Friday, February 20, 2009
TBG Drinks: 1554 Enlightened Black Ale
Brewed By: New Belgium Brewing
Brewed In: Fort Collins, CO
Type: Belgian Dark Ale
What They Say: "Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. A highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel."
Website: I covered New Belgium's website in my review of 2° Below.
Why I Picked It: I've previously declared my unabashed adoration for New Belgium's Fat Tire. A few weeks back, I sampled their seasonal Mighty Arrow pale ale (review forthcoming!). Afterwards, I determined that New Belgium can do no wrong when it comes to beer and, given a week or two, could probably fix the economy and cure the common cold. BevMo was selling 22 oz. bottles of 1554 for $2.00, so of course…Aaron's on board.
Presentation (5): Given the back story behind the creation of 1554, the label's artwork is both appropriate and appealing. And, how infrequently does the image of a glass of beer actually appear on a bottle? 4
Originality (5): 1554's origin is probably the most unique thing about it. As a Belgian dark ale, it can be found with dozens and dozens of other similar entries on the shelves of any halfway decent adult beverage emporium. 1
Body (10): Pours dark brown (not unlike a liquefied Akon) with a wispy, nearly invisible head and not a lick of lacing. A lot less…oh, I don't know…"substantial" than I thought it would be. Average, but underwhelming. 4
Taste (10): It finishes nice and dry, but the flavors here seem muddled and muted. The chocolates and malts are practically an afterthought with a watery mouthfeel and not much else. My wife – who has often recoiled in horror from sampling some of the "beer snob" beers I've bought recently – actually had several sips and seemed to like it. Is that a bad sign? I'll let you decide. 4
Efficiency (10): Very. 1554 goes down by the gulp without any of that pesky "flavor" or "complexity" getting in the way. It'll get you to where you want to go, but let's just say it ain't the scenic route. 8
Versatility (10): As someone who isn't all righteously indignant towards light beers, I say this as high praise – 1554 can be enjoyed in pretty much the same way as one would with any Coors Light-endorsed activity. Unexceptional? Sure. But, unpretentious and uncomplicated are worth something, too. 8
Grade: 29 (out of 50) – OK beer
The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.