The Brooklyn Brewery, once again, flung open their tasting room doors this past week for the release of their latest in the Brewmasters series; Cuvée Noire. While the brew holds true to no particular style it seems to take sides with belgian stouts and english browns alike, showcasing the breath of intriguing beverages that can come of Brooklyn’s tiny, Williamsburg brewhouse.
“They said the Belgian yeast was too spicy. Too…unpredictable. But he didn’t care. Didn’t care that black ales with German, British and American malts didn’t normally go out with Belgians. The Brewmaster threw caution to the wind and went ahead and joined them anyway. The result is Brooklyn Cuvée Noire.”
On first encounter, the Cuvée Noire is a complex, unique beer with lots of layers… something not uncommon with the Brewmaster’s Series. Yet there was also something familiar about this release that I just could not pinoint. The malt was similar to that of Brooklyn Brown, a rather unique brown ale in its own right, but it was not the same. And it shared similar traits to the Black Chocolate Stout but it was not nearly as full bodied and, well, chocolaty. Then it hit me, sitting there all by its lonesome (or, perhaps, with a couple dozen of its brethren) in the refrigerator behind the bar… Local 2.
Upfront, the Cuvée Noire hits with a major blast of belgian yeast. This is the same yeast as Local Two (and Local One) so you know there are going to be huge banana and clove notes with more mild lingering hints of spice. But there are also big malty flavors here, and dark ones at that. Most significant is the roasted flavor which is played up by the dry finish but there are also underlying touches of fresh scones and toffee candies. As mentioned, the finish is extremely dry – a current trend from the Brooklyn Brewery – which makes the Cuvée easily drinkable and very coy with it’s 8.7% ABV.
Are these the same beer? No, not at all. But Local 2 has always sort of been a dark horse in the Brooklyn portfolio for me. I never really understood where it fit. And while Local One has long been a pairing beer I felt comfortable sharing with refined palates and newbies alike, Local 2 is a bit more of an acquired taste (Beer 201 vs. Beer 101 if you will). But the Cuvée Noire helps put a lot of this in perspective and will hopefully help me win over a few Local 2 converts.
Beer mysteries aside, the night was filled with a great cast of characters from the local New York craft beer community its emerging localvore counterpart. The Meat Hook, Tom Cat Bakery, Coach Farms and McClure’s Pickles all provided some great snacking (if you are yet to try Coach Farms’ fresh goat cheese then you need to hunt some down right now) to compliment the dozen or so taps and bottles available throughout the night. Overall, it was another great event showcasing one of the East Coasts best breweries.
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