Saint Arnold is now on No. 13 in its Divine Reserve series, with Monday's release of a strong dark Belgian-style ale. As always, it's a very limited release, with social media abuzz over sightings of the elusive beer. I called a few Dallas retailers Monday afternoon to find out if they had it yet, and got the feeling from most of those answering beer-and-wine-department phones I wasn't the first. Most said they'd be getting it midweek, so if you've whiffed on picking some up so far, despair not. There's a good chance one of your favorite stores hasn't even received delivery yet. It's out in six-packs of 12-oz. bottles (which some stores, including North Oak Cliff Beer & Wine, will sell individually), 22-oz. bombers and on cask. You can try to trace it by following the #DR13 hashtag on Twitter, but it's probably quicker to just make a couple or three phone calls to the likely suspects to score some yourself. I picked up a sixer at Whole Foods Park Lane on the way home from work last night. Here's what I thought:
Appearance: Pours a deep, almost black reddish-brown with a creamy tan head. The bottle and six-pack do nothing to announce what a special beer this is, which is boring but also, I suppose, kind of the point: Only the devoted know what they're looking for. 9
Nose: Dark fruit and Belgian yeast with some alcohol, but not as much of the yeast as I expected. 9
Taste: Really good. Some spiciness, like cinnamon or nutmeg, toffee, caramel and brown sugar. Alcohol is mild for something so strong, warm but no burn. Very mellow, sweet and smooth. Joshua Justice at our sister paper in Houston complained about a "sharp, slight punch of hop flavor" but I didn't think the hops were pronounced enough to be intrusive. It's not the best quad I've ever had, but still, I love it. 38
Body: Medium-bodied without the gross stickiness such a strong, sweet beer could have. Pretty lively carbonation, too. 10
Finish: Leaves a nice spicy, dry flavor. Incredibly easy to drink for something so strong. 10
Style/Originality: This doesn't taste like any other quad I've had, yet I can immediately identify it as one. Unique version of the style, yet somewhat conservative. 10
Party Factor (ABV/price per 12 oz.): I picked up this 11 percent ABV beer for $16.99 a six-pack, giving it a factor of 3.88, rounding up to a very respectable 4.
Total score: 90
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(Note: 90 is an A+ score. Take a look here for an explanation of the Hophead Scoring System.)