December 2016 – Beer of the Month – Dainton Manhattan Ale
- Friday, 02 December 2016
What are we drinking this month?
Each month we’ll highlight what we’re liking with a quick rundown about why. There’s nothing really special here, it’s just what we happen to be drinking. It might be old, it might be new, it might be hard to get, it might be easy.
Take a look at previous beers of the month.
Dainton Family Brewery Manhattan Ale
Beer of the Month – December 2016
Well, we come to the last beer of the month for 2016. My has time flown!
It was a tough one this month. For anybody who read our last post, what to drink for Christmas, you’ll know the silly season is already making us a bit busy, so we didn’t have a chance to scour the bottle shops to find something new. So what did we do? We raided our personal beer cellar to find something that we bought at the beginning of the year that we really meant to drink a whole lot sooner.
That beer was Dainton’s Manhattan Ale.
We either bought it at the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016 with great excitement thinking “Great! Even though it will probably benefit from some age, Dainton makes a killer brew and we’re impatient people.” Anyway, anyone who read about our tough brew day at our new flat knows we moved house earlier this year. So an otherwise tasty brew gets put away, and we didn’t get to drink it!
Dainton’s Manhattan Ale comes in at 9.7% ABV, and has some weight to it. So perhaps it wasn’t the best beer to hold onto for a year and then open up on a humid 30 degree evening in Sydney, but hey, we’ve done stupider things! With that, this is a beer aged in Starward Whiskey Barrels, so it’s even it’s bigger than many of 9.7% beers. That, and it’s a Dainton brew, so the balls on this one are relatively large.
This beer is Dainton’s attempt to make a beer that tastes like the classic Manhattan cocktail, and they did a pretty good job! The beer has a distinct alcohol aroma, with hints or orange peel. There’s almost the whiff of the pickled onions sitting at the end of the bar in some New York speakeasy.
The whisky barrels that this beer was aged in also housed a Spanish sherry, really adding to the complexity of this beer. There is, of course, the whiskey that adds some bite. Combine this with the vanilla of the oak and the little bit of sweetness from sherry and you have a beer that goes down a little too fast.
It’s not the beery-iest of beers out there, but when a brewer is going for a style/flavour profile over anything else, there’s not problem there. This is far from the weird-beer category, but it is highly stylised and extremely well thought out. For those who want a beer that “just tastes like a beer,” you may be a little disappointed with this one; on the surface of it, there’s not a whole lot of beer in the flavour. Of course you can go hunting: it’s hard to find any hops hiding behind the other bold flavours, but malty aspects are there. However, for those who want to see beer flavours get pushed to their outer limits, without (technically) really adding any additional ingredients, this it pretty interesting! And maybe that’s why barrel aging is becoming all the rage these days?
Was it worth the year wait?
Yeah, it was.
This brew was the second edition of this beer, and it appears Dainton is committed to brewing this one at least a few more times. Maybe it won’t be part of their regular release, but hopefully we’ll see it again!
Beers like this do well with a bit of age to them, so we’re really glad we gave it some time to relax and come of age.
Track this beer down, either this batch or the next one. And drink it whenever you like. But drink it. It’s quite good!