|Image credit: Deep Ellum Brewing Company|
If you're a craft beer lover living in North Texas, you may remember a time not so long ago when there were only a couple of breweries in the area - neither of which existed in the city of Dallas. To say things have changed in the years since would be an understatement, but the most recent renaissance arguably got its start in November 2011. That's also when the Deep Ellum Brewing Company opened its doors in the Dallas neighborhood of the same name, announcing to the world its intent to achieve "total beer domination."
Fast forward a bit from those first formative months to when it came time for DEBC's first ever barrel-aged release. That happened in July 2012 with a beer called Wealth and Taste. Built on a base that's classified as a Belgian-style golden strong ale, past and present incarnations of the beer have been aged in barrels that have spent up to eight years housing chardonnay in California's Napa Valley.
One interesting thing to note, Wealth and Taste has gone through a couple of iterations since it debuted, not only in terms of the malt and hops used, but also with respect to its added flavors. The original was brewed with grapefruit, rose hips and chamomile, while a later version dropped those first two ingredients in favor of lavender. This year the beer has been streamlined even more, with the only additive being the Muscat grape juice that's been part of Wealth and Taste's make-up since day one.
Whether or not you notice any recipe changes may depend on how recently you've had a past vintage, but whenever that may have been I'm guessing you probably won't miss what's missing, since there is still a lot going on in this beer. It starts with a sugary aroma which features the expected grapes, hints of oak and a yeasty undertone, all of which mingles with a wave of grain and bits of biscuity malt. The use of Nelson Sauvin hops, whose flavor profile is often described as being akin to white wine grapes, no doubt helps to enhance the essence of both the juice adder and residuals contributed by the barrels. Though, while a grape flavor is certainly prevalent, Wealth and Taste doesn't come across as being necessarily wine-like to my taste.
As for how it drinks, Wealth and Taste probably leans toward having more of a medium body, though the carbonation helps to lighten the overall impression. There's a lingering sweetness to the beer throughout, but there's no trace of a drying astringency that's sometimes present in other beers infused with white wine grapes. In terms of strength, there's plenty to go around given the 10.5% ABV, but you'd never know it outside of a very subtle warmth in the aftertaste.
If you've yet try it, bottles of Wealth and Taste are likely long gone, but the occasional keg still pops up from time to time at various locales. Your best bet, at least for now, is probably the Deep Ellum Taproom, where the beer seems to be perpetually on tap. Then again if you do happen to find a bottle, I'd probably go ahead and open it, since the beer has already been aged, as it were, and it's drinking quite well as it stands right now.
*Originally published on Tenemu.com.