Another Session, and another last minute post from yours truly. This month, we’re doing dubbels. Which means that I should probably start by confessing that I’m a bit of a spaz when it comes to Belgian ales.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy them. Like most beer geeks, some of my favourite beers come from Belgium, or are brewed in the Belgian style. It’s just that I have a hard time keeping track of what characteristics differentiate the various Belgian sub-styles from each other. So when Alan announced his pick for the second edition of The Session was dubbels, I was at a bit of a loss, and had to check RateBeer to see which beers were actually in that style.
Another factor was figuring out which dubbels are actually available in Ontario, since we’re at the mercy of a government owned liquor monopoly here. As I mentioned in my last post, the only dubbels we can get here on a regular basis are Leffe Brune and Chimay Premiere (Rouge). Both of them are decent enough beers, but I was hoping for something a bit more unique for this Session.
But then I noticed something interesting: According to RateBeer (as well as Beer Advocate), Tickle Brain Ale from the UK brewery Burton Bridge is considered a dubbel. And it just so happened that I had one bottle of Tickle Brain left in my stash from a private order that a few of us got in on last year. A nice stroke of luck.
According to the label, “Tickle Brain” was a Tudor name for strong drink, so it fits this 8% beer well. It has a nice, rich ruby colour with a slight haze from the bottle conditioning. The aroma is big and sweet, lots of malt and caramel and dark fruit, and some sharper spicy notes coming through as it warms. More of the same in the flavour – caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit and berries, and an alcohol warmth that comes on a bit strong, but which is appreciated on this unseasonably cold Good Friday night. It’s not an everyday beer to be sure, but it’s nice to have around for those times that you want something a little stronger to savour. Too bad that this is my last bottle.
Thanks to Alan for picking a style that led to me getting a bit of an education. I’m already looking forward to next month.