Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is launching what founder John Reardon says may be their best beer yet tonight at Goodfriend Beer Garden. After enjoying a sample bottle, I am inclined to agree.
Also featured in the 6 p.m. tap takeover are 2011 and 2012 Darkest Hour (my other candidate in the DEBC-favorite coin flip), 2013 Dream Crusher (the double rye IPA) and 2013 Cherry Chocolate Double Brown Stout.
Four Swords is a Belgian quadrupel or strong dark Belgian-style ale, and while it's a big, bold, 9.5 percent ABV beer, it shows surprising restraint for a brewery that often thumbs its nose at convention -- especially considering that with four brewers
(the four swordsmen) working on it, it easily could have fallen victim to the old maxim about too many cooks. Instead, it sticks to BJCP standards for a Belgian quad, and is all the better for it.
It's a thick, rich brew that pours a murky brown-leather color with a thick, long-lasting head. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar all leap from the glass, while the traditional Belgian yeast strain gives it some clove and other yuletide spice flavors. It's sweet in a good way, without being sticky or too sweet and with a nice hop bite at the end to balance it out. Along with being on tap at various establishments, it will be packaged in 750-mL bottles. I'm sure it would make for a great holiday-party or date-night brew to share. But tasty as it is, and as well-hidden as its potency is, you won't want to.