The November edition of Ale Stars pulled a small yet highly enthusiastic crowd wanting to taste for the first time in Sydney, the powerful force of The Dark Horse brewery from Marshall, Michigan.
The overseas delivery arrived on time (just) and we were not disappointed by the contents of the shipment. Doc provided the quirky and fun natured back-story to the beers and the night got under way! First up was the Sapient Trip Ale; a beer that despite its high ABV (all of the beers ranged from 9-14%!!) was surprisingly quite session-able. It was smooth with quite a fruity aroma but didn't stray too much away from the Abbey Tripel style. Think candied sugar, bubblegum, banana, and orange peel, with a refreshing dry finish. The Scotty Karate Scotch Ale came in a 'light' second, and although some disagreed with its Scotch Ale status, it didn't disappoint with a smokey malt-driven taste and hints towards salted caramel candy. The name behind this beer is worth the research!
The Double Crooked Tree IPA was the third one in, and the room started to become a little chattier with the effects of the first two combined with Leroy keeping the crowd on their toes with a Star Wars discussion; as well as some exciting Taphouse news that only the lucky Ale Stars were privy to. The Crooked Tree was an elusive beast (13.6% ABV), while being quite tame in its delivery, and having an easy drinking nature of a pale ale, it opened up a canvas of flavour as our glasses warmed up.
Last but certainly not least and with the room clearly aching for the last beer and with chants of "May the fourth beer be with us!"(please note: this did not really happen-refer to previous Star Wars discussion) we finished up with the Plead the 5th Imperial Stout and it was certainly one that all attendees were waiting on, with full-bodied roasted malt characteristics balanced with sweetness of molasses, and plum red wine notes, finishing with a espresso coffee bitterness. The running trend across all the Dark Horse beers we tasted was that the high ABVs were very well disguised with balanced, well-blended tastes, as well as the intriguing depths that high gravity beers tend to have.
One thing that we all learnt from that special night was that everyone is certainly looking forward to more Dark Horse.