Fearful Symmetries

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04 May, 2015

Getting Better With Age: Terrance by Lakefront Brewing

Lakefront's My Turn series began in 2011. These limited edition beers showcase the potatory predilections of the brewery's employees and not just those who specialize in zymurgy. Front office folks also get to proclaim their tastes.

Terrance came out in 2013, if memory serves, and is a Kölsch. Sadly, I recall bottles of it languishing on the shelves of Jenifer Street Market. Apparently most Madison microbrew drinkers are like Madison Craft Beer Week co-founder Jeff Glazer who craves "weird or exciting or creative" brews. If it's not laced with an exorbitant amount of hops, isn't soured with bacteria from the brewmasater's toilet, or isn't aged in a Malort barrel, well, why bother? On the other hand, this left plenty for me and perhaps a few others who don't prize novelty above all else in beer.

The Kölsch is a specialty brew of Köln (Cologne), Germany. The beer we know today goes back to around the turn of the 19th century. Lagering (i.e. – storing the beer in temperatures that approach freezing for a couple of months) was quite hip and trendy at the end of the 19th century time yet Köln was still under the influence of its own Reinheitsbegot laws which outlawed bottom-fermenting beer. Not wanting to miss out on the trend of the day, brewers there used top-fermenting yeast but lagered their beer. The term "Kölsch" (or "Koelsch") is a protected appellation so only beers of this style brewed in the Köln area can rightly use the name. Hence the use of "Kölsch-style" on Terrance and other American iterations.

By all appearances, Terrance adheres to the conventions of the style. It is clear and straw-colored and looked mighty fine in my stange. Kölsches are supposed to be well-carbonated and my pour had lots of bubbles making their way up to a nice, fluffy white head. The beer had a slightly fruity aroma with yeast and bread smells also being prominent.

Like the color, the Kölsch is supposed to be light-bodied and Terrance hits the mark. It had the perfect biscuit/cracker flavor from the pale malts that was just slightly sweet but there was also a vaguely berry-like fruitiness to it, a flavor derived from the yeast. Hops were faint here but I could taste a subtle Noble spiciness underneath everything. The carbonation gave my tongue a little zing as well. That spicy hoppiness returns in the finish and made it fairly dry.

My glass was decorated with an abundance of Schaumhaftvermoegen.

As I noted above, Terrance was released in 2013 which means that the bottle reviewed here has been sitting in my cellar for a stretch. I recall drinking this beer fresh, however, and I think that it has improved greatly with age. Back in 2013 Terrance had a heavier mouthfeel with a bit more sweetness and it tasted more of dough than my preferred clean, biscuit flavor. The doughy taste seems very common in Wisconsin Kölsches with Point's Three Kings Ale, Leinenkugel's Canoe Paddler, Sand Creek's Groovy Brew, House of Brews' Prairie Rye, and the new Parched Eagle's Golden Ale all having this taste. Exceptions to this rule include Big Bay's Wavehopper and Vintage's Sister Golden Ale (the reformulated one). Not knowing exactly how all of these beers are brewed, I will say from my little experiment here that, generally speaking, more lagering seems to be needed for Kölsches.

My aged Terrance was extremely tasty. It had a clean taste in which the fruity flavors from the yeast and the biscuity ones from the malt are allowed to come to the fore. The hops were subdued and I wouldn't have minded just a bit more of them. Terrance's 4.2% A.B.V. paired with its crisp flavor makes for a fine brew on a hot day.

Junk food pairing: The Kölsch style is all about subtlety and so I recommend a junk food on the mild side. Pair (aged) Terrance with Monterey Jack Cheez Its.

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|| Palmer, 1:39 PM


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