Tomato Pepper Bread, Or How Not to Describe Beer

Raise your hand if you know what tomato pepper bread tastes like.  I suspect there were two of you.  One who actually knows what tomato pepper bread tastes like, and one who doesn’t want to appear so unsophisticated as to admit not knowing what tomato pepper bread tastes like. 

I’ll admit it.  I don’t know what tomato pepper bread tastes like.  I can form an idea, but I don’t know, know. Had you asked me about rosemary focaccia I’d be all over it.

Why do I ask these questions?  As is frequently and fortunately the case, I had an opportunity last night to try a beer which I thoroughly enjoyed.  After discussing it with friends, one of them handed me a copy of the promotional materials which included this gem of a description:

“Cloudy golden color with a silvery cast. Aromas of apple custard tart and tomato pepper bread with a round, crisp dry medium-to-full body and frothy egg, pear, pepper, and metallic mineral notes on the leafy hop finish.”

Whoa nelly.  Do you have any idea what this beer is or what it might smell and taste like?  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had many frothy eggs in my life. 

Decrying over-the-top, unusable beer descriptions is nothing new, but I thought this one serves as a good reminder:  Beer is not this pretentious. Even beer from Belgium.

This description is an unattributed quote included in the importer’s materials for Scaldis Cuvee Des Trolls, a Belgian Blonde Ale from Brasserie Dubuisson.  It is one of the many delicious Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers in the Vanberg & DeWulf portfolio which recently began distribution in Montana via Intermountain Distributing in Billings.

I don’t do many beer reviews for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not particularly strong at picking out flavors and describing them. Second, you’re just as likely to taste something different.  Third, ratings and opinions are WAY overblown and too often get in the way of your own craft beer exploration.*

But I know you, dear reader, and I know what you’re thinking right now: so what did Cuvee Des Trolls taste like if not frothy eggs, tomato pepper bread and leafy hops?** 

It’s a dead ringer for a classic, quality, malty Oktoberfest straight out of Germany with none of the typical spicy Belgian yeast flavors.  To which aforementioned friend said: “You’re crazy.” 

Don’t let beer descriptions get in your way.  Try something new often. Like what you like. Enjoy the journey.
* Yes, I know that is three reasons which is one more than “a couple.” Stop being so picky.
** I have yet to meet a hop which did not start out as a “leafy hop.”