Ark & Duif Port BA
The weather has changed drastically, right? It’s almost like Mother Nature is telling us that our IPA-laden summers are over and that it’s time to dig out the dark beers. Thankfully, De Molen (in collaboration with the brilliant Olde Hickory from Pennsylvania) has us covered with the most recent from their barrel-aged series: Ark & Duif (Ark & Dove) showing us the way into the cosy season. So dig out your cosy jumpers, light those candles and pop open this port-aged imperial stout. May I also suggest some fairy lights?
The first smell of this beer gives me very cosy vibes- there’s a lot of booziness and port flavour and a hint of char. This char and smokiness is immediately noticeable upon first taste, too, and the accompanying chocolate and malty notes are toned down by the almost sour red berry flavours and the rich, ruby port taste which creeps in. The sourness bleeds into a grape-textured tannin taste in the mid- to aftertaste, and although you can’t help but notice the weight of the beer (at 11.6% it’s difficult not to!), it doesn’t feel as heavy as you rationally know it is. It is very, very drinkable.
In many ways it reminds me of a milder, fruitier and much more balanced ‘Kameradski Balsamico’ by Brouwerij 't Verzet. Ok, they’re not similar, but they’re in the same wheelhouse to a large extent. I would say this is the perfect transition beer for the autumn season- the fruity sourness harks back to summer and the red fruits feel very season appropriate, but the earthy and smokey grounding it has points directly towards evenings sitting around the fireplace in candlelight. The booziness will certainly help keep us warm, and we could even argue that the coffee will help us stay up as the sky begins to darken earlier and earlier.