bottles, I like the styles they brew, I like the people who brew them (I've met their brewmasters in the past), and I think the labels are classy and stylish.  But their beer is often just too darned hoppy for the likes of me.

Before you go thinking I've got some kind of secret vendetta against these brewers, take a look at the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines for the doppelbock style.  In the "Vital Statistics" section, they state that a doppelbock should have the following characteristics:

International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 16-26
SRM (color):  6-25
Original Gravity: 1.072-1.112
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 7-10%

Now look at the specifications for Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager, taken directly from their official web page for the beer:

IBUs:  45 (almost double the style's guideline)
SRM:  Unknown
Original Gravity: 19.2 Plato or approximately 1.080 Gravity
ABV: 9%

They managed to hit the style everywhere but the bitterness, where they've practically doubled what's appropriate for a doppelbock.  And that's my problem with Brooklyn.  I really, really want to like the beer these guys make.  But because they subscribe to the "more hops is better" philosophy, I just can't seem to do it.

That said, I do like their QUADceratops, Winter Ale, and Sorachi Ace.  When this beer has spent a year or two in my cellar, and that 45-IBU bitterness dies down to something in the 16-26 range that's appropriate for a doppelbock, I think we'll have a winner here too.

The folks at Beer Advocate disagree with me on this one.  They rate Silver Anniversary Lager 87-89 out of 100 (very good).  The folks at Rate Beer loved it even more, giving it a 93/100 overall.  But I've had some doppelbocks that I really love, like Ayinger Celebrator, Fort Collins Brewing's Doppelbock, and others.  I like them so much more than this one that I can't in good conscience rate it higher than 6 out of 10.  That means I'd rather drink this than (for example) a Budweiser or Coors product, but I'd rather drink plenty of other doppelbocks before this one.

If you want to try this beer for yourself, when I last visited Kenny Road Market yesterday, it was on sale for $1.99 a 25 ounce bomber bottle, or $19.99 for a case of 12.  Perhaps you'll love it more than I did, or as much as I want to like it... but don't.

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