Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lakewood's new 'Lady'

Image credit:  Lakewood Brewing Company

It would appear as if the Lakewood Brewing Company has a way with the ladies.  The brewery, who first went out on the town with The Temptress, has been stepping out with someone new.

La Dame du Lac, the second release in Lakewood's Legendary Series, may have you thinking of a familiar Arthurian allurer, but this Lady of the Lake gets its backstory from a local Dallas legend.  The tale involves the ghostly vision of a woman appearing in search of a ride after an accident on White Rock Lake.  Obliging drivers report that upon delivering her to the requested address she vanishes, leaving her benefactors to discover that she allegedly drowned many years before.

The beer paying tribute to this story is a bière de garde, a French farmhouse ale whose definition leaves it open to interpretation.  It can be pale and effervescent, along the lines of a Lost Abbey Avant Garde (a beer that sadly isn't distributed here), or dark and smooth like the locally available Gavroche from La Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre.  In all cases, such brews should be malt-forward, with hops playing little more than a supporting role.

Lakewood's version falls somewhere in the middle of the color wheel and virtually on point when it comes to style.  First impressions are of toasted malt, with a kind of cellar-like quality that in some ways reminds one of that "something in the air" feeling you get when you walk into someone's basement.  This is a good thing, mind you, as a farmhouse ale is supposed to be funky.  In terms of flavor, these elements surround a lingering sweetness, background esters and a light balancing bitterness.  Some may prefer a slightly drier finish, but this brew is not cloying and doesn't come across as being too heavy on the palate.

In terms of complexity, La Dame du Lac is certainly a beer that evolves, revealing more of itself as it approaches more moderate temperatures.  When cold, the funk tends to dominate and the beer has an almost vinous character.  Over time this fades, allowing the depth of the malt to come to the fore.  Neither taste nor aroma, however, will clue you in to the Lady's inner strength.  The label quotes an ABV of 7.5%, but the noticeable warming effect that creeps in makes it seem like a beer that drinks much bigger.

It's a worthy brew, whose "legendary" tagline has it begging for a bon mot (it's French, look it up).  The obvious one has been (or will be) done to death, so it's left it to you to try the beer and come up with something clever.  Seek out your muse on tap for a limited time at establishments that typically carry Lakewood's seasonal brews, or hold out for bottles once La Dame du Lac is packaged and allocated to retail.

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