The mere mention of a truffled beer is enough to incite shudders and raised eyebrows. Even accomplished brewer Scott Morrison conceded that the "terrible" task of melding such a powerful savory flavor with beer brought trepidation: "How am I going to pull this off?" But with his recent return to Dock Street Brewing Co., he knew this first of several planned seasonal collaborations with the Four Seasons Hotel had to be ambitious. So Morrison didn't hold back, crafting a sturdily malted English strong ale, then sending it off to the hotel to be aged in used chardonnay barrels, after which it was blended with a measured dose of truffle-steeped vodka. The result, once married, stunned most everyone who took a sip. The rich, moussey head did not smell like the garish cologne I expected. It tasted more like black coffee, dark chocolate, and figs on the first well-rounded sip. The barrel oak lent structure, and then the truffle appeared, subtly opening a trapdoor to a deep, dark earthiness that lingered, until we all took the next sip.
- Craig LaBan
Truffled Old Ale, to be released Jan. 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel, $16 for 750ml; available afterward for $19.85 at Dock Street Brewery, 701 S. 50th St. (at Baltimore Avenue)