Quadratonic by City Acre
I like strong beers.
Barrel-aged stouts, boozy barleywines, high ABV DIPAs, whatever.
Unlike some breweries whose sole intention seems to be making all of their beers so strong no mortal man can finish a pint while remaining upright, City Acre doesn’t generally produce especially strong beers just because they’re bored. So when I saw that City Acre had plans to release Quadratonic on May 1st (eventually postponed to May 8th due to weather), I was excited and intrigued by its description…a 15% malt beverage brewed with fruits from their own impressive garden, cellared and blended over a 15 month period, and served still. My mind immediately went to an expectation of a classier version of DKML by Founders Brewing.
When May 8th finally arrived, while out of the house under the guise of last minute Mother’s Day shopping for my wife, I made the short trip over to the beautiful Topping Street grounds to bring a couple of bottles home with the intention of drinking one soon and holding one back to age a while. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I finally made time to sit down with the first one and see what we had.
Let’s start with the bottle presentation. It would be an understatement to say that I loved the packaging. The unique bottle shape and labelling harken back to that glorious time when your local drug store could sell you Coca-Cola with actual cocaine, headache medicine that was essentially just heroin, and any number of other various snake oils “for your health.”
The beer (is this technically beer? I need to look into that) poured a deep burgundy-brown color, completely opaque but not a heavy viscosity. Just as advertised there was no carbonation to speak of.
As you go in for the first sip, before the glass reaches your mouth, your nose is hit with the smokiness of this beer. Lots of smoke, that is accented by the sweetness of the malt. And booziness. It’s not a sneaky 15% ABV; it tells you right up front that it’s there to party. Then more smoke. In the first few sips, the grapes were barely discernible and the apricot was non-existent. As the beer warmed to room temp, some of the more complex fruit flavors made a stronger appearance (although I never really did catch the apricot) and the sweetness kicked up another notch. Not pastry stout sweet, but a tooth-achy malt kind of sweetness like a barleywine. But I couldn’t get past the smoke. It was just too overpowering to all of the other more delicate flavors. I don’t mind a smoky beer, and I liked this beer. But I went into this wanting to love it and I didn’t quite get there. I could not get past the thought that some of its potential was being held hostage by the smokiness. My hope is that as this ages, the charred wood will be subdued and some of the more subtle characteristics will emerge, and I can look back on this review in a couple of years realizing it was just a little too soon to fully judge this beer.
If you’ve had this one, feel free to reach out and let me know what you thought.