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May 1st, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR | Drank
 

Drank: El Cuatro (The Ale Apothecary)

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The Ale Apothecary’s Paul Arney revels in making concoctions that are tough to wrap your head around. The former Deschutes brewer, who now works alone in a small barn outside Bend, outdid himself with the mysterious El Cuatro. The base for this 11.9 percent ABV “mixed fermentation ale” includes two malts and no hops. After a year in brandy barrels with Brettanomyces and other wild yeast, that base was blended with another Ale Apothecary beer, Sahalie, which includes Cascade hops. The final product is intended to sit for another year before drinking, but I couldn’t resist popping a $25 wine-sized bottle purchased recently at Beer Mongers. The carbonation is already right, as the cork pops loudly and a gentle pour yields a supple froth. It’s a bready and wild brew that smells like the sidewalk outside a French bakery and tastes like a fizzy cocktail made with pear brandy and Grand Marnier. I don’t get it, but I like it. Recommended.

 
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