So, if you, like me, are lucky enough to live in Kansas or Oklahoma *and* near an Old Chicago, you too can have a super-special Tallgrass beer. As in “brewed only for the places I mentioned for the sake of American Craft Beer Week which you should be celebrating whether or not you can have this particular Belgian-style Tripel.”
Drink up, folks: it’s a patriotic duty to do so this week.
Name: Velvet Rooster*
Origin: Tallgrass Brewery, Manhattan, KS
Style: Belgian Tripel
IBU: nope. Not really. Like, there are totally hops here, but I don’t have a number and it isn’t a hugely hoppy beer. I’d put it at the “around 20 or so” mark.
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Overland Park, KS, during their Craft Beer Mini Tour Kickoff Party
I didn’t take a picture because I was too busy enjoying the beer and talking to cousins and eating pizza. Anyway, it *looks* like a Belgian Tripel (by which I mean it’s a soft, hazy straw color). However, this beer is the funkiest Tripel I’ve ever had: there’s a distinct funk in the scent and a distinct funk in the flavor. It’s like a cross between a Tripel and a Saison: the honey-and-flowers flavor of the Tripel next to the horsebarn flavor of the Saison. So, it’s a Spring/Summer Tripel.
Scent-wise, the funk is combined with banana and a touch of something that I decided smelled like brown sugar, even if I’m not overly convinced that brown sugar has much of a smell. Flavor-wise, there’s a sharp hop bite right at the beginning, followed by pale malts, honey, banana, and a combination of white and yellow floral notes. And funk. It’s got a gorgeously smooth body and only a touch of alcohol flavor. It was one of those beers that was easy to drink and deceptively high in alcohol – I happily sipped my way through it, stood up and thought “Oh. Right. Tripel. Oops.” And then sat back down.
Overall, this was intriguing in part because the beer was good and in part because I think the universe is conspiring to turn me into a drinker of Farmhouse Ales. (Why is there funk in everything I drink lately? It’s not like I’m trying to find this flavor!) Anyway, good stuff. If you’re nearby and able to get ahold of one, definitely do it: this isn’t one of those beers that everyone’s going to get to try, so grab it while you can.
*It took me until the end of the review to figure out that Velvet Rooster is a good name for the beer because a) it is smooth enough to qualify as velvety in mouthfeel and b) rooster = fair warning of farmhouse barnyard yeastfunk. I feel like had I been thinking about it, I would have felt forewarned about the funk level.
When I saw the name of the beer at the bar, the first thing that came to mind was a painting of a velvet rooster – like a Velvet Elvis, only a rooster instead of Elvis.**
**I kind of feel like all Velvet Elvises should be of fat, drug-addled Elvis rather than thin, oddly-hot Elvis.