This 2011 American Craft Beer Week has been marked with many events around the DC area – some of which will carry on in the craft beer spirit all though SAVOR next month. While I appreciate the concept, I generally prefer to keep Craft Beer Week in my heart year round and avoided most of the official events. That did not mean, however, that I avoided drinking some truly lovely beer.
Baltimore-based but globally-travelling, Stillwater Ales has been making some of my favorite new beers recently. Jaded, brewed at De Struise Brouwers is the third edition in Stillwater’s “Import Series” and is, in a word, lovely.
Perfect for springtime, the Belgian Strong Dark Ale is brewed with malted wheat, rose petals, violets, and jasmine. The aroma is blossomy and floral – but elegant. We call things “chick beer” as a criticism: Cloying, unbalanced, unsophisticated, generally low in ABV. This is a beer with a distinctly feminine quality while being nobody’s “chick beer.” In years of being a woman while drinking, it may be the first thing about which I have been able to say that.
Offered on tap at ChurchKey, a snifter of the beer is a warm color with a delicate bit of foam. There is earthy sweetness to the flavor and, at 10%, the alcohol has body, but is by no means overwhelming. There is a saison-like quality, which plays well with the botanicals and works perfectly for this in-between season. At $12, Jaded is on the pricey side for a glass, but the sophistication and creativity that went into that glass makes it well worth the money.
I would drink the hell out of that. Haven’t tried Jaded yet, but I love some Stillwater (though I wasn’t a huge fan of Cellar Door beyond the name).