Friday, March 18, 2011

And tonight's winner is....

The contenders
New Holland "Envious" 2010. Great Lakes "Doppelrock" doppelbock. Hanssen's Scarenbecca (Schaerbeeksie) Kriek. Who will be the winner with our roast duck?

I roasted a 5 pound duck recently.  I kept it simple, merely roasting it in the oven with no adornments bar an onion and some fresh herbs in the cavity, and served it with a touch of sauce made from pan drippings, balsamic reduction & butter, and on the side- onion & shallot confit, blackberries simmered briefly in port and fresh sage leaves, and fennel, leeks & mushrooms all sauteed together.

We tried the Hanssen's cherry lambic first. At $23.99 for a 12.7 oz bottle, this beer had high expectations! Which, I'm pleased to say, were met. The beer was appropriately wild, funky and sour. A gorgeous bright red colour with an incredibly rich intense cherry flavour. Zero carbonation (our only slight disappointment- it would have been extra wonderful with some carbonation), and a suprisingly heavy body. It was superb with the rich, gamey (just rare) duck meat.

Second up- Great Lakes Doppelbock. A new beer for them, and sadly, not a classic example of the style. While interesting and tasty in its own right, it was roasty for a doppelbock and lacked that intensely rich Munich malt character as well as the "pruney" notes one finds in doppelbocks such as Ayinger Celebrator. This beer might be good with a chocolate dessert, but it wasn't great with our duck.

Third- New Holland's Envious, 2010. This fruit beer, part of New Holland's Cellar Series aged on oak, had changed substantially since its release a year ago. It had taken on some really interesting chocolate notes, and the fruit was still there, but in a layer underneath the chocolate notes. It reminded me of Kuhnhenn's famed Rasberry Eisbock, though not quite as intense. The beer was remarkable, and was also wonderful with our duck.

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