It’s a metaphor that only women will understand, but this review can be equated to losing your virginity. For so long you anticipate the moment, prepare for it, hunt down the “right guy”—the one that gave every indication by his looks and his discourse that he’d be amazing to experience—and take him home with giddy delight. You’ve envisioned this several dozen times and played the scene out in your head several dozen more. Then he stands before you, youthful, marble-chiseled beauty that he is, and lays his lips on yours. And at that precise moment, your entire bubble of expectation is burst by a serpentine tongue swimming in an ocean of saliva, a sudden dull and unexpected pain, and a sexual interlude that lasts about as long as it takes to floss—maybe. You’re inevitably left laying there, panting male above you, saying to yourself, “This is IT? THIS is what I waited for?” What a rip off.
By now, most ladies are nodding and most men are rethinking just how studdly and satisfying they were at the starting gate, but my point is made. This feeling found me again this weekend with a long-awaited encounter with a bottle of Belgian ale. When I first read about DeuS, I was intrigued and anxious to try it and discuss it here, with you. It is first brewed in Belgium in the traditional style, with summer barley. They then ship it to Champagne where it undergoes another fermentation (in bottle, with several months on yeasts) done in the methode champenoise. It looked beautiful and sounded delicious, so I hunted down the US importer/distributor and got some help in finding a retailer near me that carried it…I never even thought to ask the price. Two weeks and multiple emails later, I was standing in the Belgian Ales section of a wine shop with the equivalent of the holy grail in my hands, all for the asking price of about 30 bucks. Yeah, 30 bucks. I gotta admit that I hesitated at that point…I could get a nice bottle of Champagne for that money. But I bit the bullet and bought the bottle—the bottle that contained all my hopes and anticipations of grandeur inside its glass walls.
I put it in the fridge as soon as I got home, before I even bothered unpacking the groceries. The brewery recommends drinking it “ice cold” so I knew I’d have to wait several hours before uncorking the elixir. I went about my day, cooking, cleaning, and waiting. Then, shortly before my dinner guests were due to arrive, I decided it was time—time to give myself to the DeuS—and I wanted it to be all mine…fuck the guests, they could drink the Sierra! So with a beautiful champagne stem in hand I unleashed the bubbles. It poured out the color of honey and created an enormous beautiful head in the glass. I wasn’t expecting that, and had to wait impatiently for it to subside a little so it wouldn’t go up my nose! It was a longer wait than I expected, because these bubbles just kept regenerating…it was pretty damned cool. And that, my friends, is where the infatuation and intrigue ended. It had the pleasant nose of a typical Belgian ale, with lots of funky yeasty notes and hints of maple syrup and gingerbread. It was lightly sweet and fruity, really smooth and had great body. But in the end, it was just a well-crafted beer.
Was all the hoopla really necessary? Did the champenoise fermentation really impart anything that amazing, or was it gimmick to justify the price tag? I don’t know that I can really answer that fairly, because the entire experience left me as satisfied as the deflowered young woman I described. I sat there and said, “That’s IT? Thirty friggin’ dollars and THIS is what I have to show for it?” It was OK, but it wasn’t all THAT. Much like losing my virginity, I owe the experience to something with a big head that had a great body and was really smooth, but never capable of satisfying…and part of me wonders if it’s not perhaps my fault for setting my expectations too high to be met. Nahh, couldn’t be my fault.