Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ben Middlemiss Brewing - Benediction

When I was first getting into craft beer a few years ago, I started looking for the craziest beers I could find. On one of my beer hunting expeditions, I found a beer from New Zealand called Benediction. The bottle looked intriguing, but I wasn't sold until I looked at the back label and saw this passage:

"Ben Middlemiss Benediction ale made its first U.S. appearance in 2000 at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, as part of Michael Jackson's 10 Most Exciting Beers of the New Millenium."

What??? I thought, Who knew Michael Jackson was into beer? And who knew he had a list of the 10 Most Exciting Beers of the New Millenium? When I got home, I looked up some more information on the beer and found out that the Michael Jackson the label referred to wasn't that Michael Jackson, but a world renowned beer critic by the same name. As if that wasn't discouraging enough, I found out that this beer isn't even really the same beer as the one that Michael Jackson (the beer one) had held in such high regards. It's a re-brew of the beer by one of the two guys responsible for the original recipe. And, if the reviews I found were any indication, this new beer was a shadow of the former recipe. Discouraged, I hid the beer in the back of my cellar and pretty much forgot about it. Last week I was clearing out space for new beers to cellar when I stumbled upon it. It had waited long enough. It was time to give this beer a try.

Benediction pours a murky orange-ish brown color with a big and fluffy tan head. I was pleasantly surprised by the smell, which showed huge notes of banana, freshly baked bread and fig. Some faint Belgian yeast and chocolate notes lingered in the background. Maybe this beer wasn't going to be so bad after all...

Well, my hope for this beer lasted about as long as it took to take my first sip. I was expecting this beer to taste like a traditional Dubbel should (basically, I was hoping for all of the things I was smelling). Instead, I got sucker punched in the mouth by a big metallic/vinegary twang. This beer is sour as hell! And it's definitely not in a good (or intentional) way. I'm not sure if the whole batch was bad or if this bottle was just a lemon (a lot of other reviewers reported the same tastes I picked up though, so I'm thinking it's the former) but this stuff was gross. Behind the sourness were notes of lemon rind, aspirin and rusty spoons (maybe Salad Fingers would like this beer). Stay away from this beer. Stay far, far away.

Final Grade: D

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 39

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