Friday, May 31, 2013

Black Walnut Dunkel

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We picked up a bottle of Perennial Artisan Ales Black Walnut Dunkel recently from Good Beer. At $17 for a 750 ml bottle, it's a beer that you want to slowly and carefully enjoy -- this is not something with which to wash down some pizza or burritos!
This is a dunkel-weizen beer made with black walnuts grown in Missouri, which is where Perennial is located -- in St. Louis to be exact. The beer had a pleasant earthiness in both aroma and flavor, making us think "keller dunkel weizen". There was a nice yeasty ester coming off the thick, solid head, but not the overly cloying esters often wafting off of German wheat beers. It had a somewhat refined yeast character.

The deep brown colored beer had a slight sour tinge and a mild roastiness, along with a woody, earthy quality, and a bit of tannic bitterness. There was more heft in the body than most dunkel weizens that we've had.  B.R. noted that this beer would pair well with a hearty, rustic meal. As with pretty much all of Perennial's creations, Black Walnut Dunkel provides a definitively unique beer experience. 

The walnuts are given a rough chop, put into a mesh bag and are added to the bright tank, similar to dry-hopping. Oddly enough, the nut oils don't seem to bother the beer's head, as one might expect.

The leaf in the logo is that of a ginkgo tree.
When asked about the logo of Perennial, brewer and founder Phil Wymore said, "I'm a fan of ginkgo trees. They're considered a living fossil and are the least related to all other trees. They're very enduring. I tied those basic concepts to Perennial, which means enduring, and I envisioned a brewery that set itself apart from most others." Known for its use of non-standard, locally sourced, and organic specialty ingredients --  maple roasted quash, Missouri peaches, strawberries, rhubarb -- and for barrel aging, not to mention their beautiful label artwork, they certainly have set themselves in their own class!

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