Needing a decent beer for the review, I had to decide to either truck it all the way out to Binny’s in Plainfield, or just jaunt over to Cardinal in Joliet. Although I had a small ration of beer cash, I remembered that every other time I hit Binny’s I wound up cutting a giant hole in my credit card. It’s that kid-in-a-candy-store syndrome. It would be wise to just go to Cardinal and spend the cash I had allotted myself.
I took my time there, perusing the shelves. I took some mental notes. I could delve into this session IPAs that have become popular lately. Maybe one of the new gluten-free beers that I’ve seen. Stouts and porters were out as were shandies and sours. I personally don’t believe that shandies and sours are truly beer. Another something local perhaps.
On my second excursion I spotted a beer that I had heard about quite a while ago. It was from Sam Adams and it was one member of their Barrel Room Collection of beers. The beer in question was Sam Adams Tetravis Belgian Quad and it was right up my alley.
You know I’m a sucker for Belgian dubbels and quads as well as nicely balanced a fruity IPAs. Tetravis it would be and I actually got some pennies back on the twenty-two bucks I handed over.
Of the three Belgian styles, dubbels, tripels and quads, the two outer limits appeal to me the most. The tripel not so much with its overly Belgian dose of yeast that seemed to spoil an otherwise great saison beer.
I felt smug during the drive home knowing that I’d be in hog heaven with one of my favorite styles of beer. Unless… unless Sam Adams screwed up the recipe in order to put its own spin on the beer style. It’s a chance I’d have to take.
The time for beer came and it took a bit of double-thumbed rocking the cork back and forth trying to remove it from the neck of the bottle. I had a ghastly thought that the beer was old and the cork has fused itself to the glass. But soon, the profound pop and resulting escape of CO2 gas allayed my fears.
The beer poured a vey light brown and brought up a thick light tan head of about an inch. Holding the glass up to the light I could see that the liquid was a deep ruby red color with plenty of carbonation. The aroma was similar to the other quads that I have had with the rich malts with a slight Belgian flavor.
The body was big and the flavor even bigger. Nicely sweet with some tastes of raisin and dates and some other dark exotic fruits. By the third sip, the head had dissipated down to a thin film. That didn’t diminish the big taste of the beer.
The more I sipped, the more I realized that this beer should be on my list of favorite quads along with Three Philosophers (Ommegang,), The Sixth Glass (Boulevard,) Chimay Grande Reserve (blue label) and Trois Pistoles (Unibroue.) They are all very similar to the beer at hand and give the drinker a wonderfully dark and fruity but complex taste.
Hop flavors were nonexistent as the only taste coming through were the dark red fruits and the nice big sweetness. Tetravis seemed to drink a little smoother than the above mentioned beers and I thanked myself for having chosen it over the other possible candidates I had in mind.
I couldn’t quite compare it to St. Bernardus Abt 12 having remembered that one to have a different type of sweetness, but it would make for a great side by side comparison. As would The Sixth Glass. Or all of the above… Hah!
Dubbels and quads are becoming hard to find in my neck of the woods. My best source for what’s new in the area are BeerMenus.com to which I subscribe. I occasionally get updates via email of what’s new at the bottle shops that I haunt. I’ll see if I can add Binny’s to the list as the one in Plainfield has a craft selection which is possibly four times more extensive than any store around here.
Back to the beer at hand. Each sip held a reminder of the true quadruple style. The kind that coats the entire palate and stays for a while after the swallow. I will say, however, that this Tetravis is one of those “danger” beers where, after three glassfuls you have to give serious thoughts about the fourth. 10.2% alcohol puts our mind that way.
Tetravis is a wonder beer, true to the style and delicious to the taste buds. I’d even call it world-class. If you want to try a little bit of the Belgian dark side, grab a hold of Tetravis. You won’t want to let go.
Style: Belgian style Quadrupel
Taste: Out of this world.
Smoothness: Easy going. Not a bite in a bottle.
Drinkability: Goes down so easy as to get you in trouble.
Bang for the buck: On a par with other beers of this style.
Amount paid: $9.99 per 750ml (1 pint, 9.4 ounce) bottle.
Get it again? Absolutely. When I have the scratch to afford it.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Kind of a red tinge to it. Oh, I get the grape. Yeah grape… and the beer. There’s always that beer flavor. It’s not bad. It’s different. (I have no idea where she pulled the “grape” from.)
Sam Adams Tetravis [1:43]