Lady Stavoren Wheat Wine — Amsterdam Brewing Co.

It’s always nice when I’m handed a beer, that is a style I’m not familiar with.  I admit, it happens less these days then, say, three years ago.  But when it does, it reminds me how awesome the beer world is.  I felt this a while ago when Kody at Amsterdam grabbed me a bottle of one of Iain’s really small-batch creations, Lady Stavoren Wheat Wine. Quickly I reached for my Oxford Companion to Beer, and sure enough, there was an entry on it.  Turns out a Wheat Wine is a modern variation on Barley Wine, seemingly created during the 1980s, but made with (generally) at least half the grain-bill being wheat.  They are generally brighter and fruity, with less aggressive hopping than an American Barley Wine. Lady Stavoren is one of Amsterdam’s Adventure Series, but I’m sad to say that I think it’s already all gone.  That being said, as you’ll read below, it’s so flipping good, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it made at the brewpub, once things get rolling down on the quay.

Lady Stavoren Wheat Wine — Amsterdam Brewing Co.

Lady Stavoren Wheat Wine — Amsterdam Brewing Co.

From an Amsterdam Adventure Series bottle, Lady Stavoren pours a clear gold if undisturbed, or nicely hazy if you agitate the bottle.  Generous rocky head drops to a decent thick layer of head that laces the heck out of the glass, and is well supported by a good carbonation.  Aroma is very floral and a little fruity.  Fresh flower petals, some bitter orange peel, and a bit of a spiciness that could be hops or yeast (though Oxford says Wheat Wines are generally made with British or cleaner US/Canadian yeasts).  There are some sweet malts that are nearly candy-like on the nose.  Taste is even bigger and more complex.  It’s still quite floral, and is now a little soapy. Fairly sweet and sugary on the tip of the tongue.  Fruitiness is much more defined, and ranges from bitter oranges to tangerines to apricots and even a bit of white wine.  There is a malty sweetness, but also some cane sugar-like sweetness.  Funny enough, I made this note, and thought it might have been a contrast from the cheeses I was eating with the beer, then I read the label and discovered Iain had used some turbinado sugar in making it.  Finish is fairly bitter and dry, with the orange peel lingering.  Medium bodied, but with enough carbonation to keep it from getting heavy.  There is just a touch of boozy heat on the back of the palate, which gets a little more pronounced as the beer warms up.  A very cool beer, that I wish I had more of.  As it was my first Wheat Wine,  I can’t speak to it’s relative merit, but it fits the descriptions I’ve read, and more importantly, I really dug it.

Cheers Amsterdam!

Buy Lady Stavoren Wheat Wine

Well, like I said, there doesn’t seem to be any at the brewery retail store any more.  I’m not sure if any bars got any, but I suspect this one might be beyond reach.  That being said, feel free to harass/suggest to Iain that this be a staple at the brewpub….

Drink it With

Fresh fruits drizzled in wildflower honey. Think figs, apricots, pears etc.  So damn good.  As you can see in the picture, I was eating cheese with it.  Specifically, Monforte Dairy Toscano sheep’s milk cheese (a young one too), and ricotta from Quality Foods, who just won best in show at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, the first time a non-Quebecois dairy won the award.  Also a rare win from a fresh cheese.  And there’s good reason why, it’s a hell of a rich complex cheese.  You can find it at Longos, in their “signature” line.  The Toscano was a bit salty with a little sheep’s milk tang to it.  Both elements made for a nice cleansing and balancing effect against the complex beer.  The ricotta was rich and creamy, and gave a cool thick foundation that accentuated the fruity notes in the beer.

About The Brewery

Amsterdam_logoThe Amsterdam Brewery is an independently owned and operated craft brewery that is deeply rooted in the city of Toronto. A pioneer of the craft beer revolution in 1986 and initially called the Amsterdam Brasserie and Brew Pub, The Amsterdam was the first of its kind in Toronto to offer patrons hand crafted lagers and ales that were brewed ‘in-house’. Today they brew over ten different beers including their flagship lager – Amsterdam Natural Blonde, the award winning Big Wheel Deluxe Amber, Boneshaker IPA and multiple year-round and seasonal brews. The Amsterdam Brewing Company uses only traditional brewing methods and their beers are made with four all natural ingredients – malt, hops, yeast, and water. All beers are GMO-free, without preservatives, and never heat pasteurized.

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I can’t speak to it’s relative merit, but it fits the descriptions I’ve read, and more importantly, I really dug it.

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