This past Saturday I traveled to Corvallis, OR, with The Daily Pull crew and Yetta Vorobik of The Hop & Vine. We hung out with Owner/Brewer Nick Arzner of Block 15 and picked up some bottles of their first ever bottling, Figgy Pudding.
Nick was an amazing host and we got to sample many great farmhouse and wild beers from their labyrinth cellar of barrels. That, however, is not the focus of this post. Upon returning, I assembled a crew of New Schoolers including "SNOB" Ritch Marvin, Amy Marvin, and our esteemed editor ElGordo for a review panel. None of us received free bottles of the beer, and no other reviewers besides me were present for the tour and barrel tasting at Block 15, so their reviews remain unbiased.
For a little bit more background on the Figgy Pudding, check out my feature on it and interview with Nick Arzner right here.
For those too lazy to read through reviews, Figgy Pudding is a brandy barrel-aged English strong ale made with figs, spices and molasses.
4 reviewers sat down to review this beer separately, each giving it an overall score of between 0 and 5 in .5 increments.
Review 1 by El Gordo
Pours a pretty amber color with orange highlights, without much of a head. Sweet aroma of pale malt, candi sugar, a whiff of molasses and brandy, and tons of sweet, ripe figs. Palate is sweet throughout - molasses sweetness and candied figs, with a hint of cinnamon. Body is rich and pretty creamy, with some very light carbonation to provide a little lift. Finish is sweet and warm from the considerable alcohol content. Very tasty and complex, although I'd like to see what a few months in the cellar could do for it.
Score: 4.5 of 5
Review 2 by Samurai Artist
Pours from the bottle with a slightly muddy reddish brown color and a small dissipating off white head. The aroma is strong and beautiful, with dark and juicy dry fruit like raisins and prunes, as well as some sweet alcohol notes shining through.
Malty and sweet on the tongue, but not heavy. The complex assortment of flavors takes some savoring to unwind. Brown sugar, nuts, charred oak and tobacco, and lots more dark fruits. Semi-dry finish keeps this beer from being cloying. Finish is clean with a chewy sweet middle.
Score: 4.0 out of 5
Review 3 by Amy Marvin
This beer has a dark amber to red color, with a nice amount of very fine carbonation. The aroma is of figs and dates. The flavor is sweet, but not too heavy. I tasted toffee and caramel first with a slight alcohol heat and light oak and vanilla flavors. This is a very complex beer and as it warms I perceive a hint of almond or marzipan. Delicious! I would be interested to see how this beer changes with a little more age. If you get a chance try this beer.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review 4 by "SNOB" Ritch
The beer pours a deep amber color with a beige, thin head. I get lots of toasted caramel and toffee notes and molasses in the nose with a hint of alcohol. The beer smells so good, like desert in a glass, I just want to take a bite of it! With the first sip, it doesn't dissappoint as I'm hit with big molasses flavor, followed by subtle fig and raisin flavors, and a pleasant, warming alcohol finish. This beer gets better as it warms up, as more complex dark fruit flavors shine through. This beer is as delicious as its name and the perfect companion to a cold winters night.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Figgy Pudding is currently available only at the brewery, but we hear some cases may be making it to Portland soon.