Outside the Columbus city limits, one can find several tasty craft breweries working their magic and making the world a better place through the power of brewvoodoo. Down in Lancaster, Rockmill Brewery adds a few of their own delectable potions of imbibement to the Central Ohio beer scene – small-batch style. Today, I’m featuring their take on one of my favorite beer styles; the Belgian Dubbel – known for big malts, fruity spicing, and monks smacking heavy books against their foreheads while chanting Pie Jesu domine Dona eis requiem (ok, maybe not that last one). Monty Python jokes aside, whenever a beer comes to me with a cork and cage on top – as does this one – I know it’s time to get my beer face on. Side note, everyone should have a beer face. Practice yours in the mirror later tonight.
Popping that majestic cork greets you with a laundry list of aromas. Fresh apples, raisins and lemon juice show up first, arriving as a fruity tang that caresses your nose from the get-go. It’s super fresh and bright, like a spring shower for your olfactory system. But this party is just getting started. Immediately following the fruits is a rich layer of bready malts, sweetened up with notes of honey here and there. The fruity tang subsides a bit, allowing this bread monster to stretch its arms out and envelop your nose like a big bear, who happens to be made out of dinner rolls and just wants to be friends with you. Surprisingly, the bread notes subdue fairly quickly, swirling about with the fruits to form a strong but contained aroma cloud of Belgian goodness. It’s alchemy at your fingertips. You know – lead into gold. Except this is Bread Bears and fruits into something straight out of a Belgian Abbey. It’s a magical thing.
Even more magical is the taste. The first flavor to reach your tongue is a big, full-bodied wave of bread malts. It chills out for a moment, making small talk, before shattering into about 17 different flavors. The malts still reign supreme – pulling some yeasty richness along for the ride and covering every inch of your mouth with full-bodied bread. At the same time, layers of spicy apples, faint citrus, and raisins slowly settle in over the malty backbone. And, at the back of the tongue, there’s a gentle cereal vibe, bringing about a dual malt character that only adds to the overall profile. Now, if you’re thinking this sounds too busy, fear not. Though it is complex, think of it like a diverse selection of flavors, where each one spends a fun-filled afternoon with you and your palate – rather than a beer moshpit, where some angry dude tries to punch you in the side of the head. This beer has manners.
In addition to all of these flavor notes camping out in your mouth, there’s a subtle alcoholic strength lurking under each and every taste. At 8% ABV, this technically isn’t the strongest beer out there, but Rockmill’s Dubbel never received that memo. After just a few drinks, you’ll start to feel that pleasant mouth tingle making its way over your tongue. But don’t worry – there’s no bracing alcoholic tang here, my friends. It’s masked so much, you won’t even realize how potent it is until you stand up and exclaim “it’s party time!” to no one in particular. That’s really what this beer is all about – contained power. Sure, it could bombard you with malts, and spicy fruits, and honey, and an alcoholic kick to the chest– but that’s not how this beer rolls. It’s as cool as a cucumber – allowing each flavor to shake their money makers in an equal, orderly fashion while creating a deep, mouth-filling tastiness on par with some of the best Dubbels out there. If this beer had a hand, I’d shake it.
If you’re into big, complex concoctions of malty magnitudes, and love a bit of tongue-dominating strength from your beers, pick up a bottle or four of Rockmill’s Dubbel. It’ll be a great choice this winter, as you’ll be sure to stay warm after just a few drinks. You can find it at a variety of places around town, ranging from larger stores like Giant Eagle, to corner markets like Savor Growl in Clintonville. And hey, after you try it and discover that it’s like drinking liquid guitar solos and unexpected three day weekends – all wrapped up in a delicious malty blanket – head on down to Rockmill Brewery, and thank them in person.
Bonus: head on down this Saturday, November 16, and you can attend their Saison Supér Release party.