Ola Dubh is a beer that's been on my bucket list for a while. Starting at about $4 for a 12 ounce bottle, the barrier to entry was something I never felt I needed to overcome right away. At least, that's how I felt up until last weekend when I had Founders Black Biscuit at a rare beer tapping. I really, really, really enjoyed the Black Biscuit, so much so that I drank four glasses of it before the keg blew. I've had a few beers like it, but there was something about that beer that made it exceptional. I forgot what that something special was after my second glass though... What I do remember is that someone suggested the Ola Dubh Special Reserve to me as a similar beer. On the way home that night I picked up this bottle of Ola Dubh 16.
This Schlafly beer is a limited edition holiday release that is that coincides with the opening of a new downtown grocery store in St. Louis called Culinaria. As the story goes, this beer was originally brewed by one of Schlafly's employees to be served at his wedding. The beer was such a big hit with one of the higher ups at Schnuck's that a second run of this beer was commissioned to commemorate the opening of Culinaria. There were only a limited number of these Culinaria Holiday Ales bottled so I leapt at the chance to pick up a bottle when I was in Saint Louis recently. I'm a big fan of Schlafly's Christmas Ale so I'm excited to get to try a rarer bottle of their limited edition Holiday Ale.
Breckenridge's Autumn Ale isn't a Märzen or and Altbier... it's not the kind of beer you'd expect by looking at the label. With pictures of leaves and earth tone hues you'd be forgiven for thinking this was an Oktoberfest style lager. Instead of bottling a hoppy or bitter Oktoberfest beer Breckenridge has brewed up the darkest fall seasonal I've seen yet. This beer can best be described as somewhere between a Märzen and a Stout. It's a bit odd, even more so because Breckenridge calls this an Old Ale. It's really all semantics, you can call your beer whatever you want so long as there is a passing semblance of logic to it. What's really more important is how your beer tastes, and in that regard Breckenridge has succeeded in making a good beer.