Fisher Abs of Steel 7th Anniversary Ale and Bewilder Malt Lab Lager | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly

Fisher Abs of Steel 7th Anniversary Ale and Bewilder Malt Lab Lager 

Two malty dreamboat beers to kick off March

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  • Mike Riedel

Fisher - Abs of Steel (7th Anniversary Ale): To help celebrate Fisher's 7th year of making beer, the Fisher brew team came up with this special Belgian-style abbey ale to offer-up something a little different for their customers.

This beer is dark with light brown highlights throughout, but I find it's a slightly lighter-colored beer, with some reddish hues as well. There is definitely some sweetness to the aroma, but it's different. Orange comes through, and the dried fruit aromas evoke white raisin in character with fresh apricot, as opposed to dark raisins and dried apricots. Nothing screams "licorice," but the aroma seems spicier to me, with some cinnamon. It's also very earthy, including some black tea.

The flavor is less complex. My initial impression is that I tend to enjoy Belgian-made beers more than American interpretations of Belgian-style ales. The malt sweetness and complexity to the beer does come close to more famous examples of the style, like Westmalle. The finish is also semi/dry, but I'm getting a bit of bitterness here, making for a multidimensional drinking experience. Some woody notes add a little vanilla, but there was no oak used in this 7.3 percent ale.

Verdict: This is a very good beer, but while none of the orange, licorice or spice notes jump out at you, this is a good thing. These additions manifest themselves subtly, never detracting from the beer and creating a unique flavor profile. For me, the malt profile of this beer—and the beer overall—is just as complex as other Belgian examples. You'd probably have a tough time choosing either way.

Bewilder - Malt Lab Lager (Doppelbock): This new series of beers from Bewilder focuses on malt-driven beers and the unique grains that go into them. This brew is a Doppelbock that features a new malt from Bestmalz, called Black Malt. The bock was also aged on oak chips soaked in Madeira Port Wine.

It pours with the expected opacity, carrying a quick-to-reduce half inch of beige foam. It's a deep brown beer with a maroon cast, and has a thick, menacing look to it—but in a good way. Date, fig, raisin, plum, molasses and wine-laden breadiness dominate, plus some warm, deep alcohol and an elusive, blended tart yeastiness that is there if you search it; it really adds an alluring complexity to this aroma. Hard to stop sniffing this beer, as its full-strength bouquet is intoxicating and alluring. Sweet.

The taste is much more wine-forward than anticipated; in fact, it dominates the sip. But this beer is so big it has room for all flavors, while hiding none. During the course of warming, all of the flavors in the aroma combine and shine, and it is a wonderful thing to have this morphing mix of strong flavors. The wine notes go far, making it pleasingly sweet and no more than that. The 10.0 percent alcohol spice adds immeasurably to the wine notes, and goes a long way to drying the end of the sip, which otherwise might be overly sweet. There's a fullish, semi-oily mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. I'm not particularly familiar with Madeira, but I assume it provides the wine-like character that really takes over the finish along with some toffee, oak and fruit skins.

Verdict: This Madeira barrel-aged Malt Lab is another solid entry to Bewilder's lineup. I continue to enjoy the exploration of different barrels that Bewilder has taken me on. As with all of their special batch ales, this is well worth a try if you get the opportunity.

These malty dreamboats are available now, and are perfect for enjoying right away or laying a few away in your cellar for the holidays or a special occasion. As always, cheers!

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About The Author

Mike Riedel

Mike Riedel

Local boy and pilot of City Weekly’s best gig, The Beer Nerd column since 2017. Current photojournalist at KSTU TV (Fox 13) and host of the Utah Beer Blog and Beer Nerd Radio on KUAA 99.9 FM radio.

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