New Belgium Brewing | Lips of Faith: Wild² Dubbel
As one might expect from the name, New Belgium Brewing has a long-standing reputation built on producing solid Belgian-style beers including their Abbey ale, Trippel, and even Fat Tire, a ubiquitous brew which undoubtedly marked the beginning of many a casual beer drinker’s insobrietous journey to certified beer geek. As such, I was excited to find Wild² Dubbel, a new entry in their Lips of Faith series in a local bottle shop. What makes this dubbel wild? Well, it’s brewed with Schisandra berries, also known as the “five taste fruit” and finished with Brettanomyces. The five flavors promised by the berry are sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Brett is something I generally enjoy, but not being familiar with Schisandra, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I opened the bottle.
Wild² Dubbel poured a dark reddish brown with a thin tan head that left nice lacing on the glass as it slowly receded. In the aroma I found chocolate, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and something vaguely medicinal or herbal. The first sip revealed that raisin-juice flavor fans of Special B malt will appreciate followed by caramel sweetness, chocolate bitterness, and peppery spiciness. As the glass warmed up, I notice flavors reminiscent of ripe bananas, nutmeg, and a savory note I could only attribute to the Schisandra. Between the sweetness, spiciness, and light tartness, I got the impression of cola hiding somewhere in the background. For an 8% ABV malty beer so densely packed with flavor, it is supremely drinkable. The body is creamy, tightly carbonated, and each sip finished dry with just a wisp of spicy heat from the alcohol.
Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. The inclusion of Schisandra and Brett result in an interesting take on one of those classic styles that seems criminally underappreciated in the craft beer world these days. If you’re a fan of dubbels, it’s well worth your attention. Wild² Dubbel is a limited edition seasonal release available in 22-oz bombers and on draft.