According to the label, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale comes from a recipe found in an ancient crumbling Belgian library book. Although they refer to this black ale having a surprisingly bright taste and a dry, chocolaty finish, I am just not sure that my taste buds are in sync with their interpretation. The first taste was, mmmmm strange. It wasn’t bitter though, but I did note a somewhat dry finish. I am still attempting to determine if it is chocolate that I taste. I am a chocoholic so I would normally be able to taste chocolate right away, but they are saying this is reminiscent of dark ales served in Belgian taverns some 500 years ago. Now, I am a silver haired lady, but I am no where near my 499th birthday, so there is no way for to compare this black ale with any other brew I have tried.
Do I like it? Hmmmmm. I think it must be an acquired taste, like Scotch. Perhaps black ale is a great celebratory beverage and it was famous at wedding feasts, or maybe it was the favorite go to beverage for hunting groups. And, it may have even had a different taste being served in those pewter mugs, plus I have to believe it was served warm. My first 1554 was chilled. That could make a huge difference in what it is meant to taste like, although I cannot see myself drinking this black ale at room temperature. As I write this, I continue to test taste my first 1554. It actually taste better than when I first began the bottle. It is interesting how the end of each sip does have a dry nuance. I still can’t taste the chocolate though.
Okay, no one said becoming a beer connoisseur was going to be easy. It’s actually a little tricky, especially when you are attempting to critique something with one example only. I may end up having to purchase another 1554 because frankly folks I don’t know how to rate this black ale. By the way, it is not brewed in Belgium. Nope, it is brewed and bottled by the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. Now that I’ve visited their website, http://www.newbelgium.com/rangerland I may change my mind altogether. Something to do with grown up boy scouts! They call them Rangers! Anyhow, these outdoorsy types wear badges stating, “To Protect! To Pour! To Partake!” And, if that doesn’t impress you, then their “rousing” Lips of Faith program should. I couldn’t do it justice, so please visit their website for all the details.
If nothing else, my journey toward my quest of beer connoisseur is filled with lots of interesting things, places, people and last but not least, brews!
“A fine beer may be judged with just one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” – Old Czech Proverb
And the Czech tavern keeper might say upon my departure, “Může se znovu setkáme zítra”