8.5% ABV on draught
I’m always excited when the Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver releases yet another of his wonderful, and unfortunately limited and tap-only, Brewmaster Reserve beers and I always hightail it to whatever bar has them available. Such was the case last weekend when I was “forced” to make my first visit to a now new favorite bar of the Vice Blog, Rattle ‘n’ Hum, to try this most unique brew on tap.
I had thought it was going to be a saison, Brooklyn Brewery calls it a spiced wheat ale, and Rate Beer and Beer Advocate a Belgian Strong Ale. Whatever the case, the inspiration for this beer is quite interesting, take it away stuff I didn’t write:
Our brewmaster is fond of pointing out that his closest peers, after other brewers, are chefs rather than winemakers. Brewers, like chefs, start with an idea and then build that idea into a reality through the use of ingredients and technique. A few years ago, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver, an avid home cook, attended a class on spicing conducted by Floyd Cardoz, the Executive Chef of the justly famed Indian-inflected New York City restaurant Tabla. And a few new beer ideas started to form…
Raised in Bombay and Goa, Chef Cardoz trained in India and Switzerland before moving to New York City. After a five-year stint at the venerable restaurant Lespinasse, he opened Tabla with restauranteur Danny Meyer in 1998. Since then he’s earned a boatload of accolades (including three stars from The New York Times), not only for his Indian cooking but also for his ability to infuse Western cuisine with Indian spices and soul. In 2006, Chef Cardoz published his first cookbook, One Spice, Two Spice.
Now chef and brewmaster have combined their inspirations to bring you Brooklyn Cuvée de Cardoz. This golden wheat beer starts with a base of malted barley and unmalted wheat and then builds upon it a delicate balance of exotic spices selected by Chef Cardoz and then toasted and ground in the kitchens at Tabla. Ginger, tamarind, mace, black pepper, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and chilies are added in the kettle, and then the beer is infused with toasted coconut after the fermentation. Combined with our yeast and light hopping, these spices give the beer a gentle, complex perfume, a full fruity palate, and long, drying finish with a very faint prickle of heat.
Nicely written. Now back to some words from the hack…
I love Mr. Oliver’s obsession with making beer a part of the entire culinary experience (watch this great video!) and while I drank this without a pairing of Indian food, I could tell it would be a swell match. Hell, it was swell just by itself. Spicy, yeasty, and a favorite description of mine: dangerously drinkable. I don’t even know what exactly most of the above spices in the beer even are, but the corriander, cloves, and especially chilies shine through nicely. I’m not going to advise you to sprint out to get this one, it’s certainly not as great as Garrett’s previous effort, the Intensified Coffee Stout, but this is still another stellar, inventive effort from one of my beer idols. A great, refreshing, yet still potent beer for summer.
Note: I’d also like to say how cool it is that Garrett Oliver makes a special beer for several Danny Meyer restaurants. The Cuvee de Cardoz for Tabla, the Blue Smoke Blend for the BBQ joint of the same name, and the Shackmeister for the vaunted Shake Shack to name a few.