Liquid Excursion, Brasserie des Rocs, Part 3
It’s become tradition for the beers of Liquid Excursion to be paired with music. Any good excursion has a soundtrack right? Since my ultimate goal is to relax when I tipple on immensely bold depressants such as those forged by the goofily skilled brewers of Brasserie des Rocs, it’s only natural that I would strive for an auditory pairing that brings equal parts soothing massage of the inner ear and transcendence of the soul.
Tonight, the vinyl disc that spins beneath the needle is imprinted with And Their Refinement Of The Decline by Stars Of The Lid. Stars Of The Lid are without a doubt a powerhouse in the world or drone, ambient and neoclassical. The music of And Their Refinement Of The Decline can often feel austere or placid. To allow it’s sound waves to pass over and through you is akin to floating adrift a “dopamine cloud”. Here, when acting as the setting to a tale with such an outlandish protagonist of a beverage, it acts as counterpoint, and grounds me before the flavors have a chance to overwhelm my synapses. As any true soundtrack should, this album simply accentuates, but never urges my thoughts in any particular direction. That is, solely, a task for Grand Cru this night.
Much like the two BdR beers that I previously reviewed, this beer pours a dark reddish-brown that is outrageously full of floating globs of God knows what. I’d lean toward yeast, but if that is truly the case, may the man in charge of priming these bottles be quickly and quietly relieved of his duties. It’s far more solidified whatnot than I’ve ever seen in a beer. I’m actually beginning to think that I may have something to do with the pollution of this fine fluid. The moment that I tipped the bottle to empty a portion into my glass there was a slight hesitation and a glunk noise, as if something was obstructing the flow and then freed. I initially thought that I must have accidentally, partially froze the beer, that the chunks were bits of icy slush. But then I let it warm most considerably and the goop stayed goop. What the poop?
I can pretty easily get past the floating oddities though. The music is relieving my stress and the flavor is just far too opulent to allow for any spoilage of this experience.
The first word that comes to my mind when I smell Grand Cru is “caramelized”. Like most extremely complex, dark Belgians, I believe that this beer was boiled for much longer than most American ales often are. The sugars are cooked and browned, and that bit of aroma coupled with the intense fruitiness of the yeast makes for visions of sugarplums…er…more like visions of fruit cordials and rum soaked cake. In the nose, well…in more than the nose, this beer is like an after dinner snifter of brandy and a bit of freshly baked desert.
I know that all three of these BdR beers share a lot of attributes. The most distinguishing characteristic of Grand Cru is its undeniable fruitiness and spiciness. The residual sweetness that this beer possesses makes the fruity esters come across as being much like fruit leather. There’s notes of cherry, grape/raisin, plum/date, and caramel apple. Cinnamon seems to powder it at all the hue of the fluid itself. I’m thinking about eating a cold slice of apple crisp the day after Thanksgiving. Possible a big old bowl of bread pudding with a shot of Cognac on top. This is surely the liquid bread of ancient lore.
Despite our unsightly friends that drifted in on the tides, the mouthfeel is divine. It’s smooth yet not overly cloying. Yes, the sugars coat the mouth, but it’s never obtrusive. It all seamlessly leads into the aftertaste, which is the absolute best quality of this beer in my opinion. I tip back the glass over and over again because it’s a circus in there, but I’d be content for days with what remains post-ingestion. If I could surgically implant that flavor into the recesses of my trachea I would hastily do so.
The booze is intense with this one. All 9.5% of Grand Cru are revealed from beneath the chilled cloak of the refrigerant. Esters and ethanol mingle and burn the nostrils with each exhale. Brasseries des Rocs may have cunningly removed the “Abbey” from their name, but I still can’t help but envision brown robed men of the cloth finding sustenance in the holy liquid before me. What strange incantations may befit such a meal? I’ve got to say, I’m not a man of God, but after a night in the company of Stars Of The Lid And BdR’s Grand Cru, I’m singing psalms that speak of malted barley, hops, yeast and water.