Misery - DuClaw Brewing Company, Abingdon
I know next to nothing about DuClaw Brewing Company. I saw a few DuClaw bottles at a liquor store in Maryland a couple weeks ago and figured I'd give them a try. I opted for the black bottle with a menacing red "MISERY" scratched on the label. This beer is a Wheat Wine, a style not too many breweries produce. The Wheat Wines I have had before have been all over the board. Some Wheat Wines were very similar to Barleywines and others have been more closely compared to sweet white wine. I'm anxious to try this DuClaw Misery out and see where it falls.
This beer pours a golden orange color and develops a medium sized white head. The DuClaw Misery has a clear body with a bronze tint with a lot of little bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. The aroma of this beer is pretty great, definitely something I'd write home about. The DuClaw Misery smells like a good Barleywine with resinous hops and lots of sweet malt. This Wheat Wine brings a bit of apple and orange rind as well, giving it a unique twang.
DuClaw Misery tastes like a Barleywine at first. After my first sip I didn't notice anything too special about this beer. There's a lot of Barleywine character to this beer, the hop flavor is very thick, resinous and a little piney. The malts are quite sweet and concentrated, a nice way to offset the strong hops and alcohol. The whole combination of strong flavors really balances out very nicely. The flavors meld together quite well, I wasn't put off by the strong hops, the alcohol burn or the super sweet malt. It all just ...works, and quite well.
The DuClaw Misery reminds me of a very well balanced Barleywine with green apple and mild cherry flavoring splashed about. Those fruit flavors aren't terribly pronounced... like everything else, they blend together seamlessly with the rest of the flavors in this Wheat Wine. That all being said, these flavors are distinct and uniquely complementary to each other. This is one fantastic beer.