Try Top DuClaw Concoctions

Learn how Jereme Zimmerman, a traditional brewing revivalist, rates some of DuClaw Brewing Company’s most popular and inspired creations.

| Winter 2019

Photo by Brian Goodman

I’m no cicerone, but I’ve had a lot of beer in my life and know what I like. I also know what I don’t like, but have learned to be objective. Some of my favorite beers have been from DuClaw Brewing Company, so it’ll come as no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to review some of their creations.

When I visited their website to make my choices, I realized there was an astonishing array of drinks available, in addition to the ones I already knew and enjoyed. So I threw out a few that sounded intriguing and waited to see what would come of it. To my delight, I checked my mail one day and found ... beer! I lovingly unpacked my new treasures and set them in the fridge, resisting the temptation to head straight to the back porch as soon as they’d chilled. When the time was appropriate — a late, breezy summer afternoon after a hard day’s work — I got out my camera, grabbed a few small canning jars, and set to sipping. I’ll discuss what worked for my palate in the following honest reviews, and I hope to provide objectivity for those who have different tastes than mine.

Strawberry Letter 23

Photo by Jereme Zimmerman

Described as a brew that “blurs the lines between IPA, Sour Ale, and Fruited Ale,” Strawberry Letter 23 is brewed with mosaic lupulin powder (lupulin is a powder formed from the flavorful oils and resins inside of a fresh hop flower), soured with Lactobacillus delbrueckii (a lactic acid bacteria commonly used in dairy products), and fermented on top of ripe strawberries. At 7.1 ABV and 17.5 degrees Plato, it wouldn’t seem to be a light sipper, but one could be forgiven for having more than a couple in a sitting. Although Strawberry Letter 23 is described as an IPA, its IBU is only 12; standard IPAs can often be 70 or higher.

When fermenting with fruit, most of the sugars in the fruit are converted into alcohol, and thus very little of the fruit flavor remains. However, the strawberries are added post-fermentation for this beer. Hence, the strawberry flavor has a more pronounced presence in the final brew. I have to admit that my palate isn’t particularly suited for tart or sour flavors, and I tend to avoid beers with those descriptors. This isn’t a beer I’d drink several rounds of, but it has a nice refreshing taste that would be enjoyable to sip slowly after yardwork or with a light summer meal. Bright, refreshing, and light, despite its high ABV. Give it a try!



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