Monday, September 29, 2008

Let's Try This Again (in more ways than one)

OK, for those of you who got a post that said only "let", well, let's try this again. For the rest of you, a few months back we talked about Viking Brewing out of Dallas. I don't know why, but for some reason I want this brewery work out. There are some breweries that one I've had a few bad brews I write them off and move on - there's too much good beer to keep hitting your head against a wall. But, I'm intrigued by Viking; not only by the multiple dozens of beers, but the interesting approach that Randy and Ann take, and the fact that they are in such a small town makes me root for them. Well, that and Randy's 2002 run for Governor of the Great State of Wisconsin.

When we reviewed the Weathertop Wheat, we mentioned that Viking's beers can sometimes be really inconsistent. In fact, I don't know if I mentioned it in that review, but of the 4-pack of the Wheat, every single beer was completely different. Some of them were sharper than others, some had a sour bite, others were more fruity. While some of them were fine, others were good, but others were downright bad. It's really hard to justify spending money on a 4-pack when you have no idea what is coming out of the bottle. So, after the last few frustrations, I was down to my last out with them. I wanted to give them one more shot.

So, the other day, I was in the new Steve's over on PD at 151 (just opened this past weekend) and saw that they had Viking's Invader Dopplebock. It's Viking's January seasonal release. That tells me that it's been sitting in a bottle for, at least, what, 9 months? Unlike the wheat beers though, dopplebocks should age pretty well. I'll be honest, before I review this beer out of the four pack, I tried one - I just wanted to be fair to Viking, and if it was not right I wanted to prepare myself for that kind of review. But, I was pleasantly surprised - I really enjoyed it! Nice body, in that middle area between medium and heavy bodied, great caramel and malty flavors. With that:

Viking Invader Doppel Bock
Appearance: No head whatsoever; some wisps of white stuff float on top; it poured kind of syrupy-looking; body is caramel colored
Aroma: the website claims aromas of caramel apple, heather, wildflower, and allspice; the apple is definitely present, I'm not getting the floweriness, but the earthiness is vaguely all-spice-ish and cumin-y but also bready and warm; dusty and roasty
Flavor: roasted and caramel on the front, with a background of faint floral hoppiness and dusty earthiness; clean finish with strong flavors; as it warms the lighter flowery flavors come forward a bit
Body: medium-bodied and somewhat syrupy; the style allows for this and it provides a nice warmth in the finish; the flavors are definitely not cloying, and it gets a little more syrupy as it warms up, but still very solid
Drinkability: the medium body keeps it from being a session beer, but I will have no problem finishing this four pack
Summary: Thankfully, I really enjoyed this and Viking lives to see another day; this is a really nice Wisconsin doppel - it would be nice to see more availability of this in the Madison area in the fall and winter months; really the only widely-available Wisconsin doppels are from Tyranena and Capital (is that right?!) and, frankly, this one is a nice compliment to that group.

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