The next beer off my epic list is the second beer from Tasmania’s own Two Meter Tall Brewery: the Huon Dark Apple Ale. Now, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the biggest fan of cider, so the fact that this ale has ‘apple’ in the title had me a little concerned. But I was impressed with the Forester real ale, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Beer number 110 of the epic list is the Huon Dark Apple Ale.
The bottle says:
The label has the same sophistication of the other 2MT ales, so I won’t bang on about how impressed I am a second time. There’s a paragraph outlining the way this beer is created, and it’s an interesting story: a dark ale fermented with brewer’s yeast has apple juice (sourced from the Huon valley) added to it, then goes through a second fermentation with champagne yeast, and a third fermentation in the bottle (which is what the Belgians call a ‘triple’…I honestly did not know that, so thanks for the education 2MT!!) It also recommends serving the ale in a large wine glass, so my trusty balloon glass gets another run.
At first glance the body is dark and opaque, but then the light hits it in just the right way and it begins to emit a ruby-red-apple glow. The aroma is a sour combination of apple & champagne, giving it a ‘euro-cider’ character with a dark edge. There’s an initial sour hit in the flavour too; nothing big, just enough to remind you that there’s apples playing around in there. This curls its way around the mouth and disappears, leaving a biscuity dark chocolate malt behind. The malt lingers on the palate, leaving a nutty aftertaste.
The aroma starts to flex some Belgian muscle, adding some sweet and toasty caramel and a candy effervescence. The apple flavour, to my surprise, becomes quite noticeable. It gives the taste an acidity that mixes with some expected roastier flavours, and manges to balance together beautifully. The finish is still malty, but there’s much more chocolate, leaving an aftertaste that just has to be described as sumptuous.
The lasting aftertaste, after everything else has gone, has a hint of candied apples…which feels very appropriate.
This ale is a dichotomy, starting with sour acidity from the apples & champagne yeast and finishing with lashings of malty chocolate, and it’s somehow able to transition between these two stages across the palate seamlessly. This makes it not only tasty, but also quite thought provoking. Give yourself plenty of time to savour this ale, and consider where else in life you can make roasted malt and apple juice mingle so nicely?
I still don’t like apple cider, mainly because I’m jealous of the market share and clientele that it steals from quality craft beer. So I’m hoping a few cider fans will pick up a bottle of this based on it’s name containing the magic word ‘apple’ and be forever converted to the darker side of quality ale.