Nick Carr on March 21, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Stillwater Artisanal Location: Baltimore, MD Style: Biere de Garde ABV: 6.4% IBU: ? Appearance: Pours deep gold with spritzy, small-bubbled head; Active carbonation; Fair clarity with slight haze. Aroma: Enticing; Sweet maltiness; Notes of floral and Belgian funk. Flavor: Honey sweetness & floral funkiness; Fruity notes of apricot and citrus; Minimal bittering; Medium body. Shelf Life: Unlimited Suggested Glass: Large Wine Glass or Tulip Serving Temp: 46° – 50°F Availability: Year Round Pairs With: Roasted Lamb with Rosemary, Grilled Portabella Mushrooms, Brie, Honey Pecan Pie Ale Tale: The band finishes with a drift of strings. The revelers, curtsy, bow; part ways with slight glances and soft giggles. They gather among their own in ones and twos, small groups exchanging notes, laughing, speculatively eyeing the other across the suddenly empty dancefloor. The room is flushed. Excited. Some, seeking to increase their account of courage, pull libation from trays expertly pirouetted between groups atop the lively hands of black clad waiters. Hue sits, watches. A huge chandelier hangs far above the large room. He watches it, appreciating, the glinting crystal bobbles, strung like hanging beads of rain. He traces one of these glinting beams as it moves across the floor, climbs a wall, then transitions left over a white door. The door opens and she slips in to the room. Hue sits up and the whole world closes to a tunneled aperture centered on her face. The moon-beamed light magically holds as if, itself caught, by sudden beauty, unable to turn away. The talking and laughing in the room fades and as one its occupants are drawn to this new sight. She has soft playfully mischievous features; a high nose, round searching eyes, brilliantly green. Full lips that seem quick to laugh, presently bunched in a restrained smirk. Her hair cascades red and glowing in the gentle light, contrasting audaciously with a dusty gold dress. Her eyes pass over the room and Hue feels his breath stolen away as, for a brief moment, that gaze finds him. Then it passes on. Hue wants to cry out, shout, sing… anything to return those emerald green pools back to him. He stands and magically her eyes return. She walks over to him. Simply says, “dance with me.” Her voice is high and lilting, mirth paints the edges like the tinkling of small bells. He doesn’t say anything. He can’t. But takes the offered hand and follows her onto the floor. They dance. She smells lightly sweet, like honeysuckle in late June. Her hand is soft in his. They circle the floor. All eyes rest on this most odd couple; this mysterious bold beauty and her chosen chaperone. Time stands still it seems. They glide around the circle of now silent, staring merrymakers. Hue senses the coming end and looks into her eyes, pleading. Just a little more. Just a little longer. But the emerald pools only swim with merriment. They swing toward her white door and she pulls him in a tight circle. Stops. He feels her hand at the nap of his neck pulling down and her lips press against his. A passionate explosion of floral earthiness and honey sweetness. Her hair smells like apricot and spice. Then she’s pushing away, escaping through her door. The heady taste of soft spices left on his lips. The only reminder of her passing. Hue looks up from where he sits at the end of the bar. “I don’t know what that beer was, Joe, but pass down another.” “Liked it did ya’. Said you wanted something special… she’s a special one.” A glass bottle slides down the bar, clinking against the Hues empty glass. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Stillwater Artisanal’s Debutante. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Debutante pours a deep gold with a half finger spritzy and uniformly small-bubbled head. The head drops relatively quickly, but islands of bubbles form and vanish along the surface, fed by a well of active carbonation. Clarity is fair with a slight unbroken haze throughout. Aroma is enticing. Malt in the form of honeyed sweetness. Floral notes and Belgian funk comes through nice and big with hits of spice, bubblegum, and citrus. Mouthfeel and Taste: A pleasant medium body contributes to a mouthfeel that is slightly warming and prickling with carbonation. The honey sweetness found in the aroma translates fully to the palate building a background for some floral funkiness. Some slight fruity nuances of apricot and citrus. There is minimal bittering. The spice and funk tiptoe around for a bit after the swallow combining with some methanol-like warming. Finishing the Impression: This is the first Stillwater Artisanal beer I’ve had, and I have to say I’m more than a little impressed. Biere de Grande “beer for keeping” is a style that seems to be gaining a little more popularity here in the U.S. though its brother “Farmhouse Ale,” the saison, still outmatches it for status. If you haven’t tried this style Debutante makes a pretty good case for being your first. She is lithe, delicate, spicy, yet has a sweet side too; with just enough warming to stir the blood. Ask her to dance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by here playful character. Cheers!