An unabashed homer for NYC, Magnus loved to point to Brooklyn Brewery as one of the top ale factories in the nation. And who were we to argue? Brooklyn’s been around since ’94 and produces great offering like the Black OPS (Russian Imperial Stout), Black Chocolate Stout, Sorachi Ace (Saison), and Monster (Barleywine). We discussed Brooklyn at length during our Beers of New York podcast and Brother Barley returned Aleheads.com to Tasting Notes after Magnus’ passing with a heartfelt review of one of his favorites, the Local 2. It is an example of an accessible Belgian Strong Dark Ale, and Magnus was just starting to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of Belgian styles, so the L2 and it’s Belgian Strong Golden sibling the Local 1 were perfect jumping off points into what should have been a longer lifelong love of Belgian Strong Ales. Again, it should be Magnus writing this one- but if wishes and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas. So I cracked a bomber of this to ward off the holiday hangover and enjoyed one of his favorite beers.
There is very little local about the Local 1- Brooklyn spanned the globe and spared no expense for this ambitious prestige selection. Like the city itself, it’s a melting pot of ingredients and influences. Belgian Strong Golden Ales were developed by Moortgat with it’s flagship Duvel in a response to the rising popularity of pale and light-bodied Pilsner lagers throughout Europe. Brooklyn uses German malt and Hops, Mauritian sugar, Belgian yeast, and like Duvel the Local 1 is bottle fermented in awesome looking custom bottles adorned with FDNY inspired iconography.
NOTES: Inlaws’ Grill, Tap, and Flophouse
STYLE: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
APPEARANCE: Light yellow with a very slight hazy cast; truth be told from a distance, it resembles your everyday American Lager.
HEAD: Well carbonated, the cork comes out with a satisfying pop that scares the cat. Puffy off-white foam pours to four fingers, dissipating slowly.
LACING: Really nice fluffy lacing that clings to the original line of demarcation in gobs.
NOSE: Some mild fruity esters like pears and apples, Belgian yeast I can find no other way to describe but funky (for the love of God please leave a suggestion in the comments. If I can’t come up with another descriptor I might bash myself with said Bomber). Also fresh bread and perhaps a little peppery spice. If I have a criticism for this beer, it’s that the nose is rather weak.
TASTE: Delicious; in many ways resembles a Trippel with sweet apple and banana. Malt profile very subdued. Satisfying wafts of alcohol on the finish. There’s some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and a little floral hops. I like the dry finish which brings to mind a refreshing saison or farmhouse ale.
DRINKABILITY: Frankly, it’s off the charts for 9% ABV Belgian Strong. Very smooth, mild, and well balanced. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t want your high ABV prestige offering to be this drinkable. It lacks the challenge, complexity, and yeasty quirkiness of competitors… still, a nice offering from Brooklyn. Pick one up and toast the fallen hero of your choice today. You won’t be disappointed.
RATING: 3.5 Hops