The VBR crew has had to learn a lot about safely (and legally) transporting and muling beer this year. To be clear, we in no way condone “mislabeling” a few packages as “hot sauce,” “pickles,” or other sorts of liquid-filled glass bottles. For whatever you do send through the mail, whether it be the Postal Service or one of the other carriers, just make sure you use lots of bubble wrap, mmk? Regardless of how it got here (and in what deplorable conditions its fellow mates perished), all props to VBR member Ben for getting a bottle of this incredible beer out to me in Kansas. I had a friend over for the pouring, and one look at the name had him begging me for a taste, then a second, and a third…
Oak Aged Wee Heavy, Mad Fox Brewing Co. (Falls Church, VA)
Wee Heavy, ABV 8.6%
Presentation: Bomber pour into tulip.
Appearance: Oddly reminiscent of an iced coffee. It looks black but takes on a lot of brown in the right light. The head forms late in the pour and sticks around for a minute or two. The lattice eventually settles down as well.
Taste: The first item across the nose is a bit of steamed milk, which surprised me. Next time you hit a coffee shop, walk over while the Barista is heating up milk for a cappuccino or such to get an idea of just how different that is than chilled milk right from the fridge. The bottle also suggested you’d get currants, and with that advice I was indeed able to tease a little raisin off the nose as well. The body presents the oak right up front on the tongue, after which rich toffee and undercurrents of vanilla are some of the more prominent flavors. The latter should get a Best Supporting Flavor nod at the very least for how well it evolves as the beer warms in the glass.
Mouth Feel: Do yourself a favor and while it’s still fresh from the pour get a bit of head with your sip and let everything just sit on your tongue. Each of the flavors finds a different part of your mouth it seems – oak up front, toffee on the sides of the tongue, vanilla by your cheeks, and the remaining malt backbone along the roof. The total lack of any bitterness means you almost won’t notice the ABV, so just remember what the oak should be telling you – sip this one!
Overall: A superb rendition of one of Mad Fox’s best brews. Their original Wee Heavy is a favorite for VBR and friends, and while I’m going to give it a higher score than the almighty Orange Whip that is more due to how well the Oak Aged Wee Heavy plays among its peers and its original edition. If I have one regret about this beer it’s how unlikely it will be to convince the good folks in Falls Church to do a keg run. As it is, Oak Aged Wee Heavy should be on your must-find list if you live around DC right now. And if you don’t, make sure your mules take extra special care of it when they come to visit!