Beer Review

Tart of Darkness, The Bruery

Tart of Darkness Label

  • Brewery: The Bruery
  • Beer: Tart of Darkness
  • Batch: 2013 ed.
  • Beer type: (Sour) Stout
  • ABV: 7%
  • Imbibition date: 12-21-13
  • Temperature: 58°
  • Serving type: Poured from 22oz bottle into two tulip glasses
  • Price: $19.99/22 oz bottle (Binny’s Beverage Depot)

So, The Bruery is one of those breweries that I get excited about. Like little-girl-meeting-a-Disney-princess level of excited. They are incredibly well known in the neckbeard, beer geek circles (yes, I am a card carrying member of most all these circles) as producing just phenomenal sour beers. Unfortunately, since the beer is so good, the demand for the beer far exceeds the brewery’s supply and their beers are fairly difficult to get. Most of their beer is impossible to get outside of California. Seriously, the brewery won’t ship 90% of their beer outside the state, hell they won’t even sell it to the general public. They tell you, on their own website, that to get most of their beer you need to join their beer club(s), and even then you’ll need to fly there to get it. They still won’t ship you the beer. Can you tell that this bothers me? (Yes, I know that this is likely due to legalities regarding interstate alcohol distribution, can I please just try to be funny?)

Back on track. Hopleaf, our neighborhood bar (and, arguably, the best beer bar in Chicago), will typically have one or two Bruery belgians or sours on tap. Jane and I had had a couple and were pretty impressed. So I finally caved at Binny’s and shelled out the cash for this one. Maybe the most I’ve ever paid for a bottle of beer, it even beats out what I paid for my measly two bottles of Goose Island’s BCBS this year. It didn’t disappoint.

Appearance:

Score: 4.25/5

It’s a lovely burnt caramel in color with a very small amount of creamed coffee colored head on it. The head almost immediately recedes to the edge of the glass where it clings for the remainder of the tasting session. The beer is largely translucent, or at least it appears to be. It actually reminds me a lot of a glass of poured cola flavored pop, both in the color and quickly receding head.

Aroma:

Score: 4.5/5

Oaky, a little funky, some sweetness (fruity sweetness?), maybe a little roasty.

Taste:

Score: 4.5/5

Excellent. A puckering sour immediately, it brings to mind the SweetTart candies. Lot’s of citrusy, lactic sourness. Then you get a bit of funk, maybe some oak. I was actually surprised at the lack of oakiness in the beer. I also didn’t note much roasty or bready flavor. Had you given me this without telling me what it was, I wouldn’t have necessary guessed that the base beer was a stout.

Mouthfeel:

Score: 4.25/5

This is a gentle beer. I found very little carbonation at all. The beer would leave me with that “I just ate something sour” feeling in my throat, again much like I have after eating a sour candy that uses citric acid.

Label:

Very good? The bottle presentation overall is quite nice. A clean label, a tall dark bottle, and a cork & cork cage make for a classy looking bottle of beer.

Overall:

Score: 4.5/5

Tart of Darkness by The Bruery is an excellent beer. It was one of the better sours I’ve had and, despite my references to the SweetTart candies, it wasn’t too sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing this one on tap in the future

Conclusion:

Final Rating[1]: 4.46/5

aFR[2]: 

Notes:

  1. My final rating is a weighted average of the 5 component ratings. See the Beer Review Methodology Page.
  2. The aFR (adjusted Final Rating) is my attempt at standardizing beer ratings across the increasingly vast pricing and container volume differences. It ranges from near 0 to near 25, the higher the number is the better the beer is in terms of quality and value. See the Beer Review Methodology Page.
  3. To see a list of all my beer reviews and ratings, check out the Summary of Beers Reviewed page.

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  • Tom Day

    Bruery makes awesome stuff. You should really try to get your hands on some of the brews they release to the club. Very good.

    • http://WilliamSGodfrey.com/ William S. Godfrey

      Tom, I know! I briefly considered buying a membership. I thought that I might be able to cover my flight/membership costs by reselling some of the bottles here in Chicago on Craigslist or something. Ultimately I decided that it wasn’t worth it since I would need to make several flights out there a year to get the beer.

      I am in the process of looking for a member in the state that can buy me bottles and then ship them to me.