Mile High Wine and Spirits Exclusive Beer Release
Crooked Stave Zeke's Belly Up Citrus Surette
By: André DiMattia
Zeke, our memorable, docile and highly lovable Weimaraner shop dog has connected with numerous individuals over the past few years at Mile High Wine and Spirits. When Zeke greets customers with calming affection, he is known to give himself up and enjoy a warming belly rub. This image is common within the store, enough that a beer label was created in his honor: Zeke's Belly Up. This label was made to represent Zeke’s own individuality by reflecting the same sort of uniqueness that can come from the combination of one beer in a sole oak barrel.
Each year the staff at Mile High Wine and Spirits taste and choose from numerous barrel samples of Bourbon that will eventually be bottled in their entirety for the store. In addition to one barrel’s contents of distilled gold, we also receive the freshly emptied oak vessel in all its aged glory. These barrels are quickly turned over to local breweries that will then fill them with beer, and eventually, bottle the end result to be sold only at Mile High Wine and Spirits. The proceeds of these bottles go to local animal shelters as a way to help our canine and feline friends while paying tribute to that rascal of a dog, Zeke.
While the current and fourth release of Zeke's Belly Up comes as a quite departure from the previous Imperial Stout releases, it encompasses all the same particulars of what the concept was built around. The knowledge of Chad Yakobson and the dedicated crew at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project were more than happy to help envision this new release.
Crooked Stave's tart and somewhat tangy Surette Saison was funneled into a 10 year old Eagle Rare Bourbon barrel in late 2012. It mingled with the wood and evolved until it was first tasted in the summer of 2013. With the thought of replicating the flavors of a soothing whiskey sour, the juice and zest of fresh Valencia Oranges were added directly into the barrel to macerate for a further few weeks. The end result was bottle conditioned and has exceeded all of our expectations and projections. Zeke’s Belly Up Citrus Surette is now a reality.
On to the Tasting Notes:
The final beer is frothy with tight carbonation and a lovely color of oolong tea and orange marmalade. Zesty and fragrant with bold citrus aromas, a light amount of toast and subtle apple notes from the oak add a contrasting depth. The wild yeast edge of Surette is enticing while the natural lactic flavors only help the citrus come alive, giving comparisons to orange bitters, lemon pound cake and preserved fruits. The first sip is familiar but holds a heavier weight of texture than what is usually found in the base Saison. The rousing high notes of acidity met with the long persistence of slight pithy bitterness are engaging and quite distinct. Apricot jam meets peppery whiskey, wild flowers and candied orange rinds, juicy and fulfilling with elegance though texture and balancing levels of funk; this is a joyful bottle of beer to say the least! We know Zeke would be proud.
Given that this batch of beer was limited to the size of one physical 53 gallon oak barrel, bottles will be very limited. 28 cases will be sold at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday October 5th at $8.99 per bottle with a limit of three bottles per person. Orders will be taken and transactions can be made over the phone, but, given there are only two available lines of communication for this method, we feel that the best way to purchase bottles is by arriving at the shop in person. We greatly look forward to sharing this with all our great friends and customers in the near future.