Beer Review: 1554 Enlightened Black Ale
For this week’s beer review, Mike brought over one from the New Belgium brewery that I’d never tried before. I am familiar with their Fat Tire ale, and enjoy it, although it isn’t a regular in our house. I’m rather a fan of dark beers, and the 1554 Enlightened Black Ale didn’t disappoint.
I’ve been sampling a run of dark beers, and the last beer that Mike and I reviewed was a dark stout. The 1554 isn’t as dark and heavy as the Obsidian Stout that we sampled previously (reviews here and here), lacking the chocolate/coffee undertones of the Stout. It is a plainer beer, more straightforward and without a lot of complexity, although not to the same level of simplicity as a pale ale or a rice beer. While there are times (and meals) when a very simple beer is appropriate, I tend to favor more complex beers. I liked the 1554 because it falls into the middle zone – not so heavy that more than one feels like overkill, but with more complexity and interest than a simple ale.
As with the Obsidian Stout, the flavor improved with temperature – the first few sips as we started our movie were okay, but the beer smoothed out as it got closer to room temperature. Unlike the Obsidian Stout however, the room temperature taste was okay – not as bitter as the Obsidian. I suspect it would be a good party beer, one you can walk around with while you mingle and get into conversations. It also held up nicely during the movie (more about the movie later – we watched the first of three related movies that we’ll do a compare-and-contrast combined review in the future). I could see the 1554 serving as a gateway beer – a beer that I would serve to people who don’t necessarily like dark Stouts, but are looking to get an idea of what a more complex dark beer might be like.