Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Ska True Blonde Dubbel Blonde Ale
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 11, 2007 4:00PM
Last week we declared April as Ska Brewing month here at Chicagoist. In case some of you thought it was some belated April Fools' joke, rest assured; it isn't. This week we're skanking merrily to another of the Durango, Colorado brewery's "robust reincarnations," the True Blonde Dubbel. We purchased it as a 22-ounce bomber bottle at Lush back in February and were looking forward to enjoying this beer when we popped the top last week.
True Blonde is a Belgian-style blonde ale brewed with Belgian candy sugar and wildflower honey. That should answer any questions that it's a sweet beer. Decanted into a stemmed glass, True Blonde poured a deep gold in color. We noticed a prominent note of white pepper on the nose and some light chalk as we refilled. The head on this beer faded quickly to a tiny cap in the center of the glass. The inclusion of wildflower honey in the brewing domainates the flavor. Resultingly, True Blonde doesn't have a clean mouthfeel like other Belgian blondes (Duvel, Leffe). All that sugar, along with some tropical fruit notes we noticed, led to a slightly sour palate that actually reminded us of a lambic. That sour note lingered on the finish, as well. We paired True Blonde with some chicken marsala from Gio's Cafe and Deli, and found that the two paired up quite nicely.
Of the Ska selections we picked for this month, True Blonde was the selection whose tasting notes we pondered the most. With all that sweetness included in the brewing, we feel it's a bit of a stretch to classify this as a Belgian-style blonde. We like our beers bold, and our blonde ales with a sharp taste to them. That said, maybe someone reading this might be compelled to drink it simply because it isn't your typical blonde (hey, we made a funny). It's commendable that Bill Graham, Dave Thibodeau, and Matt Vincent at Ska did something different with this beer.
We've never thought of ourselves as arbiters of taste with the "BotW" series. All we try to do is give you readers enough information on our selections to make your own decision and, hopefully, go out and try them. Go pick up a bomber and let us know what you think of Ska True Blonde Dubbel, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."