Now for part two of Jim’s and my dueling reviews of Dark Horse Brewing’s “Tres” Blueberry Stout. Before I start though, I feel I have to say something as the resident label aesthete on the CBS crew. I’m disappointed we get no description whatsoever on this bottle. I’d love to know the back story on this one since this is very obviously (now that I’ve tasted it) a beer to which a good deal of attention was paid to get it right. Craft brewers of the world: your label is an opportunity to tell the story of your craft, and give the beer even more personality. There are those of us who look forward to hearing what you have to say about your labor of love, and I miss it when it’s not there. OK, off the soapbox and on to the review!
Now, as I write this, I got a notification that Jim has just posted his half of the review. I’m holding off reading his until I’ve posted mine, so this is truly a blind review uninformed by what he’s written. We were both up at Redstone together last week and he suggested we each grab a couple of these and one other by Dark Horse. I’ll try anything once, but I probably would not have gravitated towards a blueberry beer without Jim suggesting it. My only other experience with blueberry beer was at Boston Beer Works trying a sip of my wife’s blueberry whatever (complete with blueberries floating on top). It was cloyingly sweet and I wasn’t eager to try the style again.
This, however, is another kettle of fish. The beer pours thick like oil, and the head has a purplish hue. Right on opening the bottle you’re hit with the smell of a stout, but also blueberries and chocolate. It was 41F coming out of the fridge, so I allowed it to get up to 48 before trying it. It’s slightly more carbonated than most stouts, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a big beer with a smooth mouth feel. Chocolate, malts, the creaminess you expect from a stout, and of course, the blueberries.
Since this is a blueberry beer, let’s focus on that a bit. Usually when I hear “fruit beer”, I picture something with an umbrella in it. Most of these fruit beers just aren’t up my street (notable exceptions being Ommegang’s Three Philosophers (a cherry Belgian) and Abita’s Purple Haze (a raspberry wheat)). The blueberries notes in Tres are unmistakable enough to give the beer its namesake character, but subtle enough as not to succumb to being cloying or gimmicky. This is a very smooth, drinkable stout with a twist.
Vitals: 4.5% ABV. Served from a 12 oz bottle at 48F (though I think it was 50F by the time I really started in; this is definitely best enjoyed around 50 as opposed to right from the fridge)