Nov 2, 2012

Rock Art Brewery The Riddler

I am only familiar with Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery from their tussle with Monster Energy Drinks back in the Fall of 2009. Being a fairly small brewery, their distribution net certainly doesn’t reach Virginia. Lucky, I have some of the coolest in-laws known to man.

On a recent trip to the mecca of American-brewed Belgian ales, Brewery Ommegang, my wife’s folks brought a couple of Rock Art beers back for me to check out. The first one up is the brewery’s Riddler, a 8% ABV Belgian Dubbel. The beer has a wonderfully earthy character about it that is very much unlike any other beer of this style that I’ve had in the past. It’s a solid effort on the company’s part, but when compared to some of my favorite Dubbels (Rocheforte, Chimay Red, Westmalle, etc), it’s not quite up to the task.


A light tan head rests briefly atop the dark brown brew, resulting in a thin collar around the glass. I’m not sure if you can tell from the above photo, but there was a ton of carbonation activity in this brew.


The best part about this beer is the aroma. It’s got a big nose that you can catch from across the room. Raisin, dark cherries, brown sugar, a light roast, cocoa, yeast and subtle coffee notes all combine for a welcoming range of scents.


While the nose was full of character, the flavor profile doesn’t follow through on the promise. Caramel, roast malt, light roast coffee and yeast arrive first with a great earthy quality. The yeast persists through to the mildly hopped finish that has a touch of bitterness. It’s unfortunately a little too light bodied for the style. The alcohol warms softly after each sip.


All in all, The Riddler is a decent enough Belgian Dubbel. I wish it had been fuller on the palate than it was. It’s an interesting brew with a great nose, but lackluster fallow through in the taste. That said, I wouldn’t mind grabbing a bottle of this if I’m ever up in Vermont.

Rating: 3/5

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