If there is one way in which beer falls flat to its grape-based partner in alcoholic frivolity, wine, it is in its lack of ceremony. Popping a cork, smelling, swirling, these are all things enjoyed by wine connoisseurs with the regularity of a religious ritual. Beer is about drinking. It is a drink of immediate satisfaction and an accompanier of celebration, but more than likely it does so with immediacy, not decorum.
There are, however, a few notable exceptions. No, I'm not speaking of drawing a four-leaf clover in the top of a Guinness though I admit mastering the art borders on religious fanaticism. I speak of bottle-fermented beers such as Rare Vos.
Being fermented in its own bottle, Rare Vos comes with a cork and a plethora of specific instructions for its consumption. "Pour slowly," says the bottle "so as to not disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the spicy bouquet."
You mean I can't just drink it?
We at Brew Review enjoy a little ceremony with out alcohol consumption (we're not wine drinkers in disguise, I swear) but all traditional consumption guidelines aside, the question remains: is this brew worth pouring?
Tastes: like a perfect blend of fruity notes and bitter yeast. The back end of Rare Vos has a pepper flavor that the bottle refers to as "an elusive spiciness." This is a full amber ale that will leave you satisfied you've made a good choice after one sip. Rare Vos has an alcohol content of 6.5% by volume.
I got mine: at Lost Leaf Gallery on Roosevelt Row for about $9. Those nine bucks bought me a 1 pint 9.4 fluid ounce bottle of the stuff which is more than enough to share...you know, if you want to.
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Goes with: Rare Vos brewer Ommegang recommends consuming this brew with bar foods including burgers, pasta, "designer pizza," tapas, jerk chicken and an assortment of other fried delicacies. They've absolutely hit this one on the head. Rare Vos is perfect for pub grub. Order away without worrying about your food masking your beer's flavor.
Verdict: Taking time to enjoy the everyday moments in life is something we feel the country if not the world could use more of these days. Take time with Rare Vos content in the knowledge that what is a perfectly fine after work drink on a particularly busy Wedensday afternoon will transcend your every day beer expectations thanks to a little ritual. If you need help popping the cork (and consuming the contents) let me know.