Friday, 24 July 2015
Emblazoned with a vulture atop a gnarled tree stump in the desert, the labels on corked 750mL bottles of Death Valley screams of dryness. According to the label, hops lovers ought rejoice, as this brew is unfiltered and dry-hopped with three strains: Bravo, Saaz, and Amarillo. DV is listed as both "Triple Hop" and as that Quebecois favourite, a strong beer on lees. I'm going to call it a Belgian-inspired pale ale. It contains 8% alcohol and pours a cloudy golden orange. Upon decanting, this beer gives rise to a vivacious fog of off-white head. It's brewed in Montreal, Quebec by Les Brasseurs RJ, an outfit that I'd never previously heard of, though after a quick internet search, I discovered that I have tried a few of their ales.
DV has a yeasty, hops-friendly aroma that walks a line between citrus and floral. Its flavour is unexpectedly muted for a beer that has a desert hellscape on the label--there are yeasty, fruity notes running a few metres ahead of a hopsy, dryish finish. It tastes like a strong ale, though perhaps not quite as muscular as 8%.
Worth mentioning is the low, low sticker price. I got a 750mL bottle of Death Valley for a practically obscene and nearly irresponsible $5.60. In terms of bang for your buck at Ontario liquor stores, Death Valley is a real contender for Grand Champion. Step aside South African "port" and Canadian "sherry". For the budget conscious connoisseur (say that three times fast), Death Valley is a major bargain! Given that it's a pretty agreeable brew, it's a hit.
A nice brew from La Belle Province, DV combines craft ale sensibility with big heat. It's not as hoppy as I wanted it to be and the Belgian-style yeast is a bit heavy-handed, but I'd definitely buy it again.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.