- Mike Riedel
When my wife selects wine, she lets the artwork on the bottle speak to her. It's not exactly scientific, but it gets the job done—and it makes for a classy looking cellar. When I choose beer, I always look to see that there's beer in the bottle or can. That's about as complicated as I get. I also like a clever name, which is what initially drew me toward these two beers (and my wife). Hey, nobody ever accused me of being a Michelangelo ... maybe Barney Fife.
Level Crossing Bewing Co. Dallas Alice: There's a frothy head of an off-white color over a mostly clear, straw-yellow body, with ample lively carbonation. Retention is above average, and lacing is light and spotty. Aromas of malted wheat, crackers and a soft biscuit sweetness start us off. Hop notes are subtle, generating a delicate floral and fruity character. The hops are accented by a fruity yeast profile that generates gentle notes of summer fruit, pineapple juice and light coriander spice. The malt profile follows many of the same characteristics of the aroma, though the malts aren't as balanced due to the use of candied sugar, which sweetens up the base quite a bit. Hop notes of lemon, grass and herbal spices generate a mild bitterness; the yeast profile is increasingly dry, with a moderate cleanliness and accented notes of coriander and white pepper among soft bitters. The beer finishes softly grainy with an emphasis on cereal wheat funk and earthy spice with a marked dryness. The body is medium for the style, and medium overall. The 6.2% alcohol is mild, and there are no notable off characters.
Overall: The enjoyable hop profile complements the style well, though it's overshadowed slightly by chewy candy sugars and a potent yeast strain. At points, this comes across more like a saison, but it's generally an enjoyable ale that is quite complex for Belgian blonde.
Templin Family Brewing Fluffy Nutz: The beer pours dark brown and somewhat thinner bodied than you'd expect from the style. The nitrogen-infused body pours black with caramel colored bubbles. The head is a firm cap of dense froth that stays to the end, while the liquid looked shimmery and oily in the glass. You get a really nice peanut butter-forward aroma—punchy and quite savory—and roasted malts are also apparent. Medium roast coffee notes come through as well, with a touch of brown sugar sweetness. As the beer sits, the peanut butter become more subtle, though there's an excellent peanut butter presence in the flavor profile. Like the nose, the peanut butter seems to be natural and quite savory. Roasted malts are noticeable on the front end, followed by brown sugar sweetness, and a subtle cold-brewed coffee presence in the center with a hint of vanilla. More roastiness is there on the back end and the finish. At 5% ABV, the alcohol is nowhere to be found. There's a soft and smooth mouthfeel, light-bodied for the style. After a few sips, the liquid leaves a sticky film on my lips.
Overall: I have tried quite a few peanut butter-enhanced beers over the past few years, and each label has demonstrated a noticeably different level of peanut butter intensity. This release is somewhere in the middle-to-light side. Like all the beers in the TF portfolio, this is really enjoyable and surprisingly drinkable.
The crew at Level Crossing informed me that Dallas Alice will be picked up by the DABC, so you'll start seeing it there in the coming weeks. If you can't wait that long, the brewery is still your best option for cold cans. Fluffy Nutz is served on nitro at the Templin Family Brewery for in-house drinking only (nitro beers don't growler well). As always, cheers!