As Tampa Bay Beer Week nears its conclusion, this week’s edition of Tasting Notes finds us taking a liquid journey back home to Alabama via the Mulberry Road Dubbel, a collaboration beer brewed by the many breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild.
Not too long ago, we informed you all of the release of Mulberry Road as the third installment in the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series (click here to read more). Brewed and released annually as a collaboration between brewery members of the Alabama Brewers Guild, the beers of the Capital Series are crafted to trace the history of Alabama’s five historic capitals with the final beer to arrive in 2019 when the state celebrates its 200th birthday.
For the 2017 Capital Series release, the Alabama Brewers Guild honors Cahawba, the first permanent capital of the State of Alabama from 1820-1826. Drawing inspiration from “the stately mulberry trees lining the streets of the scenic town of Old Cahawba,” the brewers of the Alabama Brewers Guild created Mulberry Road to be Belgian-style Dubbel that features “the natural sweetness of the mulberry.” This limited release offering is available now in 12 oz. cans and on draft throughout the great state of Alabama. Now that we are caught up on the background information, let’s pop this can, get to sippin’ and take some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Mulberry Road Belgian-style Dubbel from the breweries of the Alabama Brewers Guild
Appearance: Mulberry Road pours a mahogany brown that holds deep red hues that span from dark cherry to garnet. When presented with direct light, the browns brighten and the beer displays tinges of red-orange. The body is clear and shows off a lazy carbonation presence. A somewhat aggressive pour produced only half a finger of light tan foam that dissipated almost as quickly as it formed.
Aroma: This beer’s aroma leaves no doubt that this is indeed a Dubbel. The malts arrive first with a rush of sweet caramel. The Belgian yeast then takes over with banana and just a touch of clove. Behind this lies a dark fruit character that is bold and sweet. I am no expert when it comes to this fruit, but I can only imagine this to be the mulberries introducing themselves.
Taste: Those signature Dubbel qualities show up first once again as they wash over the palate with a wonderfully restrained level of Belgian sweetness. Caramel, a dash of cocoa, dark fruit and clove lay down a foundation of flavors sourced from the malts and Belgian yeast. Behind that lies just a bit of earthy and floral hop tones that blend in subtly with those malt and yeast flavors. Wandering in at their own pace, the mulberry notes sit high upon this Dubbel base to lend a distinct berry presence that has qualities of sweet and tart blackberries, rich prune and soft plum.
Mouthfeel: This beer is spot-on medium in body with a medium carbonation level. Sweet on the palate, this Dubbel has some stick to it but eventually fades away. The ABV builds a soothing warmth in the throat, but does not hinder the beer’s drinkability. To allow the drinker the chance to further ponder its flavors, an aftertaste of Belgian yeast qualities and sweet, dark fruits lingers softly behind.
Final Thoughts: The first thing that must be said about Mulberry Road is that its brewers absolutely nailed the Dubbel style with this recipe. The essential and easily-recognizable characteristics of the Belgian yeast and malts are wonderfully on point, and the hops only present the needed level of balance that translates as a soft, floral touch. Second and most importantly, the decision to use this stunning Dubbel base to act as the vehicle for the featured mulberries was ingenious. The mulberry’s dark, sweet and lightly tart character is more than at home with the dark fruit and yeast esters (banana and clove) already present in the style’s profile. This union allows the mulberry to be featured, experienced and enjoyed within a beer that is strong and capable enough to not allow those bold flavors and aromas to overpower and run wild. All is in order . . . calm, sophisticated, interesting, and engaging. The beer has a soothing voice that softly speaks its intended purpose: to tell a story of Alabama history through the artistic medium of craft beer. Beautifully done and we simply cannot wait for the next story headed our way from the Alabama Brewers Guild Capital Series. Prost!