Belgian Strong Ale
Launched in the small town of Williamsburg, Va. in 2006, AleWerks Brewing Co. has quickly gained national attention for its many different labels and styles, but what has garnered the most attention is its Brewers Choice (Brewmaster Reserve Series) that is produced each year on a limited basis. Prior releases in the series like Bourbon Barrel Porter, My Bitter Valentine, Grand Illumination and Café Royal have brought many acknowledgements, awards and great respect to this nine-year-old operation.
First released in 2007, the Unibroue Grande Réserve 17 was originally brewed to commemorate the Quebec, Canada-based brewery's 17th anniversary. The 10 percent ABV Belgian-style strong ale is brewed with American and noble hops, as well as a blend of malts before being aged in French oak barrels.
In 1998, Dogfish Head created a Belgian-style brown ale called Raison D'Etre, which translated from French means reason for being. The name is a play on words of sorts, as it is brewed with raisins, along with beet sugar and Belgian-style yeast. This heavier 8 percent ABV beer was brewed with the intention of pairing it with steak much like you would a red wine. Fast forward nine years and Dogfish Head decided to take the Raison D’Etre recipe and add in even more raisins, malts and brown sugar to create what Dogfish calls its “Raison D'Etre, with a little extra,” aptly named Raison D’Extra.
Going by the book is not something consumers expect of modern craft brewers, but in a way the Rabbit Hole Brewing Co. of Justin, Texas is doing exactly that. Except that the book in question doesn't have anything to do with style guidelines or rules governing what you can or can't do when it comes to craft beer. Instead, it has to do with molding the brewery's image around a novel written by Lewis Carroll known as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.