Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oshkosh Beer Sampler: St. Bernardus Pater 6

A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.

What: St. Bernardus Pater 6. This is a 6.7% Belgian Dubbel packaged in a 750ml caged and corked bottles. It’s the wee sibling among a trio of beers that includes Prior 8, an 8% ABV Dubbel; and Abt 12, a Quadrupel that comes in at 10% ABV. The St. Bernardus brewery is located in Watou, Belgium.

Where: From the Epic Cooler at O’Marro’s Public House. Let’s take a moment to poke around in this thing. It’s a new glass-doored refrigerator in the main barroom at O’Marro’s that has the Epic Brewing logo plastered all over it. The beer inside is available for retail sale, or you can decant and enjoy it right there in the pub. It’s not a huge cooler, but it’s loaded with bomber-sized bottles of interesting beer. As you might expect, Epic Brewing is well represented with a half dozen of the brewery’s more sought-after beers including Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Epic Smoked Porter, and Rio's Rompin’ Rye Beer. On the shelves below stand a crop of Belgian’s: the incredible Grand Cru by Val-Dieu; Oud Beersel’s Oude Kriek and Framboise; and then the big three from St. Bernardus - Pater 6, Prior 8 and Abt 12. Things are rounded out with a smattering of craft from Bear Republic, Moylan’s and Abita.

Why: For so many reasons, not the least of which is that Pater 6 pairs well with prunes. Bear with me. For some odd reason, this beer has always escaped me, so I immediately grabbed it when I saw it at O’Marro’s last Saturday. The following afternoon, my wife started talking about dipping some fruits (including prunes) into melted dark chocolate... a plan emerged. This might be just the beer to pair with chocolate-dipped fruit. And it was.

The beer pours hazy and deep, dark red with much effervescence and a thin lid of cream-colored foam. The aroma is of candied fruit, raisins and banana with some caramel lingering behind it. This is a light-bodied beer that’s highly carbonated and very lively in the mouth. Flavors of dark fruit – dates and cherry – are prominent and surrounded by a mellow, toffee sweetness. The finish surprised me. It’s dry and somewhat bitter, but in a spicy way. Pair this with some dark fruit (prunes!) and dark chocolate and, for a while at least, you’ll have it made.

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