The Time Has Finally Come For Adroit Theory Brewing Company

Adroit Theory TenebrisLed by a velvety smooth, slick body and mild carbonation, Tenebris, a take on an English Barleywine from Northern Virginia’s Adroit Theory Brewing Company, coated the slightest hints of any graininess with a supply of sweet toffee flavor that bordered being too much but pulled back in the nick of time.  It was possibly one of the best beers I had tasted so far from the Northern Virginia based nano-brewery, who seems to have taken every step in their evolution with no small amount of calculation.  From the names of the early test batch beers to the dark, cryptic, and not so slightly foreboding label designs, the brewery seemed intent on molding a particular image, and carving out a particular spot to call their own.  But the beer, of course, needed to be good, and also just as interesting.  Here again, the brewery’s own takes on particular styles as well as the additional treatments given to each beer – such as vodka infused ash spirals which were used in a double IPA – were intended to not only prove Adroit Theory could make enjoyable beer, but to also set the brewery well apart from others.  In 2012, word of Adroit Theory’s development seemed to quicken through a taste tester program of sorts, which is exactly how Tenebris would come to me.

In addition to the “regular” Tenebris, three more versions came my way, each one with a different barrel aging treatment of the beer.  From the start, Adroit Theory had made it known that barrel aging would factor into their plans often, and while barrel aging beer is hardly new, doing it well can be somewhat uncommon.  A gin barrel version of Tenebris was next, and the pine like flavor imparted to the beer was an equal match for the light caramel, toffee like tastes.  Tenebris also had a vague fruit like flavor that I couldn’t quite pin down, like the flesh of a mildly sweet white grape, or some sort of mild tasting melon, and against this, the slightly peppery gin flavors worked interestingly well by contrast.

Beers such as the gin barrel Tenebris and even the Imperial IPA aged on vodka soaked ash wood may sound like possible one-offs, and they very well may be.  But they also are as close to a flagship beer as you might ever see from Adroit Theory, as the idea is to keep things as interesting as possible.  A Facebook post once mentioned that the brewery was planning on doing test batches for “not just another Pale Ale” and for a Saison like few others, and while many folks might try to back that up, finding a brewery determined to carry out such promises isn’t always easy.  Take for example Adroit Theory’s Saviours & Guillotines, a Saison brewed with Syrah grape must, then aged in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, or better yet, one with absinthe inspired ingredients like basil, sage, and wormwood.

Remaining in my Tenebris tasting were a rye whiskey and then a bourbon barrel version, each upping the ante for the beer.  As mentioned before, sometimes barrel treatments can be a heavy handed matter, but the effects on these two beers were entirely positive, and melded faint vanilla, moderate wood like, and overall bourbon tastes to the toffee like flavor of the beer, bringing all of those flavors together into one new and nearly singular package.

Adroit Theory Brewing CompanyBringing together so many tastes into a single, flavorful beer only seems to mirror the stage the brewery as a whole has finally reached in their measured and steady growth.  On January 1st, Adroit Theory Brewing Company was finally able and ready to post a photo of their Virginia ABC License on their Facebook page.  Since then, final touches on a tasting room have been made, the “Black Heart Society”, a membership type program through which fans can order the Adroit Theory’s beer has been introduced, and most importantly, a Grand Opening has been planned for this coming Saturday (Feb 1st).  The brewery’s evolution in the craft beer world is about to finally take one big step forward.  For me, for now, I finished the last sip of my Bourbon Barrel Tenebris and wished it wasn’t my last bottle.  For those who have heard of such beers but haven’t gotten a taste yet, a simple message was released on the Facebook page just a couple days ago:  “This Saturday, the wait is over”.  I would bet the the staff at the brewery can’t wait as well.

Quick Note:  While the brewery’s Black Heart Society is now available, the brewery can only ship beer to Virginia residents currently.  Details can be found on the brewery’s shopping page here.  Check out the brewery’s website here and their Facebook page here.


~ by thebeerroad on January 29, 2014.

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