Beer Type: Belgian Strong Dark Ale ABV: 8.9% Tried on draught
Their Description: “Left Hand Brewing Co.’s founder Eric Wallace has spent much of his life traveling and living in Europe. His appreciation for the finely crafted beers of Belgium and Europe inspired him to build Left Hand Brewing Co. in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in 1993.
Twenty-one years later, we are excited to collaborate on a unique blend of their infamous Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout and De Proef’s Zoetzuur. The resulting beer is nearly black with roasted malts contributing complex flavors of licorice and blackstrap molasses balanced by lively herbal hop notes. The heavy foundation of the Wake Up Dead is enlivened by Zoetzuur’s tart cherry flavor and acidity from its mixed yeast fermentation.”
The Reality: This beer starts with a dark brown almost stout-like color and dark fruit scent. The flavor is dominated by sweet layers of dark fruit (like prune and fig), along with the malty molasses noted above. I didn’t pick up any licorice notes, but I don’t think they would have helped. This beer is lacking in bitterness, but does have a background tartness/funk that leaves a “sweet & sour” taste in your mouth. The aftertaste does have a few bitter coffee notes, but leaves behind a syrupy sweetness.
Final Verdict: First off, it must be noted that Wekken Sour does not have the sour profile that most sour beer lovers have come to expect. It’s truly more of a sweet & sour beer, reminiscent of a sweet pickle or French salad dressing. I thought that it could’ve had better balance (with the addition of more bitterness), but overall it just felt like a blend of two beers that shouldn’t have been married in the first place due to clashing flavor profiles. The Malty-Molasses-Licorice-Roasty Herbal Hop-Tart Cherry Acidity Mash-Up just didn’t tickle my palate in a way that made me smile. Much like the marriage of Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley, something just seemed off.
Two things that can be very good by themselves (like Lady Gaga and meat), when put together can be odd, and I feel like this beer fits into that category. Two good companies that each make good beer, making a single beer with a split personality.