We have circumnavigated the Oktoberfest season and are now in a brief window before we go full winter stout. This transition was clearly noted in my last stop to the beer store. A few weeks ago, zee Germans had a pretty strong hold on shelf space with the local marzens peppered into the unfilled spaces. Last weekend however, it was like a complete transformation and a greater variety of beers had popped up. If it wasn’t for limited car space, I would have backed the SUV up and taken the aisle away with me. Instead, I decided to focus on a few ‘outside the box’ beers that looked promising. The next several reviews from me will include these beers, starting with this very interesting beer from JMU country.
Eight Bells, Brothers Craft Brewing (Harrisonburg, VA)
Fruit/Vegetable Beer, ABV%: 5.3
Presentation: Bomber pour into tasting cup.
Appearance: Hazy amber/brown with gold tint, head off white but dissipating quickly.
Aroma: Brown sugar sweet, some dark fruits, little bread notes.
Taste: You are inundated with a maple syrup sweetness in the front. That carries through to the middle where it is mixed with a dark fruit and slight vanilla. Only at the end does the bread notes kick in that completes the ‘french toast’. As it warmed up the sweetness intensifies up front along with the latter bready notes.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body. Sweet and a little sour that finishes sugary and slightly bready at the end. The sweetness masks any ABV sharpness and zero IBU hoppiness noticeable.
Overall: The name and description is spot on. This is a brunch beer through and through. I would recommend that you get this served nice a cold to start and pick out the flavors as it warms up. The overall concept is carried throughout the temperature change, but there are some great notes that poke out later on. Sunday afternoons are made for this beer, though while it is enjoyable and unique, one or two are your limit on this one, as it is super sweet. The ship’s mess approves of this one!