Saturday afternoon, the only thing that made the Braves heart-rending loss tolerable was darn good company (hey there, cousin Chip) and a truly excellent beverage: Victory Brewing Company’s Moonglow Weizenbock. It is without question one of the very best weizenbocks (a strong German style wheat beer—yeah, I had to look it up to be sure) I’ve ever tasted. Which is saying quite a lot, because honestly, I can’t think when I’ve ever had a bad one. Put simply, Moonglow belongs on the shelf close to my beloved Aventinus. It’s that good.
The color is on the darker side of amber, like caramelized honey, with a small, creamy head that settles to a small lacy rim that hugs the side of the glass. The scent is heady and wonderful: bready with subtle hints of apple, nutmeg, citrus, and clove.
As for the taste? Well, enough to say it lives up to the name. Victory Moonglow has the spice bread taste of any good wheat beer or ale, with the definite sweetness suggested by the nose, and a faintly bitter after taste—think dark malt rather than strong hops—that balances nicely. It’s wonderfully and surprisingly complex, but smooth and extraordinarily drinkable—which could be problematic given the higher than usual alcohol content.
This is a beer that will pair well with food—or make a meal on it’s own. Although it’s not nearly as heavy as you’d expect from a sweeter weizenbock. It’s perfect for a cool autumn evening or a long winter night by the fire.
Sunday’s much happier Braves game was accompanied by a lovely Scotch-style ale, Old Chubb. At first glance, it looks rather like the Moonglow—a dark amber brown with a thin, lacy head. It’s one of the better Scotch Ales I’ve tried, one that stands up proudly to Claymore Scotch Ale and brings back happy memories of McEwan’s Scotch Ale, a dear old friend that’s far too hard to find these days.
Like all Scotch Ales, Old Chubb has the distinctive caramelized malt flavor that’s light on hops and carbonation—giving it a sweetness that balances a full grainy flavor nicely without being syrupy or overly heavy. The nose is all about the malt, with just a hint of smoke. The taste is distinctively Scottish: peaty, smokey, and nutty with wonderful notes of fruit (fig, maybe?), brown sugar, and cocoa. The feel is thick and creamy, certainly, but silky and with a pleasantly dry after taste.
Drink this slowly. The flavor changes slightly as it warms, making the experience much more interesting as the glass empties. It’s an ale to be savored. Even served cool, it warms the belly nicely, making it another delightful choice as the nights grow longer and colder.
It turned out to be a pretty darn good way to celebrate the Braves’ return to the post season, too.
Update: for those who asked, I found the Moonglow at the Decatur Taco Mac, although I’m sure it can be found elsewhere. Living in Pubtopia, I don’t hit Taco Mac very often—although it ties with the good old Brew House as the best place in the neighborhood to watch a game. Still, the original Taco Mac pretty much introduced the Buffalo chicken wing and the magnificent beer list to Atlanta way back in the olden days. Maybe those finer aspects of modern civilization would have made it here without Taco Mac, but how can we know for sure? So Taco Mac will always have a special place in my heart. The Decatur location doesn’t have quite the divey charm of the original Virginia Highlands location, but it has parking and more TVs. So really, you win either way. But seriously, try the Victory Moonglow.