Terrapin + Schmaltz Reunion ’11

Tonight I popped open my bottle of Terrapin and Schmaltz’ Reunion Ale ’11, which I bought a few months ago. I was waiting for some chocolate-related excuse to try it. It’s currently sitting at B+ on Beer Advocate.

This is a strange one – complexity in how simple it is. It pours like a brown with the head of a stout. Smells like a bock and tastes like a chocolate ale. Until the chili peppers come into play. Unique, to say the least. I had it with some chocolate cookies.

Most of my initial response to the beer was very similar to that of Sam Adam’s Chocolate Bock. It’s got a chocolate malt smell and the taste isn’t too far off. Although in this instance, you can sense the higher ABV (7.6%) and hops that are definitely more prevalent. It’s not hoppy at all, but this is the difference I imagine we get between a mass produced beer like Sam Adams and something, well, less mass produced. The taste is very smooth and very light on anything chocolate, but it’s the pepper that really took me by surprise. I didn’t get a taste at first, but after half a glass I could feel it on my tongue. It doesn’t come through while you drink it, but after you’ve swallowed the beer the feeling of pepper is left over. Very subtle. I’ve had a handful of pepper beers before, but this is the first where the pepper doesn’t come through on the taste. I like it, but I also wish I could have a version of this where the chocolate smell/flavor is balanced by the pepper.

It went well with the cookies, although the sugar from the cookies did seem to take away from the beer a bit. This might go better with something much more chocolate-based. I imagine it might help bring out some of the pepper more.

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