These include dark beers, ales, wines, and other flavorful, hearty beverages that defy description, such as Two Jokers Double-Wit the Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, Missouri. The bottle tactfully avoids using the words "beer" or "ale" to describe itself, and instead refers to it as a "Malt Beverage." Even in the descriptive text (see box below), notice that it uses the word "ale" to describe the type of beverage this is based on, but when it actually refers to itself as a "brew."
I've no idea why they do this (I suppose I could drop them an e-mail and ask...), but I suspect it has something to do with some old laws on the books that require "beer" to include just specific ingredients. As you can see from the text below, this beer definitely goes outside the norm of hops, barley, water and yeast.
The first thing that attracted me to it on the shelf at the Spec's Liquor store in NW Houston (FM 1960 & Cutton Rd.) was the bottle. It was impressive, what with the cork and the cool copper wire holding on the cap. You gotta admit, it's an impressive little bottle. Next was the label, which kinda reminded me of a Menorah, which of course put me in mind of the holiday season (I suspect the blue and gold colors also contributed to those thoughts). The mention of spices on the label was the next thing that attracted me. Whereas I don't usually like spiced beers in the summer or Spring, add a nip to the air and suddenly I'm craving comfort and quiet.
BTW: Houston is in the sub-tropics, so it don't snow here, it stays pretty green. But we do get a damp chill in the air in November (at least we usually do; as I write this on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I have the AC on because we've had very warm weather this month).
But, back to the brew.
The spices mentioned on the label made me think it was a Christmas Ale, so I picked it up (it cost between $7 - $10 for the 1 pint, 9.4 fluid ounce bottle). It was a bit steep, but since it was a seasonal beer in a large bottle, I decided to pay a little more. Imagine my surprise when I got home and did a little research at the Boulevard Brewing Co.'s Website and discovered that I had gotten the wrong season: This beer was released back in May for the Summer!
Needless to say, I'm glad it took a while for it to mosey over here from Kansas City. Despite its light taste, I would not have enjoyed this brew during the dog days of summer. It's too spicy and has too much citrus for me to enjoy during that time of year (yes, I know that it may seem odd that my tastes change so much based on the weather and the seasons, but they do).
At last, on to the beer itself
I liked it... a lot. As advertised, it has a nice orange flavor to it, and the spices really come out in a pleasant harmony. There wasn't a single flavor that overpowered the others, particularly when I drank it ice cold. That changed as it warmed; the citrus took over as I let the glass warm until it was in a chilled state. It was still a very good drink, but I definitely preferred it when it was very cold. I did take a sip when it was almost room temperature, but I didn't really like it, as it became more bitter. I am pondering the notion, however, of warming up a glass to see if a hot glass might assume the properties of wine. Because the citrus got stronger the warmer it got, I'm thinking this might be worth exploring.
The color was a pleasant wheat-infused yellow/gold with a cloudy body. The aroma (when ice cold) carried more spices than orange and was very enticing. The head was utterly amazing; it was HUGE, and it actually grew while in the glass! No kidding, it got bigger as it sat there during my photo shoot.
Two-Jokers Double-Wit is a very solid brew that I would be happy to add to my Christmas holiday pantry. It was a bit pricey and has limited availability, but I will definitely be checking out other beers from this great little craft brewery. By the way, remember that label I mentioned? There's a good scan of it at this Website: http://beernews.org/2009/03/boulevard-two-jokers-witbier-on-deck-in-the-smokestack-series/ Go take a look at it and decide if you see a glass of beer or two jokers.
My score: 8 out of 10